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Village Council—YSPD awarded new state certification

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In addition to the awarding of several commendations at Council’s March 18 regular meeting, several developments related to local policing were announced.

The Yellow Springs Police Department has earned a provisional certification with the Ohio Police Collaborative for adopting new state standards, according to Village Manager Patti Bates at the meeting. The collaborative’s goal is to strengthen community and police relations.

The provisional certification is based upon the local department having established policies on use of force and hiring practices, according to YSPD Chief Brian Carlson in a later interview. The department has five more areas to pass to achieve the full certifications. 

“We are still in the process of becoming a full member — it takes time,” Carlson said.

The department is currently working toward certification in the areas of bias-free policing and community engagement,  Carlson added. The department previously decided against body cameras and thus would not be seeking certification in that area, Carlson said.

The voluntary statewide standards were developed in 2015 as a recommendation from a governor’s task force. The goal of the collaborative, a panel of law enforcement personnel and citizens, is to work to “improve community-police relations and find solutions to the tensions and concerns between community members and the police that serve them,” according to the group’s website.

In other policing news, Bates announced that Sgt. Joshua Knapp submitted his resignation with the department effective March 31 “to pursue other opportunities,” according to her report.

Sgt. Knapp was hired by the YSPD in November 2013 and was promoted to sergeant in January 2014, according to previous News articles.

YSPD Chief Carlson said the sergeant position will not be filled prior to a planned assessment of the department. Carlson added that Knapp will continue working part-time for the department, while Officer Doug Andrus, who now works part time, may move to a full-time position.

To fill a separate vacancy, the YSPD is currently in the process of hiring a new full-time officer and would likely be announcing the new hire soon, Carlson added.

Finally, Council discussed a proposal from Antioch College graduate and longtime police consultant Bob Wasserman to complete an assessment of the Yellow Springs Police Department. The Village received a formal proposal from Wasserman’s firm, Hillard Heintze, of Chicago, the week prior.

Among the benefits of working with Wasserman, Council members noted, are that he knows the village, having lived here and attended Antioch, and that he is willing to complete the assessment at a discount. Council has budgeted $30,000 for the assessment. Council member Lisa Kreeger also touted Wasserman’s credentials.

“We get the best of both worlds, because he is someone who is internationally recognized and knows the community of Yellow Springs,” she said.

The proposal lays out a 10-week process  to review police policies, evaluate relationships within the department and between the YSPD and the community, review the citizen complaint process and department disciplinary systems, facilitate one or two community forums and interview all PD members and a “range of community members.”

Based upon that work, the firm would develop a set of recommendations to “improve the policing environment in Yellow Springs and increase morale within the Police Department” and produce a report with findings and recommendations, according to the proposal.

The proposal also suggests the formation of a “small, diverse group of village residents” to assist the process.

Council will consider legislation authorizing the expenditure at an upcoming meeting.

In other Council business —

MillWorks rezoning passes first read

There was no discussion as Council passed 4–0 the first reading of an ordinance regarding the MillWorks business park on North Walnut Street.

The new owners of the MillWorks Business Center on North Walnut Street have applied for Planned Unit Development, or PUD, zoning in order to develop artist live-work studio apartments, a hostel and a children’s science museum at the four-acre site, currently zoned I–1 industrial, among other changes.

No Council member spoke to the request and no comments from citizens were aired.

Council will have a public hearing and second and final reading of the ordinance at its next meeting on April 1.

Village Manager search update

Council has narrowed down the potential Village Manager candidates to a final three people, Council member Marianne MacQueen confirmed this week.

The candidates will be announced at Council’s April 1 meeting. Biographies of the candidates and their responses to a series of questions will appear in the April 4 issue of the News.

Candidates will then visit the village on April 9, 10 and 11, with a public forum on Wednesday, April 10, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. in the Bryan Center gym. Childcare will be available and the forum will be followed by an informal meet-and-greet.

Council hopes to decide on the new manager in an executive session on April 15, but will publicly announce the hire at a later date, after the person has accepted the position.

Food forest slated for Xenia Avenue

Planning has begun for a food forest to be planted on Village property, Bates announced. The food forest will cover an area slightly less than one acre on the east side of Xenia Avenue just south of Allen Street.

A grant of $5,000 from the Greene County Parks and Trails has been awarded for the project. The Tree Committee is advising on tree selection and two local Boy Scouts, Peter Skidmore and Zenya Hoff-Miyazaki, will also assist with the project.

Transient guest lodging meeting

Council member Kineta Sanford reported on a meeting the previous week with owners of transient guest lodging establishments in the village. 

The proprietors were consulted on a proposed change to regulations governing short stays in local homes and properties, also commonly known as Airbnbs. The meeting was hosted by the Housing Advisory Board, and 13 people attended. 

Council Vice President Marianne MacQueen, who operates a transient guest lodging establishment at her home, has proposed requiring new transient guest lodging to be owner-occupied. That provision would limit accommodations to those whose lodging is within their home or in an accessory unit on their property.

Council members previously aired concerns about the growth in transient guest lodging affecting the availability and cost of long-term rentals in the village and having negative impacts on neighborhoods.

From the floor, Karen Wintrow, who operates a transient guest lodging establishment at her property, said that she left the meeting with the belief that no one in attendance supported the proposed restrictions. She proposed that Council consider changing transient guest lodging from a permitted to a conditional use, which would require each proprietor to be approved by Planning Commission. That would allow the commission to assess each unique -situation.

Council decided to consider legislation at its next meeting that would change transient guest lodging to a conditional use in the zoning code in order to slow the approval process while other regulations are considered.

Energy-efficiency financing discussed

Brad Rue from law firm Dinsmore & Shohl, presented on the Ohio PACE program, a financing program for making energy-efficiency upgrades and incorporating renewable energy features to new and existing buildings.

According to the website, the program is for “no down payment, extended-term financing” for projects, with payments made through special property assessments rather than conventional loans. According to Rue in his presentation, commercial properties are the main target of the program, as some residential lenders have steered away from allowing the financing.

Rue explained the financing option as a way to pay for energy-efficiency upgrades with money saved from their use. In addition, he said, the assessments stay with the property if it is sold. 

Council heard the presentation at the request of the Greene County Port Authority and an unnamed local business interested in the program.

Spring cleanup set

Villagers may put large household items and other waste that is not typically accepted by Rumpke on their curbs during their regular trash pickup on the week of May 6–10, according to Bates. Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, April 1.


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