Village Council Regular Meeting | Tuesday, Jan. 18
- Published: January 31, 2022
No Oberer vote
The decision to rezone 52.6 acres of property in the southern reaches of the village for a proposed development once again came before Village Council at its Jan. 18 regular meeting, held virtually via Zoom.
Council members gave a first reading to an ordinance to redesignate the property as a planned unit development, or PUD. Miamisburg-based Oberer Land Developers seeks to rezone its privately owned land to accommodate not just single-family homes, but a variety of dwelling units — which is not permissible under the land’s current zoning.
After two hours of discussion and listening to community concerns, Council opted to forego a vote on the legislation’s first reading.
“My philosophy has always been that if Council members don’t feel that they’ve gotten enough information, then we don’t need to have a vote on the first reading,” Council President Brian Housh said.
Council members who could have cast a vote were Housh, Marianne MacQueen, Carmen (Lee) Brown and Lisa Kreeger. Council Vice President Kevin Stokes recused himself from the potential vote, citing a recommendation he received from the Ohio Ethics Commission regarding his home’s close proximity to the proposed development.
This is the second time an ordinance came before Council following Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the PUD on Nov. 9. Council read the initial ordinance at its Dec. 6 meeting, but ultimately decided to table that legislation to provide Council members and villagers the opportunities to ask questions at a subsequent work session and town hall.
Attending this Council meeting were around 30 community members, the majority of whom spoke critically of the PUD proposal during the ordinance’s public hearing. Council also received and filed over 40 letters from villagers before the meeting began. Twenty-seven of those letters were in explicit opposition to the PUD.
The second reading of the ordinance to rezone Oberer’s property will take place at the next regular Village Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m.
Lawson Place closing
Village Manager Josué Salmerón announced that the Village had closed on a deal to purchase the apartment building at 10 Lawson Place on Friday, Jan. 14. Final sale price for the 16-unit apartment was $770,000.
“This is a historic moment because the Council, the administration and the community have taken a very bold move to preserve affordable housing,” he said. “Lawson Place has played a key role in below-market rate rentals for individuals of all backgrounds — in particular African Americans.”
Salmerón added that he and Village staff will continue over the next several weeks to develop a plan for leasing the units, making repairs to the building and continuing to improve the property.
“Things [at Lawson Place] are going to continue as they are,” Salmerón said. “Rents are staying the same right now.”
Adopting ODNR recommendations
Another piece of legislation before Council was an ordinance to adopt flood damage recommendations from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, or ODNR.
According to a memorandum to Council from Zoning Administrator Denise Swinger and Village Solicitor Breanne Parcels, the Village must agree to adopt and administer floodplain management regulations to be eligible to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program offered by FEMA.
Council members voted to approve the legislation and adopt ODNR’s recommendation 5–0.
Broadband pilot project
Following years of work and planning from Village administration, the next steps are being taken to provide Yellow Springs with municipal broadband.
Council voted 5–0 to approve a resolution to establish pricing for a pilot program that the Village intends to roll out later in 2022.
Once the fiber is fully constructed, those who opt into the pilot program will be able to choose between two tiers of internet service: 300 megabits/second, or mbps, for $45/month; or 1,000 mbps for $65/month. The pilot will provide services only to the first 250 locations that opt in on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The goal is that this [pilot] will provide us with some much-needed feedback, so we’ll be able to deliver high-quality internet service to the entire village,” Salmerón said.
Additional coverage on the pilot program will appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of the News.
Settlement with public works director
Council read a resolution to authorize the Village Manager to enter into a settlement agreement and release with Public Works Director Johnnie Burns.
The settlement covers legal fees that Burns incurred as a result of an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation that occurred from 2017 to 2020.
The commission investigated an alleged breach of the Village’s Personnel Policy Manual in 2014, when then-Village Manager Patti Bates contracted Burns’ then-secondary employer, HB Electric, to build a barn on the Village-owned Sutton Farm. Ultimately, the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney declined to pursue a prosecution.
With a 5–0 vote, Village Council agreed to settle with Burns by reimbursing him with $5,430.75 to cover legal expenses, $282.24 for travel to and from the Ohio Ethics Commission in Columbus, and $6,026.80 in paid leave time accrued during the legal battle.
Council member Kreeger announced that she was stepping down as a Council liaison for the quasi-governmental group, the Yellow Springs Development Corporation, or YSDC.
In her stead, village resident and Planning Commission alternate member Gary Zaremsky will serve alongside Council Vice President Stokes as the YSDC’s formal connection to Council.
“I know Gary personally and I know his work ethic, and I look forward to working alongside him,” Stokes said.
This is the second time in the two-year existence of the YSDC that a Council member has left the group. MacQueen resigned as the group’s Council representative in June last year.