Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Buttermilk development near approval

By Travis Gettys
Enquirer contributor

CRESCENT SPRINGS - City Council could conclude two separate efforts to approve the $56 million Buttermilk Towne Center commercial development at a special meeting Wednesday.

If council approves the stage II development plan, Bear Creek Capital could begin applying for construction permits this week, said Greg Scheper, director of acquisitions and governmental affairs for the Montgomery-based developer.

The project won approval earlier this year, but a judge ruled in August that City Council had not followed procedures laid out in its own zoning regulations, so the process was restarted last month.

The Kenton County Area Planning Commission on Sept. 2 rejected the proposal to build the 46-acre development, but City Council approved the stage I development plan Sept. 17 and held a first reading of the stage II ordinance Monday.

Construction crews have begun clearing the site, which faces Interstate 75; and Scheper said the project is on schedule to open in July.

Several tenants have already signed on, including Remke's Market, Rhodes Furniture and Mimi's Cafe; and Scheper said negotiations are under way with several others.

Also included is a Home Depot store that would be the size of most Home Depot locations, at 103,000 square feet

Mayor Claire Moriconi declined to comment on a lawsuit filed Sept. 15 by attorneys for the city of Fort Mitchell and several nearby property owners, who asked a judge to halt the project because City Council approved the project after it had issued industrial revenue bonds to pay for it.

The developer has said the lawsuit would not delay construction, and work crews this week have been burning trees and brush cleared from the site.

Bear Creek Capital will distribute coupons for free car washes for residents whose vehicles have been covered with ash from the fires, which have been monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency, Scheper said.

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