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Senior apartments— Council passes first reading to rezone

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At its first meeting of the year, Council voted to rezone a local property to accommodate a 54-unit affordable senior apartment building.

On Monday, Jan. 7, Council voted 4–0 to pass the first reading of an ordinance rezoning a 1.853-acre parcel between East Herman and Marshall streets. Council member Kineta Sanford recused herself.

Currently in the R-B residential district, the property is being rezoned as a Planned Unit Development, or PUD. Developers Home, Inc. and St. Mary Development Corporation, of Dayton, applied for PUD zoning because the project exceeds the density and height restrictions of the existing district and has fewer parking spaces than required, among other deviations.

A second reading, along with a public hearing, will be conducted at Council’s next meeting on Monday, Jan. 21. If passed, the legislation would take effect after 30 days, just in time for Home, Inc.’s application for tax credit funding for the project.

Village Manager Patti Bates explained the ordinances as, “simply the next step in the process.”
Previously, in December, Council approved the project’s requested zoning code deviations and affirmed it met the standards and conditions of PUD zoning in a series of 4–0 votes.

Before the vote this week, Council briefly discussed parking, traffic and the process for applying to live in the apartments.

Addressing the issue of whether village residents would get priority, Council President Brian Housh said “that’s not how the system works,” but that many villagers would likely live there.

“Our community will be well informed and interested, and typically what happens is a lot of people who are in the community will be in those units,” he said.

Emily Seibel, director of Home, Inc., explained at the meeting that the nonprofit will keep an “interest list” of locals, who will be contacted 120 days before construction is complete, when the application period opens. Before then, the organization will not advertise the apartments, she said.

“There will not be public outreach until the [application] period opens,” Seibel said.

Housh also addressed traffic and parking concerns, saying that Council should not look to the “worst case scenario.” He said he suspected that a new traffic light would not be needed at Xenia Avenue and Herman Street, but that if it were, “we will get a grant for that — we won’t use public money.”

“I don’t think that kind of significant investment is going to be necessary,” Housh said of the $225,000 figure for a new traffic light. “I don’t see that area as going to be crazy and hectic,” he added.

With regard to parking, Housh said he was comfortable with the 42 parking spaces allotted in the plan, with the potential to increase to 54 if needed. He also urged Home, Inc. to reach out to Friends Care Community across Herman Street and Miami Township, which is building a new fire station adjacent to the property, about the possibility of shared parking.

Council member Lisa Kreeger inquired about whether Miami Township completed a traffic study for the fire station, saying, when it comes to traffic issues, “I’m more concerned about the fire station.”

Kreeger also asked Home, Inc. if pets would be allowed in the apartments. Seibel said she was not sure but would look into it.

Council Vice President Marianne MacQueen said she wanted to respond to a concern she’s heard about “people from outside.” She said most people live in Yellow Springs because they want to be here, or because they have a connection to town such as a job or family here.

“It’s people who have some connection to Yellow Springs — those [are the people] who want to live in Yellow Springs,” MacQueen said. “I don’t think we should be afraid of that.”

Finally, from the floor, resident Mitzie Miller asked for clarity from Home, Inc. on its plan to advertise the apartments, which she said must comply with federal Fair Housing standards. She also stated that information on who may qualify for an apartment has been lacking.

“The educational component of this has not been fairly shared with our seniors,” Miller said.
Other items from Council’s Jan. 7 agenda will be covered in next week’s News.


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