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Residential Development in Newport Gets OK to Proceed

NB Develop, LLC won approval from the City of Newport's planning and zoning commission to change its zoning from residential hillside to multifamily, allowing no more than ten units per acre.

The plan is for two new buildings housing five townhouses each on a parcel of land surrounded by Monmouth Street, John Street, and 13th and 14th streets.

Staff recommended approval of the development plan and the commission agreed, with conditions.

Among the conditions are that the developer conduct a geotechnical and engineering review, plan for the future alignment of a reopened 13th Street, place parking only on land owned by the developer, prepare for a change to John Street for two-way traffic, and to provide details on parking, lighting, and signage.

The city commission will also have to vote on vacating 13th and 14th streets in that area.

Construction can begin within nine months of approval, Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims explained.

The plan also includes the construction of a retaining wall roughly 15 to 30-feet in height.

Sims explained that while 13th Street would be open to Monmouth Street, she would propose to the city commission to close 12th Street, which prompted a question about possible congestion on the busy north-south Monmouth corridor.

Sims said that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is reviewing that access point. "They feel it might be improved if we reopen 13th and abandon 12th just because of the distance from the underpass," she said.

Architects Emily Lubbers and Randy Merrill of McGill Smith Pushon Architects in Cincinnati explained that they had had meetings with residents of Newport's Clifton neighborhood to work out differences and to address concerns.

Some residents joined the virtual meeting and thanked them and the developer for their engagement.

Vitor Bueno of DB Develop said that he expects each unit to list at $500,000, though that could fluctuate based on the costs incurred during the development. "We have to do an analysis on the retaining wall," he said. "That's not an easy site."

But, he said that the prices are similar to what is being listed at the nearby Skypoint condo project.

"We believe with the view and the amenities we are trying to provide there, I think the half-million dollar price is achievable but it all depends on the cost of the infrastructure," Bueno said. "We know that site has some challenges."

Bueno said that he would plan to do at least one building by itself before moving on to the second. 

"We will try to take as low a risk as we can," he said.

The commission approved the necessary requests.

"It is a great plan. You guys put a lot of thought into it," commission member Bill Kreutzjans said. 

"It's good to see there was a lot of good collaboration between the developer and the residents in this plan," board member Ron Rawe said.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Images via the architects

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