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Stop signs to be made permanent on Square
stop signs

The stop signs at the four corners of the Downtown Covington Square will be made permanent, but the Covington City Council voted not to take down the traffic lights for at least an additional 30 days, making the change permanent.

“We believe the change to stop signs has been successful,” said City Manager Leigh Anne Knight. “I’ve been down there by foot and by vehicle, as has Billy [Bouchillon, Deputy City Manager], during different times and traffic is flowing.”

Concerning the stop signs that were placed at the corners of Floyd and Church streets and Monticello and Washington streets in early May, Bouchillon said there had been some negative comments, but added, “If you’ve been up there, it’s obvious it’s flowing better.”

Along with the now permanent stop signs, additional signs will be erected a block off the square warning motorists that the Square is a pedestrian zone. Pedestrian crossing signs will also be put up in the middle of crosswalks. Both, Bouchillon said, will be done as soon as possible.

Towing and impound lot coming

Following a public hearing, the council also approved a request to rezone 8128 Washington Street from Corridor Mixed Use (CM) to Light Industrial (M-1). Following another public hearing, the council also approved a Special Use Permit for the .32-acre lot as a towing and impound lot.

“I know there was an effort to revitalize that area of Washington Street,” said Council Member Hawnethia Williams, Post 2 West. “My concern is how will it look? [Will it be] something attractive, since you say you want to help with the beautification of the area?”

Owner Raymond Adcock of Madison, who also owns the nearby Shots Fired shooting range and store, said he would be putting up a 9-foot fence, most likely brick, around the lot. In response to Williams question about what would happen if there was an overflow of vehicles, he said he owned a lot just inside Morgan County that he would use for an overflow lot.

The first reading of an ordinance updating the official zoning map of the city was heard at the meeting. According to Senior Planner Scott Gaither, some cities approve and reprint the city’s official zoning map every year. “We didn’t have a lot of changes and it didn’t seem worth [the expense] to print up-to-date zoning maps [every year],” he said. “We may need to do it every two years.”

Nursing home permit

A decision on renewing a Special Use Permit for Royal Hall Senior Living facility was tabled until developer Kippy Clarke of B&B Southside Holdings Co. could appear before the council.

Last year, Clarke received a 12-month Special Use Permit to begin construction on a $22 million, 254 unit senior care residence. The permit will expire at the end of May, and the developers’ engineer, Bobby Bullard of Bullard Land Planning, requested a 12-month extension on the permit.

The 7.31-acre parcel is on Highway 142 near Dearing Street, and is zoned Neighborhood Residential-2, single-family home, and the Special Use Permit was necessary for the developer to build a four-story, three building structure for 55-and-older living, a three-story building for senior care, and a three-story building for Alzheimer's patients.

“The owner went to an architect, then did a market study,” Bullard told the council. That study made the developer drop the number of units in the facility to 218. “The $22 million is now $31 million.”

“I remember vividly the owner saying we’ve got things lined up,” said Mayor Ronnie Johnston, asking if the building project had been delayed because the developer had been concentrating on other projects.

The council also:

Witnessed the swearing in by Mayor Ronnie Johnston of Timothy Tukes as an officer with the Covington Police Department.

Approved applications to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption only for Burrito Loco, 4139 Highway 278, and Five O’clock Sports Bar and Gril, 7191 Turner Lake Road.

Accepted a bid from Staples Technology for $30,293 to replace the city’s network servers and equipment.

Approved a road closure of Clark Street on the Square for Memorial Day celebrations, May 30, between 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m., with five parking areas cordoned off at 7:30 a.m.

Heard the first reading of an ordinance that changed the city’s charter to pay a minimum of 75 percent of employee’s insurance premiums.