COVINGTON, Ky. — When Keith Bales wanted to build a new porch on his Covington home, he was ready for the planning and labor involved in the improvement project. He was not ready to deal with the city's zoning board.
"It actually required going in front of a board," said Bales, who also owns Moonrise Donuts in Latonia. "It was lengthy, and they're not free."
In recent years, Covington has garnered increasing interest from real estate developers for the historic character of its buildings and neighborhoods. But it also has some developers frustrated by restrictive zoning requirements put in place to preserve the city's history and charm.
Covington Historic Preservation Officer Christopher Myers is working to loosen some of those restrictions and make the zoning code more "flexible" to encourage more investment in rehabilitation or preservation projects.
"We had a zoning ordinance that really punished people who wanted to bring investment to our city," Myers said. "It made things as seemingly simple as a fence really cumbersome. You could have public hearings involved."
After spending the last two years revising its zoning code, Myers said city officials now can approve home or property improvements in a matter of days rather than months.
Bales sees the changes as good news.
"As a small business owner, now I'm very excited about where things are headed," he said. "They are looking for creative ways to help businesses succeed rather than putting up roadblocks."