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Apartment Community to Expand in Taylor Mill, But Proposed UDF Site Still Stalled

At last week's meeting of the Taylor Mill City Commission, two possible zoning changes drew a crowd.

Several residents came to the meeting Wednesday night with questions about one of the proposals - to add more units to the Farm apartment community. Jim Cohen from CMC Properties, the same company that owns The Farm - which is located near the Shoppes at Taylor Mill, has purchased 6.8 acres adjacent to the Farm where they plan to locate three 24-unit buildings, a $7.5 million project which will target both baby boomers and millennials.  

The problem is that most of the area is zoned DTM-1 (downtown Taylor Mill) and Cohen asked the commission to change the zoning.

"This parcel of land shouldn't be zoned DTM-1," he stated. "It is the job of the commission to look at the facts and determine if the physical and economic changes that have occurred in the area warrant the change."

Cohen pointed out that the site was arbitrarily dumped into the DTM-1 zone because no one knew in what direction the new road or the feeder roads would go at the time. He said that the property does not fit into the zone for a few reasons: it has a 66 ft. grade change which makes it unusable for retail, and it can't be accessed through a main road, but it can be accessed through the Farm.

As far as the residents, they wanted to know if there would be enough parking, if there would be a retention basin, and if the entrance would be wide enough for emergency vehicles. Cohen and his engineer answered all the questions, and told the residents that they intended to be good neighbors. He said that no trees would be cut down that were not on the property, except for any Ash trees that were dead or dying, and there would be a 15 ft. empty space from the property line.

Another resident was worried that people would cut through their properties on their way down to the shops, and said there should be a fence with signage that says the property is private behind the sign. Commissioner Dan Murray agreed that there should be a fence, and the others agreed.

In the end, Attorney Frank Wichmann read an ordinance changing the zoning from DTM-1 and R-1C to R-2C. It was specified that the commission would be able to see a full development plan before the second reading which will need to be read before June 1.

The second zoning situation was an old one.

Phil Peace came to ask for help to solve problems on his property at Pride Parkway and Honey Court. He explained how he wants to put a United Dairy Farmers (UDF) with several gas pumps on a roughly triangular piece of land, but there are problems with a state right-of-way that prevent the use of the entire property. On another parcel of the land, where Peace wants to put medical office buildings, he says the setback criteria are problematic to where the buildings can be located. Peace has met with Commissioners as well as Planning and Zoning and wanted the city to pass a text amendment so he can make the property profitable.

Commissioners were not happy with the presentation of the plan, saying it had things in it that were not discussed, that it was not a full plan, and that there were a lot of unknowns.  

Peace was frustrated since he has been trying to get things done on the site for two years. In appeasement, Commissioner Dan Murray finally made a motion to read an ordinance similar to the one adopted for Jim Cohen and the Farm expansion. When the motion was not seconded the matter was dropped, and Peace stormed out. At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Ed Kuehne and Mayor Dan Bell both said they want to see Peace's project succeed but he has to find a way to do it in a manner that conforms to the city's guidelines.

in other business, the city voted to accept a three year contract with Von Lehman accounting, and City Administrator Jill Bailey explained that the price was good, only increasing $50 each year.

Robert Seitzinger, the city engineer, told the commission four bids were opened on April 7 for the road stabilization project on Rust Road where the road is slipping into the creek. The lowest of the bids was from Smith Construction for a total bid of $105,250.  The project was estimated at about $109,000 so the the total bid was under the estimated cost. The city has   received $89,900 in Emergency Road aid from the state to help cover the  cost.

Senators Chris McDaniel and Damon Thayer came to the meeting to update the commissioners on what passed and what didn't pass in Frankfort this legislative session.

Three proclamations were read. The first recognized May as Building Safety month, the second recognized May 15 through 21 as National Public Works week, and the third recognized May 15 as National Peace Officer's Memorial Day.  A resolution was passed honoring memorial Day and military service men and women. Another resolution passed which allows traffic signals  at Parkway and Honey Drive.

Joe Rieskamp, a firefighter/paramedic who has been at Taylor Mill since 2009, was officially given his helmet in retirement for 46 years in service to various cities.

"It was a good ride," Rieskamp said. "I enjoyed my time out there."

Three new firefighters were sworn in: Bryan Lynch, Matthew Hicks and Jay Feldkamp, who were given their new badges and welcomed to the city.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Top photo: Phil Peace (RCN)
Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Joe Rieskamp receives his helmet from Taylor Mill Fire Chief John Stager.