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New business on Stutzman site

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Village Council at its Feb. 7 meeting unanimously approved entering into a lease with villager Mitchell George for a new business located at the former site of Stutzman’s Nursery on U.S. 68 North.

In a written memo recommending approval of the lease, Village Manager Mark Cundiff said that it “will allow for an attractive re-use of this property with a unique commercial venture that will hopefully attract customers to Yellow Springs.”

George, currently the owner of Village Greenery in King’s Yard, plans to locate Yellow Springs Botanicals in the front section of the land formerly occupied by Stutzman’s, while the Ranch Menagerie, an animal rescue organization owned by Nick Ormes, will sub-lease the back section. The three-year lease, which begins May 1, requires payment of $500 monthly for Yellow Springs Botanicals.

The new business will focus on un-common and exotic plants, according to George.

“These will be true rare plants, plants for enthusiasts,” he said. “Currently, the only way to get them is online, and we feel strongly that folks will travel and come to us.”

His current store does not have the room or facilities to grow such plants, George said, stating that he’s become excited about the possibility of growing plants here that are considered rare.

In response to a question, George said he is mindful that some formerly exotic plants, such as bamboo, have become a problem locally due to their aggressive growth, and that his business will be cautious in dealing with potentially invasive species.

“We’re very conscientious. We’ll do our homework,” he said.

In other Council business:

• Cundiff reported on a proposed private solar farm development to be located on the western edge of the village, mainly on the site of the former Fogg farm, with a part to be located at the Center for Business and Education, or CBE.

The item was discussion only, and no Council action was taken. Council stated that a more thorough discussion will take place at its next meeting, on Feb. 22.

The solar farm would be a joint effort by SolarVision LLC of Westerville and Melink, described in the proposal as a “provider of energy efficiency and renewable energy products and services for the commercial and institutional building industry,” whose projects include a potential solar canopy at the Cincinnati Zoo and a solar photovoltaic array adjacent to the Miamisburg Mound Community Improvement Corporation.

The project would include an upfront payment to the Village of between $200,000 and $400,000 for a solar license fee, according to the proposal.

Yellow Springs Renewable Energy, consisting of Lindstrom-Sprague Mechanical Services and Hytek Energy Solutions, will also be a partner in the project.

The site’s proposed location, the Fogg farm, was the focus of village controversy several years ago when a developer planned a housing project on the land that required an extension of Village borders. However, the project did not go forward when the land was purchased by anonymous persons, who remain anonymous, according to attorney Barry Reich. Rick Donahoe, who is a spokesperson for the owners, said that they would be open to using the land for a solar farm.

• Cundiff stated that attorney Reich and Lisa Abel of YSI will co-chair a committee to support the campaign for a renewal of the current Village property tax levy, which will be on the May ballot. Anyone interested in helping out is encouraged to contact Village Council Clerk Judy Kintner at 767-9126.



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