Sunday, November 30, 2008

Michael Shuman, Historic Preservation

thanks toJafabrit's blog for the wonderful image of one of the Keith's Alley murals I love.

Dear People: Happy holidays--I hope you all had a warm and friend-filled Thanksgiving. I am taking my son Andrew back to college today, so I won't be in my 'office'. Instead I will be in the Emporium on SUNDAY, from 12-1; I'd be happy to hear your concerns.

Our agenda schedule for this Monday is fairly light, but we will be discussing the lecture and workshop with Michael Shuman currently scheduled for mid January, 16th-18th that the village is co-sponsoring with the Smart Growth Task Force.

Shuman is a leader in the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. In the wake of the first waves of the current financial crisis, Shuman has been arguing that congress should expand the Community Reinvestment Act, initially passed in 1977, which "outlawed redlining and forced banks and thrifts to make quarterly reports about the percentage of its lending that went back into their community, especially low and moderate income neighborhoods," which even with scattershot enforcement has led to $1 trillion in local community investment that otherwise wouldn't have happened. He writes a blog called "Small-Mart: Ideas and Tools for Building Local Economies" based on the ideas in his books The Small Mart Revolution and Going Local.

He'll be providing a "leakage analysis" for the village, i.e., helping us determine where money is leaving the local economy and to get ideas about what kinds of businesses could keep more dollars local. If you are interested in participating in his weekend workshop or sending an organizational representative, please contact me or any other Village Council rep, or Dimi Reber of the Smart-Growth Task Force.

First, we will attend to two very brief items of legislation
  • An Employment Agreement for Deborah Benning, our Clerk of Council, who continues to do excellent work for the village, bringing as she does a wealth of experience and love for the community to her job, and
  • A resolution updating our US Bank account signatures, so that Mark Cundiff, our new manager, can do his job conducting village business.
After that, we will discuss:
  • The status of our hiring an engineering design consultant for the infrastructure for the Center for Business and Education (i.e., the Antioch-McGregor building site), and
  • the Shuman visit, and
  • a request from the Human Rights Commission that the AACW be provided a small amount of funds related to expenses arising from this year's blues fest (around $600), and 
  • the Manager's Report will focus on Health Insurance coverage for Village employees.
HEADS UP: NEXT Monday, December 8, during the Planning Commission meeting, Village Council and Planning Commission are holding a joint special presentation from Glenn Harper (Antioch College alum) of the State Historic Preservation Society on the possibilities of historic preservation in our village. It will be fairly short, but there will be plenty of time for questions. Please attend!

His presentation is intended to be educational for the village, which has lost a number of irreplaceable historic structures over the last several years. He will also discuss possibilities for flexibility in historical preservation given that as a community we also value variety, innovation, accessibility, and new environmental design and construction practices.

Citizens who would like to come to the meeting well informed are encouraged to peruse the Ohio Historic Preservation Office's website ( ), particularly the documents linked under "Preservation in Your Town," which includes model ordinances, information on tax incentives and funding sources, and why planning should include attention to historic preservation.

May you feel both peace and joy during these hectic weeks,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Visioning, Antioch Co. Problems, Cell Phone Tower, and Bikeways

...the iconic yellow spring, from

Dear People: I am going to be in my office hours a little early today, from 11:30 (when I'm scheduled to speak with a villager) to about 12:30, because I am heading over to Dayton for the local "No H8"/anti-proposition 8 protests that are going on all over the country for GLBTQ rights. 

Our next Village Council meeting is at 7 pm Monday 17th, at the Bryan Center. (If I weren't at this meeting, however, I'd be going to hear writer Sherman Alexie speak at Wittenberg !)

Included in the packet this week is correspondence concerning: Michael Shuman's visit (proposed by the Smart Growth group, who is asking for funds to support it); the bankruptcy filing of the Antioch Company and a YSHS student's concern that we do more, as a village, in regard to the peak oil crisis. I suspect that there will be some discussion of these letters.

(In happier news, Risa Grimes of the Non-Stop institute reported two days ago that they have raised $140,075.57 - $5,000 over the goal of $135,000 - and did it 2.5 weeks earlier than planned! Good work!)

LEGISLATION: We'll discuss three resolutions regarding:
  • Vernay Labs is generously donating one of its generators to the Village; we'll use it as a standby for our water treatment plant/wellfield.
  • The new clarifier line project at the Wastewater Treatment plant. This is a fairly low cost project, at $62,400, but our advisers believe it may mitigate up to 90% of our current EPA violations. This resolution awards the work contract to Levan's Excavating.
  • Changing John Weithofer's status, as of 11/17 to a "management consultant" through the end of the month (11/28), so that he will be able to provide transition assistance to our new village manager, Mark Cundiff. After that time, we plan to authorize an as-needed consulting agreement with Mr. Weithofer. 
  • We'll be getting an update regarding Verizon's plans to put up a cell phone tower on Village property (the Bryan Center grounds) and probably discussing the proposed location (behind the building). 
  • We'll be reviewing the Clerk of Council's annual report.
  • And, the major item of discussing for the night, we'll be discussing the revised "Request for Proposals" (RFP) that the Visioning Task Force has crafted, with some (somewhat rushed) input from Council and from our village lawyer, John Chambers. 
  • A request for proposals is a formal document that is sent to contractors who will, inthis case, tell us what they could do, in terms of helping us come together plan for the future. The revised RFP crafted by our lawyer asks for specific outcomes like a new zoning plan, help with strategies for retaining diversity, and ideas for investing in economic development.
  • The link takes you to a page where you can download .pdf files of the original RFP, the suggestions Judith and I made, and the revised version created by our lawyer. If you are short of time, I'd read the link "Recommended revisions by village solicitor (clean)" as I believe that will form the basis of our discussion (it's about a 7 page document, but doesn't take that long to read through).
  • This seems like a very important discussion: I don't know how much it's on your radar screen, but if you care about the future of our village, and how we ought to proceed, we need to hear from you--both if you are supportive of visioning or skeptical about it (and I have heard from several of you who are very skeptical about this.) Please come!
  • MVRPC Comprehensive Local-Regional Bikeways Plan (Karen Wintrow recommends reading the executive summary of this long document that you can link to from that website). This plan has been under development for some time. I believe that some YS bikers would like to see more of a focus on "share the roads" biking rather than the rail-trails that are a little more emphasized in the region. 
  • On page 10, there's a map of existing and proposed bikeways: YS has 2 rural bikeways proposed for the Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road between YS and Fairborn as a top priority project. This is detailed on page 34-35 of the document.
  • Hwy 343 is a lower priority project; our "Safe Routes to Schools" plan for walkers and bikers is also marked on the pg. 10 map in blue.
That's about it! Have a good week!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Late posting...this week's planning comm/env. comm.

Dear People: I was busy on Sat. morning and never got this written nor attended my office hours. Sorry about the delay. The Planning Commission will meet on Mon at 7 pm* in the Bryan Center, to discuss two agenda items:

1) The Library Alley: Woolpert consultants have looked at the alley behind our library that access the library parking lot. They suggest
  • Making it one-way (enter only from Limestone and exit only from Davis St.)
  • If possible, straightening and paving it.
2) The Comprehensive Plan, focusing on the 4th part which we've been working on revising, and the comp plan as a whole and our future plans for it.

Our next EC meeting will be a trip to CEMEX. Good news: Cemex has withdrawn its request to burn tires!

The bad news is that they are still our biggest polluter, and we want to know more about the process they are using for burning petroleum coke and coal in that plant--and what, if anything, can be done to improve the situation.

Our next Village Council meeting will be on the 17th. We'll be discussing the RFP that the Visioning Task-Force has created. I am very concerned that this process work, and would urge people to attend, if possible. I will have more info closer to the date.

*This was sent as an email to my mailing list on Sunday 11/9. Please let me know if you'd like to be added to that mailing list.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Manager Contract, Visioning/Strategic Planning

Dear People: I'll be in my office hour today, 12-1, Emporium. It's been a tremendously busy month, but I'm pleased to say that we have now reached a tentative contract with our new village manager, Mark Cundiff, which we'll vote on Monday evening. (7 pm, second floor of the Bryan Ctr.)

I feel very solid about this decision, particularly after having heard evaluations of his work--the responses were uniformly extremely strong in all areas: from his integrity, skills at managing people, budgets, employees to his ability to work with the public, to his dedication to public service, and his willingness and ability to learn new skills. Mark has worked in a variety of areas in municipal government and has an excellent support network from other municipal managers.

I know that Mark is excited to do the work, and I hope everyone will give him a warm welcome.

I want to thank those of you who attended the three fora and provided feedback on the candidates, and to those who did lunch interviews with the candidates and provided feedback to us on our request. I also would be happy to hear feedback on our process; I know that we did things differently this time, and that can feel confusing or frustrating. Please feel free to speak to me about any of your thoughts.

Agenda items for Monday: Legislation:

  • 2 ORDINANCES: 1)  emergency supplemental funding for storm damage/declare an emergency (Ohio has been declared a disaster area by the President from the September 14th wind storm. This declaration makes local governments eligible for 75% federal reimbursement for storm related expenses); and  2) another ordinance, also as an emergency, for the submittal of loan request from the Ohio Water Development Authority for the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade
  • 1 RESOLUTION: Employment agreement for the Village Manager.

Old Business: A Status Report on the Revolving Loan Fund and the RFP from the Visioning Group:

The Visioning Task Force has asked us to approve a request for proposals that their group has created. We will be discussing this RFP at our next meeting. I have some concerns about it, related especially to its having become a joint village and township process, to the budget, and also to the goals and ownership of the process and final products. My goal is to make sure that our money is well spent on a process that has the greatest chance of providing a useful product for us as a village--something that won't get left on a shelf but that helps us directly address our most real and pressing concerns.

I hope that those of you with an interest in this process will attend this meeting.

See you downtown,