Commission strikes down zoning change, amends ARPA budget

Nov. 24—Blake Vickers

The Nov. 22, 2022. Richmond City Commission saw the commission strike down a zoning ordinance and move to amend ARPA budgets to help support an upcoming non-profit restaurant to be opened downtown.

In the second reading zoning ordinance 22-38, every member of the commission but Commissioner Ed MacDaniel voted to strike down a proposed zoning change. The proposal would have changed the zoning classification for property at 2209/2207 at Lexington Road from R1B Single Family Residential and P1 Professional Offices to R3 Multi-family and B3 Highway Business. The property is owned by Boone View LLC.

"Other areas that we've put additional apartments in congested areas obviously create traffic issues. Therefore we have more public safety issues," Commissioner Jim Newby said of the proposal.

Ordinance 22-50 amended the city's ARPA Budget to help fund Enrich Breakfast and Brunch, a downtown non-profit restaurant from Richmond Police Department Sgt. Dan Kirstein and his wife India Kirstein that will employ those in substance use recovery, the homeless, and others deemed "too difficult" to work with in the job market.

"As you know we had a presentation in our work shop session from the Enrich Program. We were trying to determine how to support that project. We actually had this idea. We can qualify the ARPA funds for this program," City Manager Rob Minerich said. "What we proposed is putting $100,000 of the ARPA money in the budget for the Enrich program. The idea is if they can match that $100,000 we'll give them that (ARPA funding) to support the program."

A zoning classification and annexation ordinance for property off of Goggins Lane and Tates Creek Road was tabled by the commission. According to City Attorney Tyler Frazier, the residents of the area had not been sufficiently notified of the ordinance, so it was tabled to give them proper notice.

In the first reading of ordinance 22-49, the city commission weighed assisting members of a neighborhood in the Downtown Lancaster Avenue Corridor file a zoning change ordinance, taking parts of their neighborhood from R3 to R1C.

"There was a group of residents on Lancaster Avenue that came forward with a petition to preserve their homes as homes and not turn into apartments. It was sent by this body to the planning and zoning board. Under their recommendation, the city allowed those individuals to apply and we did the legwork for them to get to this zone change. It is directly addressing the petition of those homeowners who signed up for a voluntary zone change to protect their homes which are currently used as single family," Frazier said.

Kelly McBride was hired by the commission for a public information officer position recently posted by the city following the recent departure of city employee Tyler Johnson. McBride served as the information officer of the Madison County Health Department.

The second reading of ordinance 22-46 was passed by the commission. It centers around transient taxes collected by AirBnB's and comes from recent state legislature.

"House Bill 8, which came from the state legislature, they were able to champion this cause for tourism. The Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) was a big partner with that. There are so many Air BnB's local online taxing. Expedia, Booking.Com, all these places popping up that the local tourism is not getting the transient tax for that," Murphy-Tatum said in a recent city workshop meeting. "What will happen now is Air BnB will actually collect that money from the guest and they will remit it to the city of Richmond and it is to go into effect as of Jan. 1, so this will be a big help to tourism departments across the state."

The City of Richmond's finance department will initially receive the transient tax proceeds, with the tourism department getting those proceeds 30 days later.

As helpful as the transient taxes from Air BnB's will be from tourism, Murphy-Tatum was critical of one part of House Bill 8.

"Historically, any hotel stay has been able to collect transient tax for the length of the stay. If Mr. Beckett stays 30 days or six months, we would be able to collect that tax. There was a change in the bill that was kind of an oops. But after 30 days, we can no longer charge transient tax. For our extended stay properties, that can be a significant reduction in the transient tax we receive. There are some people that believe it will be a net gain that will be just be even, we're hoping that it won't be. Preliminary, we may lose between $50,000 and $75,000 from extended stays past 30 days. Hopefully, the AirBnB money will make up for it," Murphy-Tatum said in that same workshop meeting.

Bob Riley was appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustments following a departure on the board. He will serve on the board until the remainder of the term, which expires on Jan 24, 2024. Another member of that board had his term extended to 2026.

A vehicle surplus was also declared. Two 2009 Dodge Chargers, a 2005 Ford Taurus, a 2006 Ford Taurus, and a Curb Separator F-250 truck are no longer useable by the city and will be disposed of in the highest investment.

Longtime public works department employee Josh Farthing was promoted to the role of Public Works Director. It is pay grade VI and was advertised both internally and externally.

The Richmond Fire Department hired three new firefighters, as Matthew Frost, Jarod Rhodus, and Wesley Wright were hired at pay grade III.