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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Fort Thomas Planning Will Discuss Update of City Zoning Ordinance

Proposed changes and updates to the Fort Thomas Zoning Ordinance center around residential uses within the Central Business District.

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by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

If you are interested in what happens in the city's Central Business District, mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 20. It is the date for the Fort Thomas Planning and Zoning Commission's next regular meeting where it will discuss proposed changes and updates to the city zoning ordinance.

18 N. Fort Thomas Ave. 

The meeting is open to the public, as are all Planning and Zoning regular meetings, and will feature a preliminary discussion about some proposed zoning text changes. At the last city council meeting, City Administrator Ron Dill explained an update of zoning ordinance is a part of the process that comes with developing and implementing a new Comprehensive Community Plan.

The changes focus on the Central Business District (CBD) zone specifically. The goal of the updates is to bring additional density to the CBD to support business in the district as outlined in the plan.

Details of the full Fort Thomas Zoning Ordinance proposal, provided by CT Consultants, the engineering firm assisting with the city’s plans, is available on the city’s website. (There is a link within the calendar item for the Planning meeting.)

Highlights of the proposal

After providing definitions for physical characteristics of buildings such as facades and lights, as well as definitions for various uses of spaces and rooms within buildings, the proposal outlines an update of regulations regarding residential uses for buildings in the zone.

One of the biggest changes is allowing for residential uses on the ground floor. These include allowing uses at the ground floor level that include row houses and multifamily dwellings with flex space intended as a live/work unit.

A few of the regulations for the live/work units include:

  • The workspace shall occupy less than fifty percent (50 percent) of the dwelling unit’s gross floor area.
  • The occupant of the dwelling unit shall be the owner and primary person involved in the business or activity.
  • Not more than one (1) full-time, non-resident employee may be employed in the live/work unit.
  • Live/Work Units shall only be permitted in principal buildings constructed after January 1, 2022.
  • There shall be no outdoor storage of equipment or materials used for the live-work activity.
  • No retail business shall be permitted unless it is conducted entirely by mail, telephone, or computer and does not involve the receipt or sale of merchandise from the premises.
  • No direct sales to patrons or merchandise pick up shall be permitted on the site.

These are only a few of the regulations outlined in the proposal. Anyone interested in the proposal should attend the Planning Commission’s meeting on October 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fort Thomas Community Center 801 Cochran Avenue.  

For a look at the complete plan and zoning ordinance, see the Fort Thomas Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan page on the city's website.

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