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Villa Hills encourages new development through small area study

Posted on June 07, 2016

Adoption of Direction 2030, the county’s award-winning comprehensive plan, didn’t end PDS’ efforts to plan for the county’s future; it focused it on new goals and objectives. The current Villa Hills study is an in-depth analysis of the St. Walburg Monastery property in Villa Hills and a case in point. When complete, the small area plan will provide detailed recommendations for this undeveloped portion of the city and amend the comprehensive plan’s recommended land use map.

PDS staff began the planning effort earlier this year on behalf of the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, Inc. and the City of Villa Hills. The sisters, who have been a presence on the same site in Villa Hills for over 110 years, have recently been contemplating their retirement funding.

While they intend to stay on a large part of their property, they are preparing to sell approximately 80 mostly-vacant acres. They decided early in their deliberations to plan for the future rather than just putting a “for sale” sign out on the street; they want to provide a long-lasting contribution to the community.

“We have a great opportunity right now to do something special for the city and its residents,” explained Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup, Prioress of St. Walburg Monastery. “While selling a portion of our property is going to fund our retirement, we want to do so in a way that is beneficial to the city and our neighbors. After all, we’re staying here so whatever happens to the west of us impacts our lives as well.”

PDS staff began in January to research existing conditions on the site and manage the overall study. At the same time, efforts began with two additional studies to research specific aspects of the site. A market consultant was selected to look at the site’s potential for various types of land uses and determine which had the most potential for success in the community.

Likewise, a transportation study was initiated to examine existing conditions of the community’s roadways and plan for potential upgrades that might be needed.

A public meeting was held recently to inform the public of the research conducted to date and converse with attendees regarding their concerns and ideas for the future of the site. The meeting, held on May 9th at River Ridge Elementary School, was attended by approximately 250 people that wanted to learn more about the study.

“We had a great turnout for the meeting,” commented James Fausz, AICP, a PDS senior planner and project manager for the study. “In all my years with PDS we’ve never had the kind of attendance we received for this meeting. We’re very fortunate that so many people care about what’s going on in their community and came out to learn and provide input.”

Currently, staff is working to sort through hundreds of responses provided during the meeting. Those will then be taken to the task force overseeing the project for its consideration as the study moves forward into the recommendations phase. A second public meeting is anticipated later this summer to provide details about the plan’s recommendations.

If you are interested in learning more about the project and getting updates about its progress, visit the project’s website or the city’s website.