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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Next Step for Development at Beverly Hills Fire Site Moves to Southgate City Council

With a zone change and conditional use approved, plans for a mixed-use residential development and memorial on the site of the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire moves forward.

by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

In a unanimous decision last night, the Campbell County Planning and Zoning Commission approved a zone change and conditional use permit for a proposed $65 million mixed-use residential development and memorial that will be built on the property where the Beverly Hills Supper Club once stood. The property has significant meaning in the community as the site of a 1977 fire that claimed 165 lives.

Emotions ran high at the meeting with about a dozen people attending wearing shirts that read "Respect the dead." While some opposed any development on the site claiming it was "poppycock", most were in favor of development but concerned about the location of the memorial and access to the original site of the club building.

1017 S. Fort Thomas Ave. 

The developer, Edgewood-based Ashley Builders Group, proposed a memorial for fire victims at the foot of the hill near the edge of the property. The builders said they plan to make the permanent memorial accessible to all. The builder also said they would not build on the actual footprint of the Beverly Hills Supper Club building leaving that portion at the top of the hill to be turned into a private park.

The sticking point was the “private” condition of the park. Some present opposed the idea of having to seek permission from property owners to visit the park. The park would be owned and operated by the development’s homeowners’ association (HOA).

What is proposed on the site

The request granted at the Planning and Zoning meeting was to change the zoning at the site, now designated Professional Office, to a combination of residential R3 and Residential R1E zone (clustered development) with a General Commercial zone along US 27 for the memorial site.

Highlights of the development include:

  • A three-story, 79-unit assisted living center near the Interstate 471 and US 27 end of the property that will offer range of assistance including memory care
  • A high-end luxury apartment community consisting of three-story buildings of four- and six-apartments with one- and two bedroom units, a clubhouse and pool
  • A mix of 89 single-family homes including houses and between 20 and 30 smaller cottages

Also in the agreement between the developer and the city is the construction of a front access road, a permanent, publicly dedicated right of way road extending from the development site connecting to US 27. It was also agreed that Blossom Lane will not be used by construction traffic of any sort unless the developer has received written approval from the city and the county.

For the public Beverly Hills Fire Memorial itself, the city and developer agreed to work together in conjunction with other community members to collaborate in the design of the memorial.

The memorial plan calls for four memorial monuments consisting of the following:
  1. the names of the victims who died in the fire, and a short story of the fire;
  2. pictures of maps of the Beverly Hills site, including a map of placement of all rooms at the time of the fire;
  3. a list of known federal and state fire and safety regulations implemented as a result of the fire; and
  4. a list of all responding fire and police units, as well as an acknowledgment to the City of Fort Thomas for allowing use of the Armory as a temporary morgue for identification of those persons who died in the fire.

Upon completion of the memorial, the city of Southgate will assume ownership and maintain it as a public park.

What comes next

Campbell County planning commissioners granted the zone change and a conditional use permit, which allows the developer to move forward with plans. The plans for the site will be presented at the next meeting of the Southgate City Council scheduled for Wednesday, August 5, at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 301 W. Walnut Street in Southgate.

RELATED: Southgate Approves Initial Development Agreement for Project at Beverly Hills Site

We also share with you this poignant story, written by a late member of the Fort Thomas Matters team, Jennifer Summer, originally published on November 20, 2019, that explores why the site has such deep meaning for many in our area: Student Beverly Hills Supper Club documentarians capture life-changing experience

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