A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington approves study for riverfront, former IRS site; passes hazmat resolution, honors Bowman

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

The first step is complete.

Calling it a “significant step forward” for the project and the city, the Mayor and Commissioners adopted an order Tuesday night to have the 31-acre area along the Central Riverfront, including the 23-acre former IRS site, studied to see if it could be approved for state increment finance, or TIF benefits.

This essentially allows the city to proceed with demolition, environmental and other site work, and then apply for reimbursement via the TIF.

“This is a significant economic initiative for our long-term future,” Mayor Joseph U. Meyer said. He and the commissioners again met virtually Tuesday night at their regularly scheduled legislative meeting, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

If approved, this means the site improvements for the 31-acre area (things like sidewalks and infrastructure) could be paid for with future state tax revenues. The Commission will next work with the state Economic Development Cabinet to study and predict how much revenue could be generated.

Two weeks ago, in a presentation to the Commissioners, Economic Development Director Tom West said the state revenue could reach $83.3 million over 20 years.

“This really strengthens our financial capacity to proceed with the IRS development,” Meyer said.

Hazmat resolution passes

Last week, Mayor Joseph U. Meyer proposed that a resolution should be written and presented to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, where the city would ask the cabinet to publicize, through signage, and enforce the ban on hazardous chemicals transported on I-75, north of I-275, to the Ohio state line.

Tuesday, that resolution was read and approved, and it said, in part, that “the Brent Spence is also vital to local employment and service delivery related to medical, educational, and basic human needs.”

“Each day that the ban on transporting hazardous materials north of the Interstate 275 interchange is not enforced creates a heightened risk to the citizens of Covington due to the typical interstate traffic being re-routed through Covington along state and local roads,” the resolution reads. “Similarly, each day the ban is not enforced creates a heightened threat to the movement of interstate commerce and traffic.”

Two weeks ago, Meyer noted that in 2013, the state banned hazardous materials on that stretch of I-75, including northbound on the Brent Spence Bridge. While the truck that was involved in the Nov. 11 crash on the bridge was not illegal — it wasn’t carrying enough hazardous materials to violate the law — there are still many trucks that do, and the law should be enforced.

Otherwise, something worse could happen.

“We have to look ahead and say, ‘What’s next?’” Meyer said.

Bowman honored

Another resolution honored Commissioner Denny Bowman, who will be retiring at the end of the year, “for his service to the city of Covington.”

Tuesday night was Bowman’s last meeting, but he was absent. Meyer said Bowman sent a note to the city manager that read how Bowman “expressed regret” that he would not be able to attend.

Still, the Commissioners honored him, noting that he first joined the Board in 1984, before becoming Mayor in 1988. He ended up serving the second-longest tenure of any Mayor in the city’s history.

The resolution said he was a “strong and relentless voice” for the city’s neighborhoods and residents.

Each Commissioner thanked Bowman, and Meyer explained how public service is difficult. But Bowman, the Mayor said, did his best to “help make Covington a better place.”

Short-term Rental Ordinance approved

The new Airbnb, or “short-term rental,” regulation was approved Tuesday night.
Last month, Commissioners heard a proposal for the new regulation, which will require owners to have a license and a proper zone for their property.

Basically, anyone operating an Airbnb would have to get a license because they don’t currently have any license at all, said Ken Smith, the city’s neighborhood services director. If residents believe someone is operating a short-term rental without a license, or is causing a nuisance, they would notify the city’s Code Enforcement.

Appeals would then be reviewed by a separate board with four-year appointments. To start the program, provisional licenses would be issued for three months until all the short-term rentals have been inspected by the city.

Façade incentives/rent subsidies

The Commission approved one new façade incentive and four new rent subsidies Tuesday night, including:

• A façade incentive for $6,000 for B Squared Partners, LLC, at 823 Scott St.
• A rent subsidy for $6,000 for The Annex by Greenline Salon at 130 W. Sixth St.
• A rent subsidy for $6,000 for Cloverleaf Me, Inc., at 434 Madison Ave.
• A rent subsidy for $4,500 for Modelfit at 331 W. Pike St.
• A rent subsidy for $6,000 for Aim Nutrition, LLC at 617 Main St.

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a caucus meeting held at 6 p.m., Jan. 5, 2021. The meeting can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website, the TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline, and the TBNK Roku channels.

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One Comment

  1. Mike Rabe says:

    Sorry to see Denny Bowman go. Denny lived and breathed Covington. Many younger citizens don’t realize that Denny would clean up city streets and sidewalks on his own. He would go out to city parks and do work on ballfields just to make them cleaner and safer. And I can’t imagine the amount of graffiti that Denny removed from buildings and underpasses throughout the city. He did all these things and many more to numerous to mention, on his own time. This doesn’t even count the endless hours he devoted to the Mayor’s job, and City Commission. He truly was one of kind, and the City is losing a good man.

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