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Barr conditions approved

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At their July 21 meeting, Village Council members unanimously passed a resolution identifying conditions to be met for the Friends Care Community’s planned development for senior apartments.

The FCC plans to construct a single building with 34 apartments for seniors on the former Barr property at the corner of Xenia Avenue and Limestone Streets. While the Yellow Springs Planning Commission did not pass the FCC’s preliminary plan this spring, the plan went on to Council, where it was passed with conditions in June. However, those conditions were not identified at that meeting, and were instead passed separately on July 21.

FCC’s submission of the final plan to Planning Commission is the next step of the project, and will take place soon, according to FCC board member Paul Webb last week. After that, Council will also consider the final plan. While FCC officials had originally hoped to begin construction this fall, that goal may not be feasible given the various steps involved in the approval process, he said.

The list of 24 conditions was submitted by Emi Randall of Woolpert Associates, who is overseeing the planning aspects of the project. Some of the conditions had been previously suggested by the planners and others were added in response to neighbors’ concerns, Randall said at the meeting. The project’s neighbors have opposed the project due to the mass and appearance of the building along with concerns about landscaping, light, noise and stormwater drainage.

Several neighbors who attended the meeting said they support a new condition, added by Randall, that requests that the project’s final plan do its best to “employ architectural techniques to better integrate the proposed building into the surrounding Historic District” through its color, materials, appearance and exterior features.

“We appreciate the idea of trying to incorporate architectural continuity between the new building and the rest of the neighborhood,” Anne Bohlen said.

Council members Karen Wintrow and Kathryn Van der Heiden initially questioned the condition, since the building has already been designed in a modern style that could be compromised by last-minute attempts to make it look more historical, they said. But the condition was passed after Randall and Interim Manager John Weithofer emphasized that the condition does not dictate the project’s architectural style but rather gives Council the opportunity for oversight of final design plans.

The neighbors have continued concerns about stormwater drainage, night glare, landscaping and construction noise, according to Joan Ackerman, Esther Battle and Barbara Boettcher at the July 21 meeting.

The conditions passed on July 21 include Planning Commission suggestions that the building have a green roof to reduce stormwater runoff, that it have pervious pavement in the parking lot, that it provide covered bike parking, that it use only Energy Star appliances where available, that the developer make every effort to save existing vegetation, that the developer make every effort to use alternative energy to the extent financially feasible, and that the developer provide appropriate screening of the parking areas from the neighbors.

New conditions suggested by Randall, and approved by Council, include that the final development plan show preliminary storm water run-off calculations and plans for drainage, detention and discharge, to be approved by Village administrators; that the final plan site design and construction plans be approved by Village administrators; that the final plan include a landscape plan that shows the location, number and species of plants to be planted and the location of existing trees to be preserved; that the final plan shows how the open space will be used for residents’ benefit; that the developer show the location and foot-candles from each light fixture, and that the developer show plans for soil erosion and sediment control through the construction process.

In other Council business:

• Len Kramer of the Visioning/Planning Task Force urged Council to not postpone for too long a village-wide visioning effort that the group has been working on. While the task force initially hoped to launch the visioning effort in the fall, it has been postponed due to the resignation of former Manager Eric Swansen and the search for a new manager. Kramer presented a timeline from the group that proposed that the visioning project begin in February of 2009, soon after a new manager has been hired.

While that timeline would put a lot of activity on the new manager’s plate, it is important to move ahead, according to Kramer.

“I’ve been talking to people for four years about how to do this, and there is no good time,” he said. “You just have to build a vision and get a plan.”

Wintrow agreed that the visioning effort should move ahead as soon as possible, since no one knows when another request for annextion might come forward. Not having a clear sense of community priorities on growth made the last annexation request difficult to address, she said. That request, that sought to extend Village boundaries for a new housing project on the former Fogg farm, was withdrawn after an anonymous buyer purchased the land in the spring of 2007.

“This is coming from a place of paralysis on economic development, growth and planning,” she said. “When we have a new manager we can’t have paralysis and not knowing what the priorities of the community are.”

• Council unanimously approved a resolution to hire Don Vermillion of the University of Dayton to serve as a consultant in the search for a new Village manager.

Vermillion, who consulted on manager searches in Vandalia, Miamisburg and Trotwood, has extensive experience and is available at a lower-than-market fee due to the University of Dayton underwriting of his work, according to Weithofer.

“Using the University of Dayton’s and Don’s expertise is a good match for being aggressive in our search for a new manager,” Weithofer said.

Vermillion will meet with Council members at their Aug. 4 meeting to more clearly identify qualifications and qualities they are seeking in a new manager.

• Council unanimously appointed Ellis Jacobs to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Jacobs will replace Andrew Brouard, who stepped down from his position.

• Council’s next meeting is Monday, Aug. 4, at Council chambers at John Bryan Community Center.

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