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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Campbell County Planning Commission Tied on Tech School Zoning Request


A close up of the property at AA Highway and Carthage Road shows an overlay of the parcel under consideration for a zone change from Agriculture 1 to Institutional.

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by Robin Gee
 

After five-and-a-half hours of discussion, the Campbell County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week ended in an unprecedented tie vote on a zoning change request. The request would allow for a proposed technical training school on unincorporated property near Carthage Road and AA Highway.

As required by law, the commissioners voted twice on the issue. Both times the results were the same, tying at four to four. Campbell County Zoning Director Cindy Minter noted it was the first time she'd seen a tie like this.

The issue to approve or deny the zoning change request will now move to the Fiscal Court for a final vote, with no recommendation from the commissioners.

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The initial plan for the project

David Martin, owner of Martin Solutions, LLC, made the application to change the zone from Agriculture 1 (A 1) to Institutional (INST) to clear the way for development of a private technical school to provide training on small scale construction and industrial equipment.

The unimproved land at that site is subdivided into 10-acre parcels. The school is proposed for land owned by Martin that includes a 10-acre parcel and adjacent rights-of-way, bringing it to about 18.5 acres. The school itself would occupy about three acres. The surrounding area includes both agricultural and residential zones.

Earlier this year, Martin had asked for a conditional use permit within the existing zone but withdrew his request. His initial conceptual site plan included a 40 by 80 foot school building with three classrooms, two offices, a reception area, lobby, restrooms and utility room. The plan was also to include a pole-barn building to house equipment for outdoor training and parking lot of about 30 spaces.

RELATED: Technical Training School Proposed for Area Along AA and Carthage Road

RELATED: Update: Request for Conditional Use Permit for Technical School Has Been Withdrawn

Right idea, wrong location?

At the beginning of the meeting, commissioners and the public were invited to see the equipment that students would learn to operate at the proposed training facility.

Neighbors had expressed concerns about noise and dust pollution, as well as traffic that would be caused by the school. About 40 people spoke at the Planning and Zoning meeting, with 12 people speaking for the move and 28 against. Facebook commentary was also allowed, and there comments were split about 50-50.

Martin and those who spoke in favor of the project cited the need for light industrial training in the area and its potential to bring students and attract jobs. Several who spoke in favor had been through similar training or had sought out that training and found it difficult to attain. They cited a wide variety of indoor and outdoor uses for light industry equipment in construction and manufacturing.

Many of those who spoke expressed respect and friendship for Martin, a local employer well-known in the community. They also agreed that a training school would be a good resource for Northern Kentucky. However, those opposed said they did not think the location would be safe location for traffic caused by a school. Others said there was concern about the scale of the project. The issue of sounds came up as well, with concern about back up alarms and other noise coming from the equipment. Some said they felt the facility would open the door to other development and disrupt the rural nature of the community.

One commissioner noted in the discussion that it appeared most of those present were in favor of a training facility, that it was a good idea, but half felt it was a bad location. Commissioners brought up concerns over sound and traffic, and were split on whether the project fit into the comprehensive plan for the area. 


The vote and next steps

Justin Verst made the motion to accept on behalf of the Campbell County Planning and Zoning Board and Michael Williams seconded the motion. Also in favor were Larry Barrow and CJ Peters. Casting no votes against the request were Dennis Bass, Sharon Haynes, Roger Mason and Mark Turner.

Minter explained the zoning change request would move on to the Fiscal Court without recommendation. Yet, even if the court approves the change, the developers would be required to present a more detailed Stage One plan addressing issues of sound, light pollution and many of the concerns expressed by the public. At that point, the planning commission would have the opportunity to review and approve or reject the Stage One plan.

The next step for the zoning amendment request will be a decision from the Fiscal Court. For agendas, minutes and meetings see the Campbell County Meeting Center web page.

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