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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Around the County: Alexandria Planning and Zoning Rejects Request, Begins Work on Comprehensive Plan Update

Public hearing in Alexandria. FTM file. 

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

A recent request for a zoning change in Alexandria was rejected but highlighted the interest and need for the city’s Comprehensive Plan Update.

About two hundred area residents attended a public hearing scheduled before the Alexandria Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on July 16 to express concern about a request to change a single family residential zone to a multifamily residential zone.

The first courthouse and jail in Campbell County is located in Alexandria. (photo: Creative Commons via Wikimedia)
Wallick-Hendy Development Company, LLC, requested the zone change for 8822 Constable Drive to to build a senior living housing project at the site with 50 units, half one-bedroom and half two-bedroom apartments. The developer needed approval of the request to apply for a housing tax credit from the state of Kentucky that would help offset construction costs.

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Alexis Dunfee, vice president of development for Wallick-Hendy, said if the developer was awarded the state tax credits, they would sell these to investors to raise funds for construction. She noted that with the credits, the state requires the units be made available only to those who made less than 60 percent of the median area income. At present, 2019 rents would be kept to the $750-to-$950 per month range.

An attorney for the owners of the property, the Schneider family, noted that this sale would be the last of the property that originally made up the family’s farm in the area. He said the owners agreed the proposal would be a good transitional use of the property.

Considering how the development would fit in with city plans

Residents questioned if the development would be in keeping with the city’s comprehensive plan for the area. Many expressed concern over traffic and noise. Jeff Schumacher, an attorney representing 142 homeowners from Constable, Southwood, Stonegate and surrounding areas, brought up concerns about missing information in the developer’s request for the change. He noted that the site plan provided was that of another project in Elsmere and not the site under consideration.

He also noted that the development would not be in keeping with the low-density, single-family environment of the area.

The developer countered that the missing information had been provided separately from the request document. Much of the site details would be worked out at a later date.

After the public hearing closed, Planning and Zoning board members questioned the height of the proposed building (three stories) and suggested the developer return with plans for one or two stories. They also requested moving the proposed building closer to US 27 and to use that as the main access, leaving Constable as a secondary entrance.

City Attorney Mike Duncan advised the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider the city’s comprehensive plan when making their decision to vote on a zoning map amendment. He noted that the future land use plan includes some area within the proposed site that would be for multifamily.

Member Sonny Marcus motioned that the decision be tabled until all material could be presented and considered. The motion was seconded by member Steve Shinkle and passed unanimously (5 to 0) with the chair abstaining.

Focusing on Alexandria's Comprehensive Plan Update

The developer did not return to the Planning and Zoning meeting on August 6. A review of the comprehensive plan update was the main topic of discussion at that meeting.

The commission began review of the plan in June and planned to continue carefully examining all language at subsequent meetings. Chair Dave Hart asked commission board members to look at the vision statement presented in the plan to determine if it needed an update.

Most discussion focused on the part of the vision statement that reads "Alexandria is a city committed to preserving its historical past without losing sight of where the city should and will be headed in the future..." Some questioned how the past is being protected and what the intention was behind the statement.

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It was noted that the Old Town section of the city contains historical buildings but no buildings have official historical registration, including the old courthouse built in 1840 and located at 8352 E Main Street. The building was the original Campbell County courthouse and jail.

Mayor Andy Schabell addressed the commission to discuss the idea of a Comprehensive Plan Working Group designed to assist Planning and Zoning in the task. He said his purpose was to assess if Planning and Zoning would like the help. He proposed that the working group include a member of council, members of the commission, members from the Parks and Recreation committee, someone from the state highway department, area business owners and others.

"The working group would be to add to the conversation so you [Planning and Zoning members] are not up here all by yourselves trying to figure this out," Schabell said.

He noted the size and time involved in the task would require support and input. The committee members agreed.

Gathering public input

The mayor and commissioners also discussed the need for public input on the plan. A survey questionnaire would be developed and shared both by hand delivery and possibly through the city’s website. Members said they would want to hand deliver the survey to as many businesses, churches, civic groups, the fire and police departments and other community groups as possible.

Hart charged commission board members with developing the questionnaire to have it ready for discussion at the next meeting.

A PDF of the Alexandria Kentucky Comprehensive Plan is available or link from the city website on homepage "Comprehensive Plan"

The next meeting of the Planning and Zoning Committee is Tuesday, August 20, at 7 p.m.

Alexandria Planning and Zoning Commission board members are Dave Hart, chair; Sonny Markus, vice-chair; Nick Reitman, secretary; Randy Nehus, treasurer; Ron Johnson; Steven Shinkle and Thomas Wheeler.

1 comment:

  1. The request wasn't "rejected". The commission wanted more time to review the statements and documents and the developer pulled out because of time constraints with the state application.