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Oct
18
2021
Miami Township

Yellow Springs resident and comedian Dave Chappelle, who hosted a series of shows during summer 2020 and spring 2021 at the Wirrig family-owned pavilion just north of the Village, would like to present four additional performances there in October. Because a temporary use zoning variance allowing the previous shows has expired, the Miami Township Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the new request in a hearing Thursday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m., in the community meeting room at the Miami Township firehouse. (‘8:46’ Screenshot, Youtube)

Dave Chappelle seeks four more Wirrig shows

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A request concerning locally based comedian Dave Chappelle was among several zoning-related matters discussed during the most recent meeting of the Miami Township Trustees on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

During his monthly report to the Trustees, Zoning Inspector Richard Zopf reported that the Township Board of Zoning Appeals, or BZA, has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday, Sept. 23, to consider an application from Steve Wirrig to allow four new shows by Chappelle at the Wirrig family’s pavilion on property they own just north of the village.

Chappelle, a popular, award-winning entertainer, previously presented a series of outdoor performances at the pavilion throughout the summer of 2020, amid the pandemic lockdown, until COVID-19 exposure in his inner circle prompted an earlier-than-planned seasonal end in late September. Shows resumed temporarily this past spring until other traditional performance venues began reopening, and the outdoor space was no longer needed.

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Wirrig had received a temporary use variance from the BZA to allow the shows, under restricted conditions, through Aug. 6 this summer, unless indoor venues became available. According to Zopf, a variance is required there because the shows are a commercial activity, and the land is zoned for agricultural use.

Wirrig’s new request specifies Sept. 30 to Oct. 31 as the time period for the proposed additional performances. The property, which has an entrance off Meredith Road, has an official address of 4866 U.S. 68.

Chappelle won an Emmy Award — his fifth — this past Sunday for a guest host appearance last fall on “Saturday Night Live,” where his opening monologue included remarks taking aim at neighbors of the pavilion who had expressed concerns last year about noise and traffic associated with the nighttime shows.

The public hearing Sept. 23 will take place in person in the meeting room at the new firehouse, located at the corner of East Herman Street and Xenia Avenue, beginning at 7 p.m. Room capacity is currently set at 34, and Zopf said that seating will be “first-come, first-served.”

Anticipating a full house, Zopf said he consulted with Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Haller, who is the Township’s counsel, about whether the five-member zoning appeals board should seek a larger venue for the hearing. He said Haller advised that such accommodation is not necessary, as the proceedings are considered quasi-judicial.

A judge doesn’t reschedule a trial to another location if the courtroom is full, Zopf said Haller explained.

Zopf added that interested parties do not need to be present to testify, but can submit a written statement in advance to be part of the record. Written testimony should be mailed to Zopf at the Miami Township Trustees office, 101 E. Herman St., or emailed to rbzopf@gmail.com.

In other zoning matters, the trustees conducted a public hearing to consider changing the zoning of the property at 520 E. Hyde Road from business to residential.

The property, located along the southeast corner of East Enon Road, is not used as a business and abuts the Willow Fields residential enclave, according to Zopf. He said that the owners want to put an addition on their house, but can’t under the current zoning designation.

“This is almost a formality,” Zopf said of the hearing, noting that the Township and the County zoning boards both had considered and recommended the change.

Opening the matter up for public comment, the trustees heard only from township resident Jenifer Adams, who said she thought changing the zoning was “a smart decision,” because residential zoning would be in line with how the property is being used and with the properties beside it.

Two neighbors had come to the start of the trustees meeting after receiving a notice about the public hearing, but left before the actual hearing, saying they had no issue with the proposed change once they learned the particulars.

Trustee Chris Mucher expressed irritation that the zoning commission’s recommendation had not been put in writing.

Zopf said he pushed the timing of the hearing ahead of securing a formal written statement so that the homeowners could begin work on their proposed addition while the weather was still amenable, adding that he would “make a stronger effort” in the future.

The trustees unanimously approved the zoning change.

While on the subject of zoning, Trustee Chair Don Hollister asked Zopf if there were any pending actions concerning Community Solutions’ Agraria farm property on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road.

The nonprofit had made several agritourism-related requests this summer for various activities, two of which — rental of the barn for community events and rental of an office meeting room — were taken to the BZA after being turned down by Zopf as not meeting the definition of agritourism. The BZA hearing in August upheld Zopf’s decision concerning the barn, while allowing the group to rent out the meeting room for a maximum of 12 times a year.
Zopf said that nothing is pending, but there may be actions in the future.

“Agraria has many activities, some are within zoning code, some are not,” Zopf said. “When something is as public as Agraria is, it’s awkward when zoning is ignored. I have repeatedly asked that any time you start a new activity, you talk to me about it. … I do not get any cooperation from Agraria in terms of planning.”

Zopf said a challenge for him is that “Agraria is incredibly popular among participants, but not incredibly popular among the neighbors, and that’s who I work for.”

Hollister also asked whether the nonprofit was moving forward with a proposed commercial compost operation.

Zopf said that state licensure is needed, and that he had no issue with it.

“Compost is not one of the things that’s spelled out as agricultural, but it’s obviously the result,” he said. “The issue is whether they’re selling compost. In my mind it would still count as agricultural use.”

In other Township business Sept. 8:

Trustees approved an increase in pay rates for Miami Township Fire-Rescue department employees.

The action followed recent losses of personnel to other area departments that pay more.
Presented with a proposal by MTFR Chief Colin Altman, Hollister said he would like to see cost projections for the next year or two to get a better understanding of how much money will be needed and where it will come from.

Trustee Chris Mucher said he didn’t think an analysis was necessary, as ongoing vacancies were “an emergency.” He also said the Township had enough money that could be reallocated from various funds.

Trustee Mark Crockett agreed with Mucher, and Hollister acquiesced.

“I hear two of my colleagues saying, ‘Do it now,’” he noted.

Mucher moved that the pay rates for new hires be set at $7 per hour over the current amounts, raising them to $19.50 per hour for a part-time paramedic, $20.50 per hour for a part-time firefighter/paramedic and between $22.50 and $24.50, depending on qualifications, for a full-time fire lieutenant/paramedic. The new pay rates are slightly higher than the average regional rates for paramedics and firefighters and comparable for a fire lieutenant/paramedic. In addition, the wages of current paid staff will be adjusted accordingly. Approval was unanimous.

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