Sunday, July 20, 2008

Barr Property Conditions, Visioning Group Update, and the EC's CEMEX/tire burn forum 8/25

Dear People: Village Council will be meeting at 7 pm in the Bryan Center on Monday, July 21. The Environmental Commission will meet on Thursday, July 24, 7pm, Bryan Center Rooms A&B.

The main agenda items for the VC meeting are two resolutions
  • to hire Don Vermillion to assist us with our village manager search and 
  • to set official conditions on the Friends Care housing unit at the Barr Property. 
We were introduced to Don Vermillion at our last Village Council meeting, when he presented a very brief overview of his approach to helping with these searches, and provided references to other local municipalities that have used his services. In response to a question as to why his rates were so low, Don explained that in a way his work for the local public good is "subsidized" by his position, focused on public projects, at the Fitz Center of the University of Dayton. He comes highly recommended by our interim manager, John Weithofer.

We should be able to quickly move on to setting the conditions on the Barr Property. I know that many of you may have a direct interest in reading these, and unfortunately there are 25 and they are fairly long and wide ranging--and I don't have an electronic copy to link to. 14 of them were suggested by Emi Randall, of Woolpert Services: Planning and Design, who has been hired as a project manager for this project.

I will hit only the highlights, from my perspective. The original conditions suggested by the Planning Commission included things like
  • Requiring the amenities included in the Friends Care proposal: green roof structure, pervious pavement, secure bike parking, energy star appliances, alternative energy (e.g. geothermal "to the extent financially feasible"), etc.
  • Retaining the requirements for senior housing status
  • "The developer shall make every effort to facilitate the relocation of the Barr house." This condition stipulates "at least" a 3-month timeframe in which the developer solicits proposals for relocation, after which time the structure may be removed "using a salvage process."
the added suggested conditions include things like:
  • "The Final Development Plan must show preliminary storm water run-off calculations, conceptual surface and sub-surface drainage as well as detention and discharge plans," to be approved by village engineer. 
  • The engineer and/or village administration must also approve things like the plan for hooking into water service, sanitary sewer, storm drainage, a "Site Amenities Plan" with exact locations of everything including things like trash receptacles, open space, a "photometric plan" relating to the light emitted from every fixture, a plan for soil erosion and sediment control during construction, renderings of signage, "landscape plan that shows the location, number, and species of plants to be planted and trees to be preserved," etc.
  • Approval by the Police and Fire chiefs for emergency response access and fire codes.
  • A requirement to remove the chain link fence.
  • "No mechanical equipment or dumpsters should be visible from either Limestone St. or Xenia Ave and must be screened from adjacent property owners. These items must be screened through the use of plant material or decorative wall or fence materials."
  • "The developer shall employ architectural techniques to better integrate the proposed building into the surrounding Historic District through the use of exterior features, heights, appearance, color, and texture of the materials of exterior construction that are congruous and in harmony with those of the restored historical structures within the contiguous Historic District. The final architectural plans for exterior materials must be approved administratively. To aid in illustration, the developer shall provide architectural renderings with building materials and colors specified, or material samples for the exterior finishes."
The Visioning Group has also prepared a timetable for their work, adjusted to work with our process of hiring a Village Manager.

The Village Manager will then offer his update on various items of concern, including our response to a citizen's frustration about faulty sewer work that led to damage to his home, the work of Emi Randall and Brad Schwab of Woolpert Planning/Services, the Village Paving Program of 2008, the Advertisement for the Village Manager position.

The Environmental Commission is tentatively scheduling a forum on the CEMEX Tire Burning issue on August 28. We are in the process of inviting representatives from the Greene Environmental Coalition, CEMEX, the EPA and the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency, and possibly one or two other interested groups. A representative from Village Mediation will moderate the event. We will spend a good amount of time at our next meeting working on an effective structure for this forum, which we hope will be fair, respectful, and educational for all.

Final note: I've been reading a book on effective teaching this week, by a guy named Robert Boice. He advocates moderation, above all, holding back, reflectively, rather than rushing into a project with guns ablazing in the face of a rapidly approaching deadline, claiming that an "active waiting" approach is actually a more effective way to get things done, and done well. 

He also recommends approaching the vital tasks of our lives with playfulness and a certain level of detachment. He quotes a devastating aphorism from writer Stephen North, "The worse the writer, the greater the attachment to the writing." And explains, "This maxim refers to struggling writers who get too invested in their work to see alternatives or to listen to criticism, who refuse to revise or deviate from original plans, who communicate in insensitive ways. You can see how the same principle applies to teaching."

After 20 years, I'm still learning how to be a good teacher, by a whole lot of trial and a whole lot of error. And I'm using the same method for serving on Council. I'll be taking a reflective pause next week, and won't be sending a note (or posting to my blog). But I'm always open to hearing your constructive ideas for my work and the good of the village.


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