Saturday, November 14, 2009

VC: Inauguration Night, Monday! (11/16)

{--Oh Happy Day! A pic from our trip to DC to the Obama inauguration--Frank, me and 2 million of our closest friends...

Dear People: Well, things happen pretty fast 'round these parts: the newly elected/re-elected Mayor and Council members will be sworn in on Monday evening and then we'll have a normal but fairly light meeting. Enjoy the weather this glorious weekend!

Monday's AGENDA!

1) Administering oath of office to new/re-elected Council.
2) Election of President, Vice Pres.
3) Announcements, Review Minutes, Review Agenda and Communications.
4) PUBLIC HEARING/LEGISLATION: Supplemental Appropriations: This is a repeat of our actions in October, due to a small snafu down at the village offices (due to the illness of Deborah, our Clerk), with regard to publishing the findings within a week after passage.

NOTE: We are working on hiring for Deborah's position right now, however. (If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please look at the job description / application process as posted on the village website. ) See under OLD BUSINESS for more on this topic

5) OLD BUSINESS: Several big things here:
  • Economic Sustainability Coordinator: Update /Economic Sustainability Board. Mark will be announcing the new Coordinator that we've hired and we'll also be discussing, and possibly voting on the Economic Sustainability Board proposed by Judith some time ago.
  • Evaluation Process (for Village Mgr) Discussion: We have to evaluate Mark every year, and he's been here about a year already! We have several sample evaluation forms available in our packets for us to examine and select from. I will be looking at them carefully. We are considering moving our evaluation date for him to the Summer time, further away from election. (Since the brand new Council member(s) will not be as able to provide feedback that is fully meaningful having just
  • Announcement/Discussion: Clerk of Council and Treasurer positions. We are definitely hiring to replace our retiring Clerk of Council, Deborah Benning. Deborah had also served as Treasurer, which is a more complex role to fill. We will be discussing what to do about this issue on Monday evening.
  • OPENINGS! We need YOU to serve on: Environmental Commission, Human Rights Commissions, and Energy Task Force. We have applicants for some slots, but I know that the EC still has two open slots, now that EC member Rick Walkey has been voted onto Council. We'll get an update as to the exact state of membership on these official committees of Council. Consider serving!
  • HRC Website update: Having met with HRC members and with Bruce Cornett, Village Mgr. Mark tells us we have a few possible options, one of which would give the HRC lots of flexibility, and us a little less control, another of which would reduce their flexibility of use, but give the Village a great deal of control. We need to decide what our policy with regard to the website should be.
  • Appointment of Council Reps to Commissions, Committees, Task Forces and Boards.
  • Health Care Insurance Renewal for village employees. Mark recommends renewing our current plans for medical and dental. The medical plan premium costs will increase by 6.87%, which is below what many places are finding, and the dental plan will increase by 8.94%, but this is actually below what we were paying in 2008.
We'll then have reports from Commissions and Committees, Agenda Planning, and, so far as I can see, no executive session.

Peace, and a poem--

O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman

O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;

Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;

Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;

Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists, and identity;

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

Amen, brothers and sisters.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

PC on Monday, Events all Month...!

Dear People--I hope you've been able to at least sit in the sunshine and unexpected warmth of this gorgeous gold-fading-to-gray November day. I have info about Planning Commission, upcoming Village Council meetings, and other, perhaps more exciting village events....

This Monday 11/9 is our Planning Commission meeting
(Bryan Center, 2nd floor, 7 pm) and we have three main issues on the agenda, although the first is simply to discuss whether the PC should have a group membership in the American Planning Association. The other two larger issues are:

1) Revising our PUD Process and site requirements. Local builders / developers, residents affected by new developments in town, are especially invited to speak to our current process and the proposed changes we hope to instigate, with a goal of making the process and the outcomes better for everyone. We had Woolperts look at our current code and offer suggestions as to how it might be improved. Their main suggestions (out of about 11 total) were:
  • Create a single PUD code that governs residential, business, and industrial, as well as mixed usage, to improve clarity and ease of use. (Right now we have 3 separate codes for business, industrial, and residential, and Mark Cundiff has noted that our current regulations don't really cover things like the single-building structure proposed by the Friends Care Community).
  • Reduce Preliminary Plan Review to One Phase: Currently, we have a 2 part "preliminary plan review" process: a "concept" plan review and a detailed plan review. John Streuwing explained in our last discussion of this topic that we did that in order to help smaller, local developers who may not be able to afford to pay professionals to do complex pre-planning for something that might be rejected. And in fact our language stipulates that these two phases can be done at the same time, if the developer wishes. Woolperts says that this is unusual and might be confusing for many developers.
  • Open Space changes: To include a requirement that some of the required open space, 10% of it, be "usable" open space. They also seem to be suggesting lowering open space requirements overall from 25% of the overall land use to 20%. I will be asking about both of these suggestions.
  • Add Land Trusts as parties that can accept, own, and maintain conveyed open space.
  • Charge Village's engineering/planning costs to developers: A fee would be collected up front to help pay for any expenses associated with the project paid for by the Village; any leftovers would be returned, but our costs would be covered.
  • No return of the final PUD plan to Council="irregular" according to Woolperts. I'll be asking them about this.
  • No 35 foot height restriction? This seems new to me, from our last discussion. I'll be asking about it.
  • I thought they were going to add in language that required 1) more specifics with regard to performance and aesthetic standards, but I'm not sure how/whether their changes really do that, and 2) more detailed design information regarding utilities and storm water. Again, I might be missing this in my initial review of the documents. So I'll be asking the Woolpert associate about these issues.
2) Creating a Historic Preservation Overlay district with a focus on 1) maintaining an inventory of historic structures in our planning office and 2) creating a process that allows for a public hearing on the demolition of historic buildings--and seeking to discourage demolition by neglect. Mark has written out a plan for this, and Council has discussed it and given our initial support for this limited kind of historic preservation ordinance. So we'll be going through Mark's proposed language in order to make sure it fits with our goals and needs.

