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Village Council

Village Council talks housing

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Members of Village Council continued their conversation about housing development on Village-owned property parcels at their most recent meeting Monday, June 5.

The discussion focused on two questions: what is the ideal balance of market-rate versus affordable housing on a given property, and what is the ideal balance of single-family homes versus apartments.

Council member Gavin DeVore Leonard, who is the Council liaison to the Village’s housing committee, said the group was ready to explore some concepts, but wanted to check in with Council before moving forward.

“We want to try to make sure we move as efficiently as possible,” DeVore Leonard said.

Council members Marianne MacQueen and Carmen Brown said they were in favor of moving forward with concepts that are 75% affordable units and 25% market-rate units. Brown reiterated a need for apartments and rental units, a need Brown said was identified by Planning and Zoning Administrator Denise Swinger.

DeVore Leonard said that by determining how much affordable housing Council wanted, the committee could work on finding subsidies and understanding how market-rate housing could subsidize below-market-rate rentals and homes.

“We are trying to figure out how to start making the math work,” DeVore Leonard said. 

Village Manager Josué Salmerón said the committee had engaged Aaron Sorrell, the Dayton-based consultant who worked with the Village on its Comprehensive Land Use Plan, to develop a concept for the Glass Farm. To that, Council President Brian Housh said it may be useful to consider Glass Farm and other Village-owned property, specifically properties near Green Metropolitan housing.

After hearing the thoughts of Brown, Housh and MacQueen, DeVore Leonard said he would reach out to Council Vice President Kevin Stokes, who was absent from the meeting, to hear his views on housing.

Brown reiterated that Council has been pushing for affordable housing, and that it would be good to explore mixed-income housing.

“If we are going to be about the business of affordability, we need to figure out how to do that,” Brown said.

In other Council Business, June 5:

Street Fair

Council members approved two measures in anticipation of the Street Fair, which is set for  June 10. The first measure was a resolution committing $30,000 in support from the Village to cover the labor costs the Village incurs while setting up and policing the events. The donation covers both Street Fair events: $15,000 for summer Street Fair  and $15,000 for fall Street Fair, which will take place Oct. 14.

The second piece of legislation was a resolution allowing the village manager to create memorandums of understanding with area law enforcement agencies for additional services needed to accommodate the large Street Fair crowd. According to Village Manager Salmerón, the event is typically policed by the Yellow Springs Police Department, or YSPD, and Ohio State Highway Patrol, but state officers were not available. In their stead, Salmerón said Jamestown and Cedarville have committed to making officers available in addition to the seven officers from YSPD who are staffing the event. In response to a question from Council member MacQueen, Salmerón said the extra cost would be incurred by Street Fair organizers, but the Village would facilitate payment between municipalities.

Renewable energy credits

Council heard a first reading of an ordinance that would allow the village manager to sell and reinvest in renewable energy credits, or RECs. According to the ordinance, the proceeds from these sales would be invested in the electric enterprise or used to purchase Green-e RECs, or RECs that meet the highest industry standards. When RECs are sold, 85% of the proceeds will go into the electric operations fund, bolstering the fund so the Village can carry out electric infrastructure projects to maintain and upgrade the systems. The remaining 15% of the sales will be invested in municipal projects that will lower greenhouse gas emissions and address equity issues amongst utility customers. A second reading of the ordinance will occur at Council’s June 20 meeting.

Micro-mobility devices

Council decided to revisit an ordinance limiting the use of micro-mobility devices, such as electric scooters, on downtown sidewalks. The ordinance, which updates the language and adds a section to an existing chapter of the Village’s ordinances, allows micro-mobility devices and electric bicycles on the bike path.

Council President Brian Housh expressed concerns about the language of the ordinance, saying he wanted it to extend limits to skateboards, skates and other wheeled devices. Village Solicitor Amy Blankenship said additional language would be needed to disallow those devices.

In addition to clarifying questions from Council, this reporter asked about penalties for younger children, whose presence on streets may be a safety concern. Housh said he would follow-up about any unintended consequences of the ordinance as written. Council agreed to revise the ordinance and read it as an emergency reading at the June 20 meeting.

Second quarter budget supplemental

Council approved a $291,413.51 second quarter supplemental to the 2023 budget. Included were several transfers of funds, including $392,970.82 from the public safety wage fund to the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA,  fund. These transfers allow wages and other bills to be paid out of the funds; and in the case of the ARPA fund, spend down monies so the fund can be closed out.

According to Finance Director Amy Kemper, many of the requests are expenditures made possible by grants given to the Village Mediation Program and the Yellow Springs Police Department. The measure, read as an emergency, will not receive a second reading.

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