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Stutzman’s land for lease

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The 20-acre plot of Village-owned land on U.S. 68 North that formerly housed Stutzman’s Garden and Landscaping Center will be available for rent within a few months, according to Village Council at its June 7 meeting.

At the meeting, Council heard an update from Village Solicitor John Chambers, who had written a draft Request for Proposal, or RFP, for use of the property. Council charged Village Manager Mark Cundiff with fine-tuning the RFP, which will be publicized within a few weeks. While Council did not indicate a preferred use for the land, members have stated they are seeking a business or organization that is sensitive to surrounding land uses, which is why they did not at this time set a specific rental price.

“This is the hard way” to rent the land, according to Chambers, who said that the easy way is simply to choose the highest bidder. However, he said to Council, “You want to see the land used in a way that seems good for the community, so you will end up balancing how much people can pay versus what they want to do with the land.”

A special committee, composed of Cundiff, Council members Rick Walkey and Karen Wintrow and one or two community members, will be charged with reviewing the submitted proposals and selecting one to present to Council for approval. So far, five persons have asked to receive an RFP once it’s developed, according to a memo from Cundiff.

Stutzman’s had rented the land for more than 20 years as a gardening and landscaping center before the business was evicted from the land last fall. A “huge amount” of stuff has been left on the land from the business, according to Council member Judith Hempfling, including refrigerators, wheelbarrows and planters. The RPF will include scheduled “walk-through” dates on the land for prospective businesses to survey the land and leftover items to determine if they are usable, or if they should be disposed of, according to Cundiff’s memo.

Almost all of the animals in the animal sanctuary that was previously located on the property have been removed, except for two pigs and several feral cats that can’t be caught, according to the memo, which stated the pigs will be removed before new tenants occupy the property.

In an interview last week, Cundiff stated that it’s possible that more than one business might want to rent the land, and that the Village is open to a variety of possibilities.

In other Council business:

• A group of nine community members “with a broad range of experience and interests” have agreed to serve on the new Economic Sustainability Commission, according to a memo from Hempfling. The commission members are Ellen Hoover, Roi Qualls of the Community Resources Board, Jacki Mayer of the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce, Cynthia Sanford of the YS Federal Credit Union, Tom Brookey of Antioch College, Megan Bachman, Susan Stiles of Greene Met Housing, Enshane Nomoto and Lisa Hunt of YS Kids Playhouse. Ex-officio members are Wintrow and Hempfling from Council and Village Economic Sustainability Coordinator Sarah Wildman.

“It looks like a great group,” Wintrow said.

The commission will advise Council on economic matters, and is designed to offer the Village a diversity of voices to weigh in on economic development, including the creation and retention of local businesses.

• Council approved a resolution that allows the Village to hire Pavement Technology, Inc., for seal coating of several village streets.

The seal-coating process is part of the pavement management program the Village instituted four years ago, and follows the milling and resurfacing that has already taken place. The seal coating “helps to mitigate the effects of weather and sunlight” on the new pavement. It is expected to add five to seven years to the pavement, Cundiff said.

The cost of the seal coating is not to exceed $50,625, plus up to 10 percent above that amount should Cundiff determine the extra is necessary.

The streets to be seal coated include portions of Allen, South High, North High, North Stafford, Limestone, West South College and Limestone Streets, East Enon Road and Xenia Avenue.

• Council approved a resolution that allows the Village to sell surplus property online on, a site used frequently by municipalities to dispose of unwanted surplus items.

“This will allow us to get rid of a lot of stuff,” Cundiff said.

Items to be disposed of come mainly from the police department, and range from a 20-year-old car to a cellphone, Cundiff said.

• Council responded to a letter from Judy Parker regarding concerns about previous contamination at Morris Bean, which was under a directive from the Ohio EPA to remediate groundwater from 1994 until the EPA approved a site closure plan in 2008. However, Parker expressed concern that the Village is not currently monitoring the situation to make sure that there is no further contamination.

The Village isn’t keeping abreast of the situation because Morris Bean fulfilled all EPA directives, Cundiff said. However, Hempfling agreed that the Village should “be in the loop of communication” regarding the plant’s situation.

Council agreed to ask Village Wastewater Treatment Manager Joe Bates, who will report to Council at its next meeting regarding the Village water system, about the Morris Bean contamination problem, about which Council members said they were unaware.

• In his manager’s report, Cundiff updated Council on the gypsy moth trapping throughout the Village. Lime green traps have been placed on trees by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to capture male gypsy moths in order to track the spread of the insect, Cundiff said. Anyone with questions about the trapping should call the ODA at 1-800-282-1955.

• Council’s next meeting will take place on Monday, June 21, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers at the John Bryan Center.

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