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Question delays vote on zoning change

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By Molly Haines

The first reading on a potential zone change for the Ford property at 311 South Main Street was expected to be held Tuesday after the vote was postponed July 3 over concerns about a potential technical violation.
The Owenton City Council was expected to hold a first reading on ordinance 709, which would change the Ford property from R-1 (residential) to C-1 (commercial).
Instead, the council discussed whether the zone change could be legally done because the city’s “comprehensive plan” is 20 years out of date.
Owenton Mayor Doug West said the comprehensive plan is about 75 pages long and details the population of the city and commercial and residential properties.
“It’s a plan on what the council wants to see happen,” West said. “Their objectives and goals. It’s supposed to be updated every five years.”
The council also discussed whether members of the planning and zoning commission are required to receive four hours of training from the Northern Kentucky Area Development District before being able to approve the zone change.
During the July 3 meeting, West said the zone change could be overturned if approved because the commission had not received the training.
West received a second opinion on the comprehensive plan from a legal advisor with the Kentucky League of Cities and said if the planning and zoning commission reviews the comprehensive plan and recommends to the city council to leave it as is, the plan would not have to be updated before a planning and zoning change could be made.
West said according to the second opinion, the commission would not need the required training as long as it is scheduled for the future.
The planning and zoning commission approved the zone change during a June meeting, but the city council has the final say on the change.
If approved by the council, the change would allow a commercial business to be opened on the property.
The formal request for the change was made by the property’s owner Peggy Ford during an April 31 meeting of the planning and zoning commission.
Ford said in an earlier meeting that the property would likely take $500,000 to repair and an additional $10,000 to $15,000 a year for upkeep.