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Smoothie King Plans in Ft. Wright to Return to County for Consideration

Plans for Smoothie King to open a location in Ft. Wright appear to be headed for a return to Planning & Development Services of Kenton County for a review.

Ft. Wright city council listened to proposed changes to the design of the store, which has been scrutinized over parking and its interior seating.

City Attorney Todd McMurtry explained last Wednesday that years ago when Walmart was being constructed nearby, a lawsuit resulted in an agreement among the parties (the business and the city) that new buildings constructed nearby would look similar.

McMurtry told council members that based on the possibility of further legal challenges, he could not advise council to accept proposed changes to Smoothie King's design.

Greg Dale, representing consulting group McBride, Dale and Clarion, said that he did not believe Smoothie King to be deviating from the design standards. He said there appeared to be flexibility, and that because the standards were fifteen years old, some appeared to be outdated. As an example, he offered the guidelines related to lighting, noting that most lighting is now LED, so the guidelines wouldn't apply.

Dale suggested that the city would be allowed to exercise its own discretion for building materials, too. He also pointed out that Walmart itself deviates from the standards with its large blue sign and lack of a green roof.

The Dairy Queen, he noted, was built without brick, and Texas Roadhouse uses wood, both in violation of the standards.

"There is a history of flexibility in applying the guidelines," Dale said. "It is not a matter of waiving the guidelines, it is more a matter of using flexibility."

McMurtry said the argument should be made at PDS.

Dale agreed to do that.

In other business, developer Tony Berling spoke about changes in the street plan for the condominium project known as the Grove, which will be located on Park Road near the Civic Club. Berling said the plans call for elimination of cul-de-sacs in favor of L-shaped turnarounds.

Council members asked about large trucks and fire engines and whether they would be able to turn around. Berling said they would.

A motion to support that change, along with extending the width of streets from 22-feet to 25-feet, was approved with only Councilwoman Margie Witt voting against it and Councilman Bernie Wessels abstaining.

Police Chief Marc Schworer introduced the two newest police officers to council. Officer Thomas Bradford and Officer Timothy Lukes will bring the police force up to full strength with 14 authorized positions.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor