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New economic plan presented to Council

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At their March 5 meeting, Village Council members heard a presentation of the new Yellow Springs Economic Sustainability Plan, created by the Economic Sustainability Commission, the volunteer group charged by Council with helping to revitalize the local economy.

The plan has two main thrusts, according to Roi Qualls of the group, who made the presentation. First, the plan seeks to remove current impediments to economic development, including a revision of the zoning code to make it more amenable to the needs of new and existing businesses. The second thrust emphasizes the need for Village government, and villagers in general, to develop a more business-friendly attitude, considering the economic effects of issues when making decisions. The commission has been working on the plan for the past year, Qualls said.

“One objective is to rekindle the entrepreneurial spirit in Yellow Springs,” he said. “We have seen some businesses end in the past few years, and it’s time to rekindle the fire again.”

The item was a presentation only. Council President Judith Hempfling stated that Council members needed time to study the document, and would bring it back to Council the first meeting in April for more discussion.

The plan includes seven general principles, with sub-headings and more specific action steps under each. It can be read online by clicking on the March 5 Village Council packet on the Village Web site,

The principles, along with sub-headings, are as follows. More detailed action steps are in the plan.

1) Facilitate economic development and improve the Yellow Springs business climate by implementing business-friendly initiatives.

1.1 Update the Yellow Springs zoning code to make it more user-friendly and to provide predictability with regard to new development and redevelopment of existing facilities.

1.2 Provide input into the development and evolution of the Village’s tactical approach to economic sustainability.

1.3 Define Village Council goals as they relate to economic sustainability, determine which goals are a priority to economic sustainability and economic development and review all related materials to assure that they target job creation and expansion of the tax base.

1.4  Build understanding of Village goals and accomplishments through better communication to the public and the business community.

1.5 Encourage Village Council to consider the ways in which Village policies impact economic development and economic sustainability.

2) Develop strategies to help existing Yellow Springs employers create quality jobs.

2.1  Build a Public/Private Economic Development Task force of Yellow Springs-based economic development leaders and practitioners to help implement collaborative outreach efforts.

2.2 Assess areas for business retention and expansion outreach. Address employer expansion and workforce development needs and advise employers of Yellow Springs’ competitive and highly educated workforce.

2.3 Ask existing Yellow Springs businesses for suggestions directed at new business attraction.

2.4 Assess the needs and identify resources for the purchase of equipment, services and office management to expertly assist emerging businesses.

2.5 Partner with the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce to convene employers for joint problem solving.

3) Work with property owners to optimize development opportunities for projects in existing facilities, for projects currently in the planning stages and in future developments.

3.1  Continue to work with and encourage property and business owners in existing employment centers to expand, upgrade and construct state-of-the-art facilities with an emphasis on sustainable, energy-efficient design.

3.2 Support the business campus currently known as the Center for Business and Education.

3.3 Support proposed projects and development in the planning stages and keep apprised of development opportunities on existing undeveloped land.

4) Create a strategic Village Economioc Development Toolkit.

4.1 Research economic development tools, create a results-oriented list of those that will optimize Yellow Springs’ most salient features and assets, and recommend them to Council for adoption. Work in conjunction with the Dayton Development Coalition, Jobs Ohio and the Ohio Development Services Agency.

4.2 Develop and utilize a benefi/cost model to measure the fiscal impact of key development projects and incentives and to align Village economic development tools with the benefit received.

4.3 Recommend government policies regarding incentives that give priority to projects that will produce a substantial positive fiscal impact.

4.4 Develop a more aggressive business attraction strategy.

5) Assure that the Yellow Springs government commitment is sufficient to carry out the Economic Sustainability Plan.

5.1 Maintain an Economic Sustainability staff consistent with the demands of the work at hand.

5.2 Establish responsibilities for Village staff to encourage Economic Sustainability.

6) Monitor, review and update The Plan bi-annually for effectiveness.

6.1 Track intermediate outcomes as soon as The Plan and programs are fully in place, based on an established scale.

7) Engage a broad coalition of leaders committed to significantly improving economic development practices in the village.

More items of March 5 Council business will be in next week’s News.


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