Red Bank Commission Seeks To Help Family Who Lost Two-Family Zoning After Having It For 61 Years

Wednesday, February 05, 2014 - by Gail Perry

A zoning ordinance is having unintended consequences for a property owner in Red Bank. William L. Reeve built a two-family dwelling at 238 Peace St. in 1953, before Red Bank was incorporated. The house has retained the R-2 status for its 61 years despite the surrounding area being zoned for single family dwellings.


An ordinance in effect since 1986 specifies that if non-conforming use is discontinued for 100 days, the grandfather status is lost, and the zoning would revert to the dominant zoning in the neighborhood.

The top floor of the house in question has continually been occupied by Jane Hosemann who is the owner’s daughter. The lower level has been vacant for two years due to updating the space in addition to personal family matters that took priority. When a permit for electrical work was done, Mr. Reeve found out that his building had lost the status of a two-family house because a second family had not lived in the bottom floor apartment for a period of over 100 days. Because it is no longer legal to rent that apartment, it eliminates supplemental income for Mr. Reeve.


Mr. Reeve , accompanied by two of his daughters, came to the commission meeting Tuesday night to ask for help and “mercy” on behalf of the commissioners. They say that the city never sent notices of the 1986 ordinance, and they were unaware of the 100-day rule. They claim to know other property owners that also do not know about that requirement.


Further discussion of this subject was tabled, and will resume at the first commission meeting in May to give the commissioners time enough to work with the city attorney to amend the ordinance to help Mr. Reeve while at the same time retaining effectiveness of the city’s zoning laws. Whatever is done will have to be applied “across the board,” advised City Attorney, Arnold Stulce, explaining that it would affect factories as well as a house.


In new business, approval was given for City Manager Randall Smith to negotiate with owners on behalf of the city for the purchase of properties which may become available.


The 2014 budget was amended to appropriate funds for a matching grant of $1,500 to purchase safety equipment for the public works department employees.


An additional $10,000 in funding was added to the budget for the public works department. This will allow the city to continue to demolish property deemed unfit for habitation.


Justin Defires was appointed as the Red Bank representative to the Hamilton County Water Quality Board. He has held this position for the past eight years.


Commissioners approved amending the agreement between the city and Total Resources, Inc. which handles leaf removal for Red Bank. An increase of $300 in payment was approved for the work. It was announced that leaf pick-up is finished for the year.


A master agreement with Wiser Consultants, LLC for professional services was approved. This will allow the city to enter into engineering services with the company as needed throughout the remainder of the year. This was recommended by the city manager since engineering expertise is needed for several projects that are currently in work.


During the portion of the meeting where residents of Red Bank are encouraged to bring concerns to the commissioners, David Smith, owner of Dave’s Shooting Supplies, spoke. He would like to buy land and build a shooting range to expand his business, or encourage the city to build one.


A quarterly presentation of awards to honor outstanding city employees took place at the Tuesday night meeting. Police Chief Tim Christol announced awards for members of his department. Chris Bruce was chosen for the Executive Service award. Christian Byrd was given a certificate of appreciation for his position of Special Assistant. Chief Christol especially wanted to honor the reserve officers who volunteer their work to the city.  Officers Ken Yenachak, Scott Miller, Tim Brown and Ron Williamson, all with eight years of service to the city, were singled out by the chief for jobs well done.  


Fire Chief Mark Mathews presented Lieutenant Eddie Isles an award for taking the initiative to make a sick child an honorary Red Bank Fireman.


Wishing to congratulate and honor all of the public works employees, in keeping the city clear and safe,   Public Works Director Tim Thornbury chose to give a plaque of appreciation to each employee in the department.





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