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Posted: February 18, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Don't change zoning

Dear editor

and City Council,

It is my understanding that Twelve Oaks is operating an unauthorized and unlawful "Events Facility". Furthermore this illegal activity has only been made possible because of the improper cooperation of the City of Covington. This cooperation is in the form of allowing for the closing of Monticello Street, which supports events at Twelve Oaks. Residents in the residential area question this action by the city. When the Planning Commission convened to hear the petition and public comment, it needs to be recognized that 60 neighbors opposed the zoning change while only one neighbor spoke in favor of it. During the commission meeting Ms. Greer, the owner of Twelve Oaks, was reminded that her bed & breakfast was originally approved "ONLY" for a license to operate a bed and breakfast, not an "Events Facility".

I understand it’s difficult for Ms. Greer and her fiancé’, Mr. Munn, not to take the adverse response by her neighbors to her zoning request personally. However, they should realize their neighbors’ reaction is a reflection of their concerns that the addition of "Events Facility" to their B & B license will be disruptive to their neighborhood.

I would hasten to add that as one of their neighbors we completely support their operation of their B & B. The renovation of Twelve Oaks was excellent. The $15,000 Tourism Development grant was well-placed. They certainly were worthy recipients of the "Red Chair" award. In addition, it’s our opinion a B & B is an asset to any neighborhood. A B & B is able to blend in without causing a major disruption to those in the vicinity. In the case of Twelve Oaks, it is located in the residential Historic District were we live and participate in the preservation of our home.

The main issue is whether or not to remove bed and breakfast "ONLY" restriction from the zoning designation where Twelve Oaks is located. If the B & B "ONLY" were weakened by the removal of the "ONLY" limitation allowing them to become an "EVENTS FACILITY" this would destroy all that our neighbors and we have been diligent about preserving. Changing the zoning designation would open up various forms of commercial activity in neighborhoods which currently only permit a B & B. If this were allowed to occur it would be destructive to the residential quality of the neighborhood. The precedent this would create would not be beneficial to Covington. For example, if the zoning were weakened you would not be able to deny Caldwell & Cowan, or J.C. Harwell Funeral Home properties for also petitioning to become "Event Facilities". They both have historic houses on their properties and on-site parking. Parking is something that Twelve Oaks does not have for crowds beyond parking for six guests of their B & B.

This is an issue that not only affects the residents of Monticello Street, but it also has an adverse impact on everyone in the residential neighborhood. It is hoped that after the City Council evaluates this zoning change issue they will vote not to change the current standard. That action would be the right thing to do for our community.

Benjamin Dameron

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