Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why I support the FCC plans for the Barr Property

The Planning Commission will meet on Monday night 7 pm, in the Bryan Center; we will once again be considering the Friends Care Community plans for the Barr property on the corner of Xenia and Limestone.

I plan to support this plan, although I agree with many residents that it is not perfect. A resident whom I respect very much left the note at my home, and, after all that I've read about this property and these plans, this writer sums up my feelings very well:

"Dear Lori: I am not savvy about writing or emailing Council or Planning Commission as a group, so I will leave this note at your home.

My request is that we do everything wise and possible to make the Barr property Senior Housing apartments happen. While it is not large enough to accommodate every senior household looking for in-village center living, it is a terrific step forward.

As my 84-year-old mother has had to give up driving she has become homebound and somewhat isolated. Mom lives in a bustling suburban area where going out the door to 'take a walk' is not safe. While she lives in a setting that provides lonely meals and many amenities, she is virtually a prisoner of her home. Family members visit her frequently and take her visiting, shopping and to medical appointments. However, she has lost so much spontineity (sp?--sorry!), independence, and confidence because she cannot simply walk down the street on her own.

I am not a perfectionist. My view is generally what can we do with the resources available within the time frame allowed? Usually the outcome is pretty great. If we focus on the architecture more than the lives of our citizens, we will fail our community.

Make no mistake--this is a selfish interest as well. Though [my partner] and I own a home within 'walking distance' of downtown... we often use our autos to move around the village. If the day comes when we must release use of personal cars or caring for the yard and garden are not practical anymore, I truly hope the options of applying for a residence on the Barr property is an option! When it comes down to it all of our villagers need that option, sooner or later.

It will not only be frustrating but heart breaking if this golden opportunity slips from our grasp."

I am concerned that, particularly in this instance, we not place largely aesthetic concerns, which are of course fairly subjective--and nevertheless important--over the needs of real people for affordable, centrally located housing. Many villagers have spoken to me over the past few weeks, particularly elderly residents for whom this housing is desperately needed, for all the reasons so simply stated in the letter I copied above.

I realize that not all of you agree with this stance, but I must vote my conscience. Nevertheless, I welcome hearing thoughts on all sides of this issue, and hope to see many of you at the meeting on Monday night.

Environmental Commission will be meeting next Thursday; we'll be discussing the "death of the incandescent bulb" and our efforts to speed its demise!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Retreat, next meeting, and the knit-knot tree makes national news...

Hi, all--Just a note that our next Village Council meeting, on Monday, we'll have the first reading on the budget for 2008--7 pm in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Bryan Center.

I'll also be doing my normal "office hours" on Monday, in the Emporium, 12-1:30. Stop by! There's lots to discuss--economic development, the Barr property, and budgeting are all hot topics right now. And I'm sure there are some I'm not aware of.

Tomorrow (3/15) we're mainly discussing group process/dynamics, philosophies of governance, and procedures to help make our meetings productive and efficient at our retreat, from 9-3 pm.

Finally, last Monday the knit-knot tree downtown made national headlines and, according to one reading, helped boost our image as an arts town in a way that a massive expenditure by Las Vegas on an arts project did not. Thanks to Corrine Bayraktaroglu and Nancy Mellon for this lovely addition to our town--it makes me smile every time I pass it.