Here is language I'll be proposing for the introduction of the ordinance, slightly modified from Mark's original suggestions:

"The public interest calls for the preservation and protection of significant historical, architectural, and archeological resources within the village that evoke Yellow Springs' and America's histories. Buildings and places that tell of the presence of our forebears add meaning and livability to our village, as do our eclectic residential areas and lively business districts. We value the creativity of our residents who have re-shaped older buildings into creative, useful structures suited for contemporary life, but also have been dismayed, in the past, by the loss of beloved buildings and landmarks due to unregulated demolition or "demolition by neglect." To protect our public interest in these historic structures, it is necessary to provide a method whereby certain public controls are required for dramatic changes to meaningful buildings, landmarks and neighborhoods, but one which also requires that we carefully consider the rights of private property and thoroughly analyze the objectives that might be achieved if a site is substantially preserved or substantially altered."

The then goes on: "PURPOSE: It is the intent of this Section to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the public through: 1) the enhancement of [neighborhood stability, property values, economic development] and the protection of property rights of all citizens, 2) the preservation and enhancement of a village of varied architectural styles reflecting the [various] phases of the village's history, 3) the preservation of historically significant districts, sties, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and 4) to this end, this section authorizes the adoption of overlay historic districts and to review [maintenance standards and demolition plans] which affect the historic quality of such historic districts and sites."

The material in [brackets] above represent a change I am proposing to Mark's language that I believe more accurately reflects the goals of this ordinance. I wonder if the ordering of the numbered points makes sense for us, also.

Please feel free to tell me what you think!

A quick look ahead to the weeks ahead:
a week from tomorrow, Monday 11/16, will mark the swearing in of our new colleague on Council, Rick Walkey, and the beginning of a "new" Council, although four of us are returning members. We will be establishing new positions on Commissions and Task-Forces, as well as completing other ongoing business; on Monday 11/30 we will be meeting with Township trustees and the ACP consultants regarding the Visioning effort.

For the good of the village, I'd also like to call your attention to a few upcoming events (in reverse calendar order!):

Celebrate the Ohio's "Best Hometown" designation at the third Friday fling! There will be songs and celebration at a brief program between the Senior Center and the Emporium at 5:30 pm.

11/15 Nonstop Presents!! Richard Becker, Author of Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire Sunday, November 15th at 2:00 Nonstop Institute, within Millworks, 305 S. Walnut Street, Suite C, Yellow Springs, Ohio.

11/14 Save Energy Save Money: Free Seminar on Energy-Efficient Building and Retrofitting

Sponsored by Community Solutions and net0home Inc.

Saturday November 14th

Yellow Springs Senior Center

1. Community Solutions/UD: "Energy Use and Energy Efficiency in Yellow Springs"
2. net0home Inc.: "50 Energy Audits in Yellow Springs - Biggest Energy Problems and Solutions"
3. Pat Murphy: “What Do Walls Looks Like? Thickening for Ultra Low Energy Use”
4. Bob Klahn: "Geese in the yard may irritate you, leaking ducts inside will rob you!"

5PM to 8PM
Reception at The Emporium with appetizers and wine tasting.

Booths with information and demonstrations from:

net0home Inc.
Community Solutions
Green Generation Building Co.
Living Green
Southtown Heating and Cooling
Dovetail Solar


Monday, November 2, 2009

VC: Election-e'en!

{-- I will say NO on Tuesday. (image from

Hi, People:
Well, Tuesday is election day: Vote! I will support all the local levies (mental health, libraries, etc.) and I will oppose the casinos and Issue 2. I will be voting for all local positions as well. On election eve, your current council will be hard at work on a variety of concerns.

  • Airport Noise: A big thick packet of information from the City Mgr of Springfield with regard to the issue. I have not had time to look at this! If someone would like to help me to sort through all the information--particularly if this is an especial concern of yours--I'd be happy to share my packet with you.
  • Family Violence Prevention Center: Fundraiser at Young's Golden Jersey Inn, Nov. 4, "Adopt-A-Family" with domestic abuse issues for holiday season. For more info call 937.376.8526 or email: to have your name added to their list.
  • Voinovich staff townhall meeting with Greene County communities in Xenia on Nov. 10, 11am-12 noon @ Greene County Commissioner's Office, Exec Session Room, Administrative Bldg, 35 Greene Street Xenia Ohio.
  • Hydroluorosilicic Acid info: I received a packet of information about the specific fluoride treatment that we purchase from Bonded Chemicals, Inc. If anyone is interested, it is in our packet this week. I don't have an electronic copy, and I will need mine for the next EC meeting. If you'd like to have a copy, I will find out the easiest way to