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Village Council

Council rezones MillWorks

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After several months of debate in Council chambers over a proposed zoning change at the MillWorks industrial park, Council unanimously passed legislation to rezone the property on Monday, April 1.

Jessica Yamamoto and Antonio Molina, who purchased the four-acre I–1 industrial site on North Walnut Street last fall, had applied for Planned Unit Development, or PUD, zoning in order to develop artist live-work studio apartments, a hostel, community kitchens, “maker spaces” and a children’s science museum, among other changes to the property.

No comments from Council or citizens were offered ahead of the vote, which Council President Brian Housh said was because Council had gone in depth on the issue in prior meetings. 

In addition, Housh explained, Council earlier this month resolved a Planning Commission stalemate over the impact of the zoning change on the health and welfare of the community.

“We ultimately ended up agreeing it was fine in terms of health and welfare,” Housh said of Council’s decision.

In Planning Commission and Council meetings earlier this year, citizens raised various concerns about the proposal, including increased noise, traffic and stormwater runoff and the possible loss of jobs and municipal revenue from insect-based feed producer EnviroFlight, whose lease will not be renewed as part of the new plan.

Supporters have highlighted property improvements such as a paved parking lot and renovated buildings, the site as a destination for tourists and villagers, opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs and an expansion of Yellow Springs Brewery.

Village staff has consistently recommended that Council accept the zoning change.

Eight conditions were previously added to the zoning approval. One of the conditions is to remove, at the owners’ request, a restriction that allows no more than 30 percent of a tenant’s total space to be used for retail sales, which would allow the brewery to expand its taproom and artists to sell their wares in their studios.

Council also requested studies related to traffic safety, noise impact, stormwater management; asked for mitigation screening along neighboring properties; allowed fewer parking spaces than required, and mandated that three of the six apartments be permanently affordable for those at 80 percent or less of area median income. A final condition restricts retail shops and stores at the site, except if the goods are produced onsite.

MillWorks must submit a final development plan to Planning Commission within the year and, if approved, has another year to begin construction. According to Village Planning and Zoning Administrator Denise Swinger, Council will not weigh in on that final plan.

Other items from Council’s April 1 meeting will be covered in next week’s News.


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