City de­nies ceme­tery re­lo­ca­tion

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - JACKIE GUTKNECHT jgutknecht@cov­news.com

The Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil de­nied the re­lo­ca­tion of an un­marked ceme­tery in a 3-2 vote Mon­day night. De­vel­op­ers of the prop­erty plan to reap­ply as quickly as pos­si­ble.

With coun­cil mem­bers Chris Smith, Ken­neth Mor­gan and Hawnethia Wil­liams vot­ing against the ceme­tery and in fa­vor of the of­fi­cial de­nial, a ma­jor­ity ruled.

Coun­cil­woman Ocie Franklin was ab­sent from Mon­day night’s meet­ing be­cause of an ill­ness, mak­ing the ma­jor­ity only three votes in­stead of four.

City At­tor­ney Frank Turner said now that the ap­pli­ca­tion for ceme­tery re­lo­ca­tion has been de­nied, the city has 30 days to pro­vide the ap­pli­cants with rea­sons for the de­nial. He said he would write up the de­nial rea­sons and pro­vide them to the coun­cil at its next meet­ing. Once the rea­sons have been pro­vided to the ap­pli­cant, the ap­pli­cant has the op­tion to ap­peal to the su­pe­rior court within 30 days. He also said the ap­pli­cant could reap­ply at any time.

The ap­pli­cant is Guardian An­gel As­sisted Liv­ing and Me­mory Care, LLC, which plans on build­ing an as­sisted liv­ing com­mu­nity on a piece of prop­erty on Ea­gle Drive.

Many of the con­cerns raised by coun­cil mem­bers for the de­nial re­volved around the pre­vi­ous ceme­tery re­lo­ca­tion ap­proved by the city. The city ap­proved its first ceme­tery re­lo­ca­tion in De­cem­ber of last year. That ap­proval was based on the as­sump­tion of about a dozen graves be­ing in the In­dus­trial Park Boule­vard lo­ca­tion. How­ever, once the re­lo­ca­tion was ap­proved and started a to­tal of 75 graves were found and there­fore re­lo­cated.

Steve Webb, pres­i­dent and se­nior prin­ci­pal arche­ol­o­gist for R.S. Webb & As­so­ciates, as­sured the coun­cil that sit­u­a­tions like that were ex­tremely rare and grave counts typ­i­cally only vary slightly from the orig­i­nal es­ti­mates.

Ro­him Pa­tel, of Guardian An­gel As­sisted Liv­ing and Me­mory Care, said he plans on reap­ply­ing for the ceme­tery re­lo­ca­tion and his devel­op­ment is at a com­plete stand­still un­til it is ap­proved. He said he was plan­ning on pre­par­ing de­signs for the re­lo­ca­tion site, which he said would in­clude a me­mo­rial gar­den, for his next ap­pli­ca­tion.

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