Council votes in favor of turning Villa Hills church land into homes, retail

Council votes in favor of turning Villa Hills church land into homes, retail (WKRC)

VILLA HILLS, Ky. (WKRC) - Local 12's Paula Toti attended a heated debate in Villa Hills Tuesday night.

A new development in Villa Hills is moving forward. City council gave the go-ahead to an 85-acre development that will include a four-story apartment building. This benefits the Benedictine Sisters who are selling their land to a developer to fund their retirement.

The Kenton County planning commission had already voted to recommend the project. Hundreds packed the council meeting hoping city council members would see things differently.

Some, in fact, did, but the majority on a three to two vote green-lighted a project that will be unlike any others nearby.

The tense words back and forth started right away at the meeting, as council members gave their reasons, before their votes

Many of these families have been to two meetings in three weeks, and many represent the two thousand petition signatures against plans to build 190 homes, 35 townhomes, some retail and a 187 unit apartment building. That building with its four stories would be larger in scale than anything in Northern Kentucky according to councilman Scott Ringo.

He says the project is like dropping an airport size hanger in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

But the planning commission said the plans for the land being sold by the nuns does not violate the comprehensive plan for the neighborhood.

Resident Don Fox came to listen and was upset with the crowd. He said "I listened to some who voted in favor and some who voted against and they had good reasons. I was disappointed in citizens who shouted them down."

Some shouted and some cried.

Cathy Stover helped chair the petition drive that showed half of voters opposed, and thinks that should have carried more weight.

Steve Nurre lives about a block away. He says "I will see the lights from the parking lot. It's a shame council didn't override it because they are worried about legal ramifications".

Another point that really angered residents is that they were told if a challenge to the project gets to the circuit court.

Only comments made by residents at the planning commission meetings would be considered. So, for instance, the petition that was presented at a council meeting would not be part of the evidence against the construction.

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