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.)


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