Sunday, April 13, 2008

Update: Antioch etc., Planning & Environmental Commission

Hi, all--It's been a busy week.

1) Village Council update: Our Village Council meeting, including a long executive session, on Monday went til midnight; we moved forward on three resolutions connected to the improvements to our waste-water treatment facilities, finalized our goals for the year (yes, in April!), briefly discussed the noise ordinance and concerns about Antioch College noise, had special reports on the King Street detention basin, our website & the visioning process, and, during Citizens' Concerns, heard from a lot of you on the Antioch College situation. (Exec. session focused on Village Manager employment agreement).

Re: Antioch crisis: We passed a resolution to write a letter urging the Antioch U Board of Trustees to meet with the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, face-to-face. It's now being reported to us that such a meeting will happen. Meanwhile, we're seeing plans move forward for a non-stop Antioch, regardless, which are intriguing and exciting, as reported by ACCC spokesperson Ellen Borgeson and student Jeanne Kay.

I am concerned about the College campus and what the University's plans are for securing it, given the announced layoffs. I am planning to ask our legal council to look into what rights we as a community have to expect that that campus be secured and maintained by the owners if it should be empty for any length of time. If others of you have thoughts about what our community interest is in regard to local consequences to this potential shuttering of the campus at the heart of our town, please let me know.

The Electric System Task Force will be making its Phase I report at our next meeting on the 21st, and we'll be reviewing our Sidewalk Policy.

2) Planning Commission: The proposed planned unit development of the Barr property (321 Xenia Ave) will again dominate our meeting tomorrow night (Mon. 4/14, 7 pm; Council Chambers). Our PC packet is thus thick this week again with letters and thoughts, positive and negative, about the FCC's plans for this property that lies in a key residential area adjacent to our downtown. Our village manager, Eric Swanson included a note in our packet that the PUD process is a two-step process: we are at this point looking at the "concept" stage, not the final plan: we will vote either that we like the concept (go forward with hammering out the details) or we say that the differences are too great to be worked out. But in either case, the plan will then go to the Village Council.

I have already stated that it is my intention to support this effort, although I recognize the plan is not perfect and that many of my supporters oppose the plan--my stance is posted in the previous entry on this blog. I respect all of you who disagree with my position on this issue. Please know that I am still listening to all the voices and reading the letters of folks on all sides of this public debate. In general, I believe that it's been a healthy debate and that people have engaged in it in good faith. I genuinely thank everyone for making me feel the complexities raised by this plan, which are not trivial.

3) No office hours tomorrow: I have to be at Wittenberg for an interview during my normal office hours, and also have to meet with students who are working on end-of-term projects. So I will be at Wittenberg all day.

4) Environmental Commission: We are also a busy group with several important events planned ahead of Earth Day. First, I hope you all received the notice about "green pricing" in your utility bill this month, which allows you--if you wish--to pay a little extra as a support for building and investing in greener energy resources. We need 10% of us to sign on for the project to fly, so let's do it.

Corrected costs: It costs only $0.015 (1 1/2 cents) per kilowatt hour to add this optional plan to your bill. So, if you use 500 kilowatts of energy, it would only cost you an extra $7.50 that month (that's 500 multiplied by .015--there is a typo on our original flyer). This is a great way to start on a path of greater energy efficiency, to put pressure on yourself to reduce your family's usage--and reduced, more efficient usage is the best source of energy we have. Given that our Council voted against coal, we need to move in this direction, right now.

"Spring Fling" Earth Day Events this coming weekend:

Friday night 7-9: Death to the Incandescent! That's our rallying cry. We'll be stationed at a table on Xenia Ave, in front of Living Green, with information about green pricing, the value of switching your regular bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFL), and how to recycle CFLs responsibly.
Saturday early afternoon 12-2:30: More death to the incandescent! Same as above.
Sat. late afternoon 3:30-5:
FREE Film Screening: "Garbage: The Revolution Starts at Home!" Little Art Theatre! Co-sponsored with other good people/groups. Bring friends! Bring family! Bring people you don't even really like! Here's the film's website:
Immediately following: SHORT Panel discussion of the issues raised by the film, with local experts Bob Brecha, Donna Haller, and others, centering on the plan of starting with the concrete, practical step of turning entirely to the CFL.

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