Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Zoning change is next step for big Kenton development

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        One of the largest residential developments ever proposed in Kenton County could receive preliminary approval Thursday night.

        The 640-home Glenhurst Subdivision is proposed for an unincorporated 170-acre tract of rural land in southern Kenton County just west of Boone County.

        But developers may be in for a fight if people living near the land heed a plea to come to the meeting and oppose the development.

        A bright orange flier circulating in the area encourages residents to attend Thursday night's hearing of the Kenton County & Municipal Planning & Zoning Commission and oppose the project, which is off Mount Zion Road between Hogreffe and Maher roads.

        “Please attend the public hearing. We're fighting for all of us,” reads the flier listing the name of Frank Platek, a Hogreffe Road resident.

        Mr. Platek's phone number is listed on the flier but attempts to reach him Tuesday were unsuccessful. The flier lists several reasons why he believes the project should be opposed, including:

        • Increased traffic.

        • The loss of farmland.

        • Additional crowding in area schools.

        • Greater pressure on county services and existing infrastructure.

        The public hearing on the project is set for 6:15 at the planning and zoning office, 2332 Royal Drive in Fort Mitchell, which is just north of the Drawbridge Inn.

        The developer listed on the zoning documents, Ronald Mechlin of Taylor Mill, said Tuesday he did not want to comment until the hearing.

        Planners say Glenhurst may be the largest single residential development ever proposed in Kenton County.

        “It's certainly one of the largest we've ever seen,” said Planning Engineer Scott Hiles of the planning commission. “We might have a big crowd at Thursday's hearing. I know there is some opposition to the project.”

        A portion of the Glenhurst project, 150 homes, has already been approved. Thursday's hearing includes a proposed zone change for the remaining 460 homes, Mr. Hiles said.

        The land is now zoned for farming and houses. The requested zone change would allow for more density of homes on the property, from two homes an acre under existing zoning to up to four homes.

        The zoning commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on some facets of the project, including an amendment to the county's comprehensive plan, and will make a recommendation on the proposed zone change.

        But the zone change recommendation must be approved by the Kenton County Fiscal Court, which has the final say on the project, Mr. Hiles said.

        Mr. Hiles said the project will also include 50 acres of open space and parks, including playfields and a “passive recreation area” featuring a walking trail.

        The area proposed for the subdivision does have a rural flavor characterized by rolling hills, large bales of hay near some homes, barns and cows in fenced fields.

        But it's apparent that development is also pushing into this corner of Northern Kentucky.

        Two relatively new subdivisions — Falcon Ridge and Battleridge — are less than a mile from Hogreffe. A new connector road over Banklick Creek is being built just off Bristow Road, which is near Hogreffe. And the Mount Zion Road/Interstate 75 interchange, which has attracted development, is just a few miles to the west.

        U.S. Census figures show that during the 1990s, Kenton County's population grew by 6.6 percent, from 142,031 to 151,464 — mainly because of the growth in the southern end of the county, which includes unincorporated areas and the city of Independence.

        Independence, which is just just a few miles east of the Glenhurst site, grew by 43.5 percent to 14,982 residents in the 1990s.


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- Zoning change is next step for big Kenton development