Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Delayed post--sorry! Village Council Mtg 7/20

Dear People! I must confess I've been on a bit of a summer schedule--office hours have been very sporadic and my updates are coming across your electronic desktops pretty late. The school year actually forces me to be more on top of things! So, please accept my apologies and look forward to late August.

So, tonight's meeting will actually begin with an executive session at 6 pm, regarding pending litigation, which may result in a new resolution for our discussion and vote.

feature several pieces of official LEGISLATION:


1) Second reading of the Alley Vacation ordinance (between 409 & 415 N. High St.)
2) 1st reading of Supplemental Appropriations
3) 1st reading of Salary Increase for Council (up to $4000/year)
4) 1st reading of Salary Increase for Mayor (up to $4400/year)

Contract with ACP for Visioning/ Planning process.

After Citizens Concerns, we'll discuss...

1) Cell Tower: Plans to lease a small portion of land, in the back of the Bryan Center lot (NW corner: there would be a service road and a small building between the tower and the skate park), to Verizon for a cell phone tower. There should be clear slides showing how this would look (we hope--it's what we asked for), and our village manager has consulted with an engineer about changes to the site that may be necessary, such as moving the swingset closer to the park. There's a brief overview of the issue in the last two pages of this week's packet as posted online.

2) The comprehensive plan: If you have read the paper, you will know that there has been some controversy regarding our discussion of the comprehensive plan, with some Council members arguing that we should not even discuss the Plan. An especial focus of our discussion has been the last two of nine principles that our Planning Commission has articulated for the first time in this version of the plan. These two principles--principles 8 & 9--have to do with where we will direct both new housing developments (principle 8) AND new commercial/business developments (principle 9).

The PC's version directs all development to the "urban service area" as defined by a map that was on the front page of this week's YS News (here's a color version from the online edition), but makes no distinction between the land in that area that falls within current Village borders and that which is outside our current boundaries. Judith has suggested language that says very strongly that we will 1) emphasize infill development and 2) not approve plans for development outside our service area.

Our village solicitor has written a very helpful memo which, unfortunately, is not included in the electronic, online version of the packet, nor do I have an electronic copy. However, let me quote a few salient passages:

'This is one of the most important tasks of a Council as it sets the policy for the Village on many levels. The Plan is not binding, under current Ohio law, on the Village legally (unlike a Township). You have the right to change your minds as new projects come before you, and the courts will treat those changes as de facto amendments to the Comprehensive Plan. However, stating your current policy is helpful to all.

'The language in Principles 8 and 9 is important and, in my opinion, worth every bit of the time and energy you are spending working on it. The essence of most of the issues below lies in potential development that might, per the terms of the language fo the Comprehensive Plan be within the Urban Services Boundary but otuside the Village lmits. That is certainly a potential problem of significance. While it makes great sense to restrict development to the Urban Services Boundary, if such development were to occur outside the Village limits, the Village would become, in essence, a city center with a suburban area surrounding it. The fiscal problems created by such development patterns are well documented. Yet growth is inevitable to some extent if the Vilage and surrounding areas are to remain vibrant. Controlling that growth is the goal here."

He therefore suggests that we look carefully at the language that Mark Cundiff has written that states: "Discourage sprawl by directing new [residential / commercial] development, should it occur, initially to infill sites and areas within the Village corporation boundaries already served by existing infrastructure such as water, sanitary sewer, electric, and streets, and then to those areas within the Village corporation boundaries capable of being served by extensions or public infrastructure. If the new development cannot be accommodated within the Village corporation boundary, then it should be directed to areas within the Urban Service Area as long as there are tools in place so that the Village does not ahve to support such deveopment and that environmentally sensitive areas such as the Jacoby Green Belt are protected from development"

Mark has also written an alteranative, slightly shorter version in his own memo, which will also be available at tonight's meeting.

3) Economic Sustainability Coordinator position. Revised and with much condensed responsibilities.

4) Econ. Sustainability Committee

5) Visioning / Planning Process Steering Committee

6) Blue Ribbon Finance/ Levy. We need to figure out whether we will need to have a new levy on the ballot in 2010.

After standing reports, that should end the discussion.

Thanks for your patience with me during these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer...(a line that takes me back to the local radio station of my youth, KBEW in Blue Earth, Minnesota...where the Green Giant looms above the trees, marking the canning factory where my mom and my sisters worked, from time to time. A noisy, sticky job.)


Thursday, July 9, 2009

EC tonight: TLT Local Foods Meeting

Dear People: The Environmental Commission will be meeting at the meeting sponsored by the Tecumseh Land Trust, explained in a letter from Krista Magaw, below:

"As food safety concerns and transportation costs rise, local farmers markets are starting and expanding all across the country. Agriculture is Ohio’s #1 industry -- Ohioans spend $37 billion on food annually. Much of our food expenditures, however, goes to growers, processors, and wholesalers in other states. In contrast, every dollar spent on local food stays in the area, circulating four to seven times through the local economy. Our state’s economy can greatly benefit by enhancing the local food markets and networks that currently exist, while exploring new markets and products to help our economy grow.

