Thursday, April 27, 2000

Union city plan said workable




By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION — Land owners, developers and city officials seem to have come to a consensus on a development plan for Union.

        About 50 people attended a public hearing Wednesday night at Ryle High School concerning the 2000 Union Town Plan.

        The majority — including residents, members of the Union City Commission and Northern Kentucky developers — praised the plan as a good compromise.

        City officials want a development plan in place before the state starts construction of a three-mile, five-lane U.S. 42 bypass in spring 2002.

        “Overall it is the best we've been able to come up with,” said Union Mayor Warren Moore. “At this point in time the city fully supports the plan as it was presented tonight.

        “The city is ready to move forward with this.”

        Planning staff members have been working for two years to create a document. Many community members did not like a plan developed by a consultant in September 1998, and some questioned

        until this year whether the city should fight the U.S. 42 bypass altogether.

        The plan revolves around a formal town center, which would centralize commercial development so strip malls don't spread across the city. Planners say it would be compact and offer a mixture of land uses, so it would be possible to live and work in the same community.

        “This area is going to have a different character than anywhere else in Boone County,” said Dave Geohegan, director of planning services for the Boone County Planning Commission.

        Both land owners and developers had been concerned with too much regulation and not enough incentives in the previous plan. Others were concerned about green space and setbacks.

        The new plan offers developers incentives and choices.

        “It's not a heavy-handed plan,” Mr. Geohegan said.

        This plan would also allow more pedestrian traffic. It could include a large pedestrian trail that leads into the town center. Buildings would be closer to the street and homes would be set back from the road.

        The plan also would have sign requirements. For example, signs for subdivisions would have to be monument-style, made of brick or stone. In the town center, though, easel-like sidewalk signs would be permitted.

        This is all designed to give Union a distinct character.

        Gary Meisner of the consulting firm that created the first plan did offer some suggestions on how to make the new plan better from an economic perspective. For example, to create the town center in one phase instead of two.

        A committee will look at the plan May 10 and the full commission could vote on it as early as May 17. It will then go to the Union City Commission and the Boone County Fiscal Court for final approval.

       



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