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Council Notebook: Legion Park plans questioned
Council approves sign ordinance changes, alters rules for bed and breakfasts
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Floyd Street resident Hugh Burnett presented the Covington City Council Monday with a list of questions he and his neighbors would like to see answered before the city begins work to turn Legion Field into a public park and event space.

Burnett said he and others support positive community development but are concerned about noise, crowd control and parking and want to be included in the development of the park since it will affect them.

Among the questions are ones essentially asking whether another special events facility is needed, how much the park will cost to maintain, whether there will be a set contact person for after-hours events, what the fee schedule will be, how late music will be able to be played and whether parking rules will be enforced to not block narrow streets like Sockwell and Hicks avenues.

“We support initiatives that show positive development for the community. We just want to make sure this is thought out and is a positive for everyone," Burnett said in a follow-up email to The News. "It will effect a lot of people in my neighborhood, and I think plans are made sometimes without thinking everything through.”

Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said nothing has yet been set in stone, that the city is working through some of those questions themselves and that answers will be provided.

Sign ordinance changes approved

The Covington City Council approved the final reading of some changes to its sign ordinance, which has been a point of discussion and gone through numerous iterations over the years.

The council made a number of small changes to the sign ordinance, including:

- Allowing signs in the town center zoning to be internally illuminated; previously these signs could only be lighted externally (eliminating internal lighting is a popular modern sign trend).

- Relaxing LED sign regulations; the signs still cannot not be animated, flash, blink or vary in light intensity, but the sign ordinance previously said each message on the sign had to be held for one minute at a time and that the transition between messages had to be less than three seconds (these types of signs are only allowed in corridor mixed use and industrial zonings).

- Adding that signs cannot emit any sounds, smoke or vapor.

- Giving sign owners more time to repair or replace damaged, broken and vandalized signs; owners now have between one working week and 30 days depending on the damage, whereas previously they had to make repairs within one working week.

- Changing various sign definitions.

While the council unanimously approved the changes, it overruled the Covington Planning Commission, whose members are appointed by the council. The Planning Commission voted against the changes, because it first wanted to meet with the council to discuss them. However, the council wasn’t interested and wanted to approve the changes Monday.

Bed and breakfast change

The council also voted to make a change to the way future bed and breakfasts will be able to operate.

Now, any new bed and breakfast that opens in the city limits will have to seek a separate special use permit to be able to operate as a special events facility for guests and non-residents of the property.

Covington Senior Planner Scott Gaither said that in the past, being an events facility was considered accessory (secondary) to the main bed and breakfast use.

The issue came up at The Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast on Monticello Street, which has become a popular wedding destination. There was confusion about whether Twelve Oaks was in fact able to host events or not. The new city ordinance wording clarifies the situation by requiring a special use permit to host events.

In related news, the Covington City Council denied another request to close down Monticello Street in front of The Twelve Oaks for a wedding.

Under the compromise between The Twelve Oaks and surrounding residents, road closures were not going to be approved unless there were “exceptional circumstances.”

New thermal imaging cameras for fire dept.

The Council also approved the $25,460 purchase of two thermal imaging cameras and related equipment from NAFECO for the Covington Fire Department.

UtliMcNeil said the current cameras are 10-plus years old and technology is constantly advancing.

Questions concerning the development of Legion Field by the City of Covington