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Monday, September 3, 2018

Developer Withdraws Request for Zone Map Change

Resident Mary Healy addresses crowd concerned about zoning at the July council meeting. (FTM file)

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

Local developer and business owner Robert Heil has sent a letter to city officials withdrawing his request for a zone map change and development plan for select parcels of land he owns near the south end of Fort Thomas.

He also has withdrawn his support for a text amendment that would add self-storage facilities and a definition of such businesses to a list of permitted uses in general commercial zones throughout the city.

The text amendment, while affecting all areas designated general commercial, was seen as a first step to clear the way for a zone map change for two of Heil’s properties, 1420 and 1424 Alexandria Pike, to prepare them for development as a self-storage facility.

In his letter, Heil wrote that new collaborations between Fort Thomas and neighboring cities has opened up opportunities for development in the area, and his company wants to reconsider all options in light of these changes.

"In consideration of the visioning process coming to a close and as a new collaboration between our neighboring cities is emerging, (that could result in a unified vision for the entire US 27 corridor from Southgate to Highland Heights), my partners and I are revisiting potential development opportunities on the parcels we own on Alexandria Pike," he explained.

He acknowledged concerns voiced by neighbors also impacted his decision. "The discussions that were spawned as a result of the text amendment and the proposed development plan have brought to the surface many issues and challenges surrounding the southernmost part of our city and as such, I believe will serve our community well as a springboard for productive conversations in the future."

The text amendment has been a source of controversy for several months. Neighbors organized petitions and attended council meetings to voice their concern about the amendment and about the process of zone change requests, especially issues of notice and city communications.

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The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public meeting in June and recommended the text change to city council.
City council, in turn, is prepared to have a second reading and vote on the amendment at its September 4 meeting.

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