Florence Approves New Hotel, Rescinds Massage Parlor's Business License
Editor's note: This story recaps three Florence city council meetings that took place in March.
The Florence city council approved plans for a new hotel and rescinded the business license of a massage parlor under federal indictment.
Council approved a change in the concept development plan for a new Hilton Garden Inn slated for 4990 Houston Road between Meijer and Best Buy.
The hotel will have 123 rooms.
Council included two conditions: the brick and stone on the outside of the building should be more earthy in tone rather than black and white, and the rooftop mechanical screening should hide all the mechanical units.
In other actions, city council revoked the occupational license of Havana Massage at 7736 U.S. 42. The business, owned by Yaju Sun, faces three federal indictments and was raided by the FBI recently. The license was revoked for failing to meet requirements that businesses refrain from illegal activity.
Council also moved forward on an agreement regarding short-term rentals, like those offered online by Airbnb.
Such rentals are currently illegal in Florence but some are still operating.
The city's business and community development director, Joshua Hunt, offered the county's short-term rental ordinance with some modifications that could work for the city.
Hunt's proposal includes a possible shortening of spacing between short-term rentals. Two council members, Julie Metzger-Aubuchon and Mel Carroll said that they would not support anything less than 1,000-ft. spacing.
Parking would also have to be in garages or in driveways, not on streets.
Those applying to operate short-term rentals in the city would have to pay $500 for the first time and $250 for each annual renewal, and receive a copy of the city's rental agreement.
Mayor Diane Whalen addressed the current global pandemic and urged residents to get information from reliable government sources. She said that the city's website has information about those outlets. Whalen said that the police and fire departments are at full staff and ready to respond to emergencies. She cautioned against panic and fear and told everyone , "We will all get through this together."
City council also congratulated Boone County High School cheerleaders who won the national Small Varsity Division I championship at the Universal Cheerleaders Association National High School Cheerleading Championship.
The varsity team joined 949 other teams, 20,000 athletes and 3,100 coaches, and on February 9 the cheerleaders won their second consecutive national title.
The team members are Madi Monroe, Aaliyah Petrey, Mallory Schuster, Kendall Harlow, Ashtyn Fangman, Lanie Fangman, Ciarra McCarty, Christine Roberts, and Payeton Wright. Coaches are Michele Schuster, and Emily Hauser.
The Junior Varsity Cheerleaders competed in their division, placing third in the nation.
The junior varsity team members are Vanessa Staten, Malia Haggard, Kalie Corns, Macie Brown, Payton Ally, Mackenzie Wolfe, Claire Kohlman, Hannah Evans, Tiffany Hoskins, Olivia Moreno, Riley Johnson, Lacey Finn, Emma Watkins, Kennedy Stamper, Tiffany Stewert, Kamryn Richardson, Mariah Placke, Cassidy Oliver, Holly Fisher, Chyna Greene, Brynna Smith, Caitlynn Vaske, Audrey Gish, Mackenzie Martin, Paige Colemire, and Mia Minniti. Coachers are Michele Schuster and Kim Grimes.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor