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Residential Development with Brewery, Restaurants Planned for Independence

This story has been corrected to reflect that the city approved allowing the development to move forward to consideration at the Kenton County Planning Commission. The error was made in editing by Michael Monks, not in reporting by Patricia A. Scheyer.

Independence city council gave its blessing for a new development to move forward for consideration at the Kenton County Planning Commission.

The Downs of Nicholson is expected to include a micro-brewery and tap room, a drive-through restaurant, a sit-down restaurant, and 85 two- and three-bedroom patio homes with attached two-car garages. The residential community will boast amenities like a swimming pool and clubhouse.

The site will also feature a gas station with convenience store.

Gary Holland, of Taylor Mill-based One Holland, is the developer behind the project on a 29.41 acre tract of land at the intersection of Kentucky Routes 16 and 17 (Taylor Mill Road and Madison Pike).

One Holland developed the Trifecta Building in Taylor Mill which houses a LaRosa's pizzeria, a Skyline Chili, and a Graeter's ice cream shop, and will soon include a Dunkin'. The group also recently joined a partnership to operate Ft. Mitchell's Greyhound Tavern.

Like "Trifecta", the Downs is homage to Holland's love of Kentucky horses (a trifecta is picking the top-three finishing horses in a race while downs is a common word used in the name of racetracks).

Holland plans to have fencing around the new community similar to what is seen at Kentucky horse farms.

City council approved for movement to the planning commission for consideration, two changes to its zoning to support the development, allowing an increase in dwellings per acre on the site from two to ten, and to better define a special zoning designation to allow for the microbrewery.

"I am looking forward to watching this project unfold," said Mayor Christopher Reinersman. "It will be another choice for entertainment in Independence. I am very excited about it."

The development is scheduled to be considered by the planning commission on April 1.

In other business Monday night, the city expects to have $200,000 available this spring to support residents who have fallen behind on utility bills during the pandemic. The federal funds will help those who need to catch up on water, gas, and electric bills.

Mayor Reinersman also announced that the city has disbursed $135,000 in grants to businesses in the city who applied for help during the pandemic.

Council also awarded a contract to Riegler Blacktop in the amount of $554,000 to work on eleven streets in the Plantation Heights subdivision. City Administrator Chris Moriconi said that these streets were put on hold last year due to the NKY Water District wanting to change the water mains near there.

Moriconi said that because the city was able to bid the project early this year, the city received a better price. The city engineer had estimated a cost of $715,000.

Police Chief Tony Lucas said that he is seeking to add a K9 officer to the department, though he will be looking for fundraising assistance from the community to pay for the dog and the cruiser necessary to transport it. There are five officers who could be the handler for the dog.

Reinersman talked about the annual Independence Day celebration, and said that he expects to be able to host a parade and fireworks celebration, though amusement rides are still not allowed yet due to the pandemic.

An Easter trail at Summitview School will open on March 27, and will allow for 1,000 people to go through it each hour. Details to sign up are at the city's website. The list will be alphabetical by last name, and everyone will be assigned an hour, so that the line of cars will not be too long. Children will receive a bag of candy and will be eligible for prizes.  

The Cincinnati Circus will perform for the participants.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor