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Zoning Adjustment Weighed in Erlanger as Montessori School Considers Move

Erlanger City Council listened to the first reading of a change to its zoning code that would allow private schools to operate on Hulbert Avenue.

The Kenton County Planning Commission and the board of adjustment already gave their blessing to the proposed change.

Northern Kentucky Montessori Academy is looking to relocate from its current location in Crescent Springs. Some residents oppose the school's plans over concerns about parking and other issues.

City attorney Jack Gatlin said that the legislation was not specific to NKY Montessori, but rather more broadly to private schools.

"The role of this body is to decide if it makes sense to add private schools to the conditional uses," he said. "It is not up to us to determine the specific schools to be located there."

Tim Theissen, an attorney at Strauss and Troy, represents the developer, KWI Properties. He said that the property was a larger acreage, and some of the land was sold to the Kenton County Public Library, and some to Silverlake. Theissen said members of the Long family still live on the site and will keep some of the property.  

The school would locate on roughly two acres, he said. Some access to other industrial operations on the property will come from Kenton Lands Road while the school would be accessed via Hulbert.

City administrator Matthew Kremer said that the Montessori school is not committed to the Erlanger site and is looking at other options.

Councilwoman Patty Suedkamp asked Gatlin if council would face any discrimination allegations if it voted not to add the private school to the conditional uses. He did not say no.

"Well, they really put us in a mess," said Suedkamp. "The people think we can fix this, but we are locked in."

The second reading and official vote are scheduled for the June council meeting.

The meeting also drew residents and officials from Crestview Hills.

A large warehouse is expected to be located on Kenton Lands Road. Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier and city councilman David Kramer asked Erlanger officials whether the developer could be persuaded to flip the warehouse's design so that the loading docks do not face the bedroom windows of the neighborhood behind the lot.

They also asked Erlanger officials to hold the company to its plans to create buffers between the warehouse and residences.

Meanwhile, there was also conversation about the installation of stop signs at the intersections of Locust, Clay, and Center streets at Hulbert Avenue.

There has been a three-way stop for some time, but a recent complaint inspired council to look again at making it a four-way stop.

Some residents argued that due to the steepness of the hill, that some cars would have a hard time climbing it, particular in bad or snowy weather, if another stop sign is placed there.

No member of council made a motion to accept the change, so it failed.

Additionally, a proposal to reduce the number of council members in the city from twelve to eight was tabled for further discussion.

Bids were announced for the parking lot improvement at the city building and the lot at Firehouse 3. The lowest bit was Rieglar Blacktop for a bid of $125,239, which is within the budget expectations.

The bid for the Turfway Road concrete street improvements was given to TNS Construction for a cost of $552,474.

The Police Department accepted the sole bid for vehicle equipment and installation from 911 Fleet and Fire Equipment Holdings, Inc, for a price of $70,974.30.

Council passed a resolution which will increase the city's participation in the School Resource program in the city of Edgewood from $13,000 to $15,000. This is because approximately 27 percent of the kids who go to school in Edgewood are Erlanger residents.

Samantha Osborne, a senior at Dixie Heights High School, won the annual scholarship that the city awards to one senior.  Caroline Gartner was the winner last year, and she wrote a letter that advised the new winner to "go in with an open mind, make smart choices, and listen to the advice of elders".  Mayor Jessica Fette reminisced about winning the scholarship when she was a senior.

Another proclamation honored the Future Problem Solving teams from St Henry Middle School and High School students.  The middle school won their district and regional competitions, and placed third in the state, and the high school team were state finalists.   

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor