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2017
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Village Council

Villagers asked to weigh in — Housing survey launched

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Yellow Springs residents are being asked by Village government to take part in a survey about local housing and housing needs.

“The survey asks, ‘What are the challenges for the community?’ according to Patrick Bowen of Bowen National Research, in a presentation to Village Council at Council’s Oct. 16 meeting. The Columbus-based real estate market research firm was recently hired by Village Council to conduct a housing needs assessment, which was kicked off at Monday’s Council meeting. The Village is paying $24,900 for the project, which was the least expensive of three proposals received.

The assessment will contain many kinds of information relevant to local housing, according to Bowen, including data on the current housing stock in Yellow Springs and the surrounding area, as well as local demographics and current and future trends. And while much of the information will be hard data, the survey adds a necessary human element to the assessment, Bowen said.

“The survey can validate what we’re finding with data, and show what problems residents are facing,” he said.

The survey has been active for a week, and villagers have until Friday, Nov. 3, to participate. All local residents are encouraged to do so. Go online to http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YS-Resident. There is information on the survey in an insert to this week’s News.

Those without computer access have a variety of options. Computers are being made available for survey use at the Yellow Springs Library, during regular business hours; at the John Bryan Community Youth Center, from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the Yellow Springs Senior Center, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.; at Central Chapel AME on Wednesday, Oct. 25, from 3 to 6 p.m.; and at Antioch College in Room 130 of McGregor Hall, from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27.

Hard copies of the survey are also available at the Yellow Springs Library and the first floor lobby of the John Bryan Center.

Bowen National Research, which employs 25 people, completes about 500 housing studies yearly, although most are for individual developers. That number includes about five housing needs assessments, Bowen said.

To complete the assessment, the firm will study demographic data provided by the Environmental Systems Research Institute, or ESRI, along with economic data on jobs and wages. The firm will interview top local employers regarding business trends and anticipated changes, and will also look at the needs of specific groups, including the disabled and senior citizens.

The firm will also study the local housing supply, along with the housing supply in surrounding communities to assess how area housing options might affect the village.

Overall, the housing needs assessment aims to find the gaps between local housing needs and housing supply, Bowen said.

“We’ll match up the demographics with the housing and see where there are mismatches,” he said.

With that information, the firm will make recommendations to Village Council, Bowen said, stating that he’ll deliver the recommendations at Council’s Dec. 18 meeting. Following that meeting, in the beginning of the new year, focus groups will be convened to add to the assessment.

The housing needs assessment has been a long time coming, according to Council member Marianne MacQueen, who said she and Council President Karen Wintrow have been discussing the need for such a project for almost a decade.

“This is not something we’re going to stick on the shelf,” she said. “It’s something that will engage us for a while.”

Other items on Council’s Oct. 16 agenda will be covered in a story in next week’s paper.

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Villagers asked to weigh in — Housing survey launched

by Diane Chiddister