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Subdivision Zoning Change Shot Down in Edgewood

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Erlanger approved its share of the zone change, but that has not happened. Erlanger is currently not moving on the recommendation from the planning commission as the developer has decided to pause the process based on the City of Edgewood's decision. RCN regrets the error.

The plan to construct more than eighty new home lots as part of a large development that spans two local cities was met with resistance in Edgewood last week.

After hearing public backlash similar to what was heard at a virtual Kenton County Planning Commission meeting in May, Edgewood city council denied a proposed zoning change on its side of the development.

Erlanger has not taken action yet and has no immediate plan to as the developer has paused the process based on Edgewood's decision.

At issue is the expansion of a subdivision that already exists in both cities, Grand Garden Estates, developed by Schreiber Custom Homes not far from Doe Run Lake. The extension would move housing closer to that recreation area, but Tom Schreiber was seeking a zoning change from both cities. 

The Kenton County Planning Commission, in close votes, recommended in favor of both changes in both cities, but as a governing body that only makes recommendations, it takes approval from city council to become policy.  The planning commission's vote came with the conditions of a tree preservation plan, that trails be constructed with firm material, and that trail connections be made to each cul-de-sac. The developer also plans to install a nature trail to Doe Run Lake and a pocket park near some of the new homes.

There are twenty-nine acres in the newer section, nearly thirteen of which are on the Edgewood side. In Edgewood, the acreage is zoned as residential-one B, which allows for single-family residences with a minimum lot size of 100-feet in width, and two dwellings per acre. The proposed change to R-1-C would reduce the minimum width to 80-feet and 3.48 dwellings per acre.

The request in Erlanger was similar with allowances for more flexibility in lot sizes and layouts, though that city requires a stage one and stage two development plan from the developer.

While the developer proposes 85 new lots, Planning & Development Services of Kenton County staff suggested that with the changes, up to 202 lots could be developed on the site.

Last Monday night's public meeting was held at the Edgewood Senior Center and the proposed zoning change was voted down 5-2.

Council members Jeff Schreiver, Rob Thelen, Dale Hensen, Joe Messmer, and Tony Ward voting against the change, and members Kim Wolking and Ben Barlage in favor.

Schreiver argued that the city's comprehensive plan and the county zoning regulations designated that area to be R-1B forty years ago to have lower density.

Edgewood resident Nick Lowry said that his neighbors want a land preservation study completed and also have concerns about traffic issues in the area. A traffic study, he said, should be postponed until the pandemic is gone so that commuter volume returns to normal.

"One of my favorite quotes that I use everyday is plans are nothing, planning is everything," Lowry said.

He said to council that putting more traffic in the area would jeopardize the safety of the residents not only while driving but also while walking, and he warned of creating a human version of the Frogger game.

Resident Diane Sticklen-Jordan also spoke about traffic, arguing that local roads were not made for the possible traffic volume that would follow.

Emi Randall, of PDS, explained in an answer to a question from council that even with voting against the zone change, the subdivision could proceed, as long as it abides by the current zoning regulations.

Councilman Schreiver also argued against the proposed change because of traffic, suggesting that the nearby roads are already crowded. 

"I don't see how anybody can vote for this without a traffic study," Schreiver said, adding that he believed the character of that part of town would be negatively altered. "I think we should leave it alone."

Councilman Henson said that because the planning commission was so divided in its vote, that he believed the zoning should stay as is.

Wolking and Barlage explained their votes in favor of the change by arguing that the Erlanger piece would moving forward and that the planning commission did its job in May. Both said that they understand the traffic concerns, particularly on Charter Oak, but also that a new development in the area would be positive.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer and Michael Monks

Photos by Patricia A. Scheyer

Development and zoning images via PDS and TBNK

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
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