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Descendants of fire victims from the deadly Beverly Hills Supper Club blaze went to court on Thursday to stop development at the site.

In May, Southgate City Council joined Edgewood, Kentucky-based construction company Ashley Builders and Cincinnati-based Vision Realty Group, agreeing to develop the land into a $65 million mixed-use development. million that will include an assisted living facility, apartments, homes – and a permanent memorial honoring the victims of the fire.

In 1977, a fire at the club killed 165 people and injured more than 200 over Memorial Day weekend.

The developers secured the rezoning needed for the scheme and Southgate City Council gave it final approval in August.

Now the descendants of the fire victims are suing Southgate City Council, the Campbell County Planning and Zoning Commission and the developers, according to the lawsuit brought by local attorneys Steven Megerle and Todd McMurtry.

The lawyers asked the court to overturn the area change the developers obtained from Southgate. They pointed to procedural grievances, such as the wrong name appearing on the zoning application and the way the Campbell County Zoning Commission held its public hearing. They claim that the descendants did not have the opportunity to ask the developer questions.

We felt we were negotiating in good faith, we met with most of their dealerships, but they decided to go ahead with the lawsuit, so we’re moving forward as well,” the developers said in a statement. statement sent to The Enquirer.

Reversing the zoning would halt the development project.

The lawsuit in Campbell County Circuit Court also claimed that part of the site should be prohibited from construction because it was to be a cemetery.

“Memorial Point at the Beverly Hills Supper Club site is a corrupt deal between the Mayor, Southgate City Council and the Ashley Business Group that has at every turn insulted survivors, victim’s family members, first responders of the Beverly Hills Supper Club disaster,” Megerle said. in a press release.”Shame on them”.

This is not the first showdown between descendants and developers. The group came together to speak at zoning and city council meetings in matching shirts and masks that read “Beverly Hills respect the dead.”

Southgate disputed the lawsuit’s allegations and said he believed the lawsuit would be dismissed, according to a press release issued Friday by the city.

The city was “blindsided” by the lawsuit as it claimed the descendants agreed to a settlement that included building and access to a fountain where the cabaret hall once stood.

In a press release, the descendants said they decided to press charges because the developers had allowed the site to be built while negotiations were ongoing. They also claimed that the developers misrepresented the location of the cabaret hall and did not investigate to find the location of the hall.

The promoters called the descendants’ lawyers “unprofessional” in a press release Friday afternoon because they did not receive a courtesy copy of the lawsuit before it was filed. They insisted they sought and received input from community members and those affected by the fire when preparing plans for the memorial.

“This lawsuit only further delays the establishment of a proper and long-awaited public memorial that will hopefully bring a sense of closure to all those affected by the tragedy of the fire,” they said. said the promoters in a press release.

Memorial placement ideas collide

At the meetings, the descendants made it clear that they were not against the development. Instead, they disputed the location of a fire memorial and asked the developers to investigate the site for human remains.

The developers plan to place it at the bottom of the hill along US 27 and insist that all remains have been recovered, according to a previous Enquirer article.

But, descents want the memorial at the top of the hill where the old cabaret hall once stood, where most people died in the fire. This is where the developers plan to put a private park.

The developers said descendants can visit the park on the anniversary of the fire and with permission from the homeowners association, the developers said.

The Graveyard Argument

The descendants have asked the court to determine whether the former site of the cabaret hall, where they want the memorial, is a cemetery.

Megerle argued that construction should be banned on some land in the project – because descendants say it’s a cemetery, according to emails Megerle provided to The Enquirer.

Cities in Kentucky are expected to protect burial sites from the use of parks, athletic fields, construction sites and other structures, according to Kentucky law. But, the definition of a cemetery can be broad.

The developers have agreed to cease construction if any human remains are found until they can be buried.

This group hopes that the court will declare the old cabaret hall a burial place, which would prohibit building anything there.

Julia is the Northern Kentucky government reporter for the Report For America program. Donors Anonymous has pledged to cover the local donor portion of his grant-funded post with The Enquirer. If you would like to support Julia’s work, you can donate to her post Report For America on this site or send email to the editor Carl Weiser [email protected] to find out how you can help fund his work.

Do you know anything she should know? Send her a note at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @JFair_Reports.

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