2021 Yellow Springs News Merchandise
Sep
26
2021
Village Council

Village Council Regular Meeting

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Village goals discussed

At its regular meeting on March 1, Village Council continued to discuss the annual goals for the Village. Formerly “Village Council” goals, Council President Brian Housh said they are now calling them “Village goals” as they apply to the municipality as a whole.

“The focus was on making sure there is alignment across the local government,” he said.

The draft goals include the following: provide affordable community, support residential development, repair and maintain infrastructure, achieve a balanced budget, promote sustainable growth, ensure social justice, facilitate active transportation, deepen environmental resiliency and maintain village vitality.

Council Vice President MacQueen put forth additional proposals for a climate action/sustainable plan for the village and municipal land management. She also said the Village should make decisions about how to utilize sections of the Glass Farm and remaining land on Cemetery Street, potentially for affordable housing.

Council Member Laura  Curliss emphasized the need for a new master Village parks plan. She and Village Manager Josué Salmerón went back and forth about whether or not the Glass Farm is suitable for development or if it contains wetlands. Council Member Kevin Stokes asked whether previous studies have looked at the Glass Farm as a development opportunity or a natural resource.

Council will continue the discussion at a future meeting.

YSDC reviewed

Yellow Springs Development Corporation voting members and Council members Lisa Kreeger and MacQueen shared an update with Council on the group’s activities in its first year of operation. The quasi-governmental organization has representation from the Village, township and schools, along with other local organizations.

Kreeger called the group a “truly collaborative economic development entity” that played a key role in supporting businesses and community members during the pandemic. Other activities involved selling the old Miami Township Fire Station to Dave Chappelle’s company for a comedy club and working with the local schools and Antioch College on finding a space on the college campus for a K–12 facility, she noted.

MacQueen suggested that the YSDC look at ways to promote a diverse economy made up of many small companies and to support entrepreneurship in the village.

In response to a question from MacQueen about what Council would like to see the group focus on, Council member Kevin Stokes said he appreciated the effort toward an “Education Corridor” on Antioch’s campus involving the local school district. He also wished that the criteria used to select a buyer for the fire station were shared more widely with the community, and wanted to see what was needed for a more “business-friendly environment” in town.

Later in the week, YS Schools Superintendent Terri Holden said that the district was no longer considering the Antioch campus as a site for a new school facility.

Council member Laura Curliss said the village needs more professional office space and moderate-income apartments and condominiums. Council President Brian Housh suggested the group add a formal “citizens concerns” section on its agenda to get more public involvement.

Legislation passed

• Council passed the second reading of an ordinance to purchase three acres of land from Yellow Springs Schools’ East Enon Road property for a bike path to the Agraria Center for Regenerative Agriculture. The land is located on the southern edge of the property and will cost $60,000. Community Solutions, which runs Agraria, will pay half of the purchase price back over 15 years. Council member Laura Curliss recused herself from the discussion and vote.

• Council unanimously passed a resolution designating Council clerk Judy Kintner as their designee to receive public records training from the state on their behalf. Village officials acknowledged that completing the training is important in order to receive a “clean audit.”

Other items

• Village Manager Josué Salmerón shared a draft police engagement survey with Council. The surveys will be aimed at garnering feedback from those who have had an interaction with local police and can be completed online using a QR code. Salmerón said if the effort is successful, surveys will be expanded to include other government services. The initiative came out of the Justice System Collaborative Committee.

• Village investment accounts made $74,329 between January 2020 and March 2021, Village Treasurer Judy Kintner reported. The amount is less than in recent years due to the pandemic’s impacts on the economy, Kintner noted. The Village has just over $10 million invested.

• Council continued to discuss whether to make Juneteenth, held annually on June 19, an official paid holiday for municipal employees, but came to no decision. Previously, Council declared it a holiday here. Village staff currently have 10 paid holidays.

• Council members shared additional concerns regarding a proposed utility-scale solar project outside of Yellow Springs. Village Solicitor Breanne Parcels shared figures showing public entities that have officially “intervened” in the process spent between $20,000 and $58,000 on outside legal counsel. MacQueen said she thought the Village should support Miami Township through the process but not officially intervene.

Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, March 15, at 7 p.m., via Zoom: zoom.us/j/
3555457065.

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