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Planning Commission— Home approved for classes

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A conditional use application submitted by Theodora Stephan to build a 4,000-square-foot single-family dwelling with a large commercial kitchen for culinary classes and special dinner events was approved by the Village Planning Commission at its May 11 meeting.

In addition to the culinary classes, Stephan’s plans include the establishment of edible gardens based in permaculture practices at the East Center College Street property. At the meeting, Stephan shared her plans, which she said are still in the conceptual phase.

“I am told that the property itself was a farm, that it never had a structure on it,” she said. “I plan to put a little food forest in permaculture gardening style and focus on cherry trees and completely edible gardens.”

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The plans are for culinary classes to be held preferably on Fridays, but occasionally on Saturdays, along with some pop-up special events 12–16 times a year. Stephan, who is moving back into the community, is purchasing the 0.8-acre lot from Antioch College. She obtained permission from the school to submit a conditional use application to the commission.

Stephan expressed her excitement about returning to the community and the culinary plans she has for the property.

“I am thrilled to be in the center of town with my primary residence, and I wanted to continue the culinary aspect of my career,” she said. “Therein lies the opportunity to build out the commercial kitchen space, and to have a place where people can gather.”

The property is zoned E-1, which is in the Educational Institution District. The district was created to “support the needs of the post-secondary educational institutions within the Village.” This means the land can be developed for “commercial schools and studios including art, dance, martial arts, and music.” Zoning also allows for the “development of single-family homes, and greenhouse/nurseries (not including retail sales).”

Culinary classes will be open to the public. When asked if her classes would be connected in any way to Antioch College, Stephan said, “that while the classes are not intended for Antioch College, they could be.”

According to Zoning Administrator Denise Swinger, “commercial classroom activities, the greenhouse and gardens are permitted uses in the educational district, are already approved and no commission [approval] action is necessary.” However, plans for single-family dwellings must be approved by the commission.

Also, educational zoning areas do not allow for the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and Stephan wants to build housing for visiting chefs coming in to teach classes. She plans to return to the commission in either June or July, seeking approval of a lot split to create a minor subdivision and rezoning to make the western part of the property that meets Xenia Avenue R-C or High Density Residential District. Stephan may then build a dwelling that could house visiting chefs, which is allowed in R-C zoning districts. She may also have interest in building a duplex under R-C zoning, which is automatically permitted, according to Swinger. Off-street parking pertaining to classes will also be considered in a future application process. The commission unanimously approved Stephan’s conditional use application for a single-family dwelling with the condition that the applicant be required to submit a storm water mitigation and parking plan when seeking additional zoning.

TGLs, Cresco Labs expansion plans

Other commission business included four transient guest lodging conditional use applications. The applications received increased scrutiny by some members of the commission and in some instances, neighbors responding with concerns or in outright opposition to the applications. Looming in the background of the meeting was a recently approved Village ordinance limiting TGLs to those where the operator lives. It is set to take effect June 3.

A site plan review was presented to the commission by Cresco Labs. The company wants to expand its medical marijuana cultivation and processing plant located just outside of Yellow Springs at 1130 Springs Way. According to the application, “Cresco is requesting site plan review approval for a five-year master plan to allow for a phased expansion of their existing medical marijuana cultivation and processing facility.” Cresco’s presentation to the commission was extensive. The expansion could mean adding over 100 jobs to the local economy. 

The Village Planning Commission members in attendance included voting members Frank Doden, chair; Stephen Green; Sarah Amend; Susan Stiles; Laura Curliss, Council liaison. Others present were Matthew Kirk, alternate; Gary Zaremsky, alternate;  and Lisa Kreeger, Council alternate. The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for June 15.

The News will report on the Cresco Labs expansion efforts and the TGL conditional use approval process in a future issue.


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