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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Legal hurdle cleared for Beverly Hills Supper Club Development

A mediation in a courtroom hallway today may have cleared a pathway for the development of the former Beverly Hills Supper Club site to move forward. 

In a joint statement issued by Ashley Builders Group and attorneys representing the "Beverly Hills Respect the Dead" group, the parties said they reached a "global resolution to the benefit of everyone involved."

It goes on to detail what was worked out:

- Ashley will perform an additional survey to confirm the location of the former Cabaret Room and will include a deed restriction to restrict construction on the Cabaret Room site. 

- Beverly Hills Respect the Dead, represented by attorneys Todd McMurtry and Steven J. Megerle, will have the opportunity to raise funds and construct a memorial fountain at the Cabaret Room site and will be allowed access to this memorial in the future.

- The final agreement must be approved by of Southgate City Council and the Campbell County Planning and Zoning commission. We anticipate receiving this final approval in the coming weeks. 

The statement concludes: "Ashley looks forward to moving forward with this project and working with the community as it constructs a public memorial that will honor those who lost their lives that night."

In October, a judge temporarily stopped construction on part of the mixed-use development, now called Memorial Point, by placing an injunction on the part of the development in question. 

The proposed development

In August, the city accepted a recommendation by the Campbell County Planning and Zoning Commission to approve a zone change for the $65 million development, known as the Memorial Point Project. The project involves about 78 acres, which includes the site of the former Beverly Hills Supper Club where a 1977 fire took the lives of 165 people. 

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The project includes an assisted living center, a high-end luxury apartment community and a mix of single-family homes and smaller cottages. Also included are plans for two memorials to the fire victims — a permanent public memorial built at the base of the property near the intersection of Cannon Ridge and US 27, and a park on the actual site of the former club at the top of the hill. 

The memorial at the top of the hill would be in a private park belonging to the project homeowners association. Some of the victims and their families and supporters objected to this part of the project in particular stating that they should not have to secure permission to visit the site where their loved ones perished. 

Two different views of agreements on the project

Ashley Builders Group has maintained that they have been in contact with and working closely with members of the community who were fire victims to come to agreement with this most controversial portion of the project. Since its initial proposal, they agreed to construct a fountain near where it is believed the Cabaret Room of the supper club stood, and provide access to the site on the anniversary of the fire. Still, the park would remain under the homeowners’ association control, and visitors would need to secure permission to visit at other times. 

Beverly Hills Supper Club, Respect the Dead, LLC, filed the suit against the Campbell County and Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission, the city of Southgate and Ashley Commercial Group to appeal the conditional use permit and the decision by the planning commission to grant a change in zoning for the property that would allow the project to move forward.

The group was asking that the site of the fire be left undeveloped as it is considered a burial ground. Victims brought up this concern at a public hearing on the matter in August. The developer agreed to stop construction should any remains be found. Kentucky law protects burial grounds, but the definition is broad. 

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