Most of old brewery likely to be saved

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COVINGTON - City officials plan to submit a new proposal for redevelopment of
the historic former Bavarian Brewery property for review by the Northern
Kentucky Area Planning Commission.

The move has the blessing of area preservationists, who are pleased that while
some buildings would be allowed to be razed under the proposed plan, the most
significant ones would remain.

Under an agreement with hotel- and casino operator Columbia Sussex Corp., the
property's owner, the site's most historic parts, including the five-story main
building and a matching structure that extends eastward from that building, will
avoid the wrecking ball.

City Commissioners voted 4-0 to send the matter to the planning commission.
There were only four votes because new Commissioner Mildred Rains had not yet
been sworn in.

Regina Estes of the Covington group Progress with Preservation, praised the
proposal, calling it "a win-win" because it preserves the important buildings
while allowing future development. Most recently, the property was occupied by
the Jillian's entertainment complex.

The former Zimmer Hardware could be torn down, under the plan.

In another matter this week, commissioners approved a settlement agreement with
Bench Billboard Company about placement of advertising benches on city-owned
sidewalks and other public rights-of-way.

The city about four years ago toughened its laws regulating advertisements and
other objects placed in the rights-of-way, including the ad benches. Bench
Billboard Co. sued and the matter has been pending in U.S. District Court.

The city's 2005 right-of-way restrictions required companies to sign franchise
agreements with City Hall to get permission to place the benches on city land.
Bench Billboards refused and the city removed existing benches.

The city in January adopted a new right-of-way ordinance that bans all bench
billboards outright, hoping that U.S. District Magistrate Gregory J. Wehrman
will find that approach to be constitutional.

At issue in the lawsuit are commercial free-speech rights.

Meanwhile, the city hopes to reach a settlement with Bench Billboards related to
the prior ordinance, which now is stricken from the books.

In another matter, the city will buy a 1997 Hackney Custom Rescue Truck from the
Central Fire District for $30,000, and spend up to $5,000 for equipment and new
Covington markings for the vehicle. Covington's existing rescue truck is
reaching the end of its usefulness, and a new truck would cost well over

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