To help meet the increasing demand for and production of local food, Governor Strickland created the Food Policy Council within the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The Council’s mission is to support local food systems and help buyers and sellers of local food connect. The Council’s Coordinator, Amalie Lipstreu has been traveling around the state holding community meetings to discuss local food systems. Tecumseh Land Trust is working with ODA and Ms. Lipstreu to host a local foods listening session in Yellow Springs for buyers and growers in Clark and Greene Counties. The purpose of the meeting is to learn how the Food Policy Council can support local farmers markets and to connect buyers of local food with growers.

Please join us for what we hope is just the beginning of a movement to put local food and agriculture at the forefront of our economy.

Local Foods Listening Session
Thursday, July 9, 2009
7-9 PM
Glen Helen Building, 402 Corry St., Yellow Springs
RSVP 937-767-9490 or burns@tecumsehlandtrust.org

There is no charge for the event, but we need your response to make sure we have enough chairs and materials available. If you have any questions about this event please do not hesitate to contact us at 937-767-9490. We hope to see you there."

Monday, July 6, 2009

VC meeting: Antioch Update, Econ Dev., Comp. Plan, & Pay Raises, Visioning Steering letters

Dear People: Just back (literally within a few hours) from a glorious trip/family reunion on Isle Royale National Park--hiking and canoeing and living with no electricity or running water on a small island with several members of Frank's family. It was amazing. So this will be quick, and is, alas, later than I like.

Probably most of you are aware that there's been a major development towards an agreement between Antioch University and the Antioch College Continuation Corporation regarding the future Antioch College; Matt Derr, of the AC3 will be at our meeting tonight to give an official update and answer questions. That will be early on our agenda, after a few items of...

  • Alley Vacation (perpendicular to High St. between 409/415 N. High): This was recommended by Planning Commission some months ago. It is not an open, functioning alley, and does not run all the way through to any street or functioning alley, just to the end of the lot.
  • Resolution supporting Obama's proposal to reform the Health Care System.
  • PUBLIC HEARING: Resolution approving the 2010 Tax Budget. This looks pretty pro-forma, but village staff will be on hand to highlight the documents and answer questions.
  • Matt Derr from AC3 on Antioch College developments
  • Waste Water Treatment Plant Improvements Update
  • Comprehensive Plan: We'll spend 45 minutes; we'll plan to go through the first 3 sections and then begin the 4th. There are some proposed language changes from both Judith Hempfling (regarding development, the Jacoby Greenbelt, and the Urban Service Boundary and "staying small") and Karen Wintrow (regarding many of the same issues and also Tourism and Electric Distribution). Our village solicitor, John Chambers, provided his perspective on Judith's proposed language changes and he had no objection to her wording, and suggested that we may want to mention that Council may revisit the Plan after that process is completed.
  • Economic Sustainability (formerly Econ 'Development') Committee, Coordinator: We'll be discussing (again for 45 minutes) both
    • Judith's proposal for an Economic Sustainability Committee and
    • Mark Cundiff's new proposal for an Economic Sustainability Coordinator (not 'Director'). This new proposal is at a lower pay scale (down from $30-$40/hr in the original to $22.19-$28.46--I think this odd dollars&cents range has to do with the normal village pay scale, but it's a question I have.) I believe he worked with input from both Karen and Judith on this current proposal.
  • Council Salary Increase: Judith proposes increasing our salaries from $2500 to $4100 / year. Our pay has not been increased since 1996, and lags behind the normal pay of the School Board. While our current pay is larger than some small villages, Council Clerk Deborah Benning has indicated that it's really more important to attend to the complexity of the community's holdings--we must oversee not just streets and parks, but also our own electrical system, a police force with our own dispatch office, our water and wastewater systems, and a variety of village properties including the library building and pool. One Council person has indicated opposition to a pay raise in an email to Council; I and Judith have publicly indicated our firm support for a pay raise.
Judith concludes her proposal for this increase by saying: "If a modest increase in compensation for the Village Council could make it possible for some citizens to be candidates, that would be a huge positive benefit. For those who work jobs at an hourly rate, the option of reducing work hours even a little, when there is a heavy Council agenda, might be possible because of an increased salary." I heartily concur.
  • Finally, the Visioning Task Force is asking Council to write letters of invitation to African Americans and parents of school age children, asking them to volunteer for the Steering Committee of the Visioning process, having received mailing lists derived from recommendations from John Gudgel and the 365 group and Christine Hatton and the MLS staff (respectively).
There will be future agenda planning and then wrap up!

Have a great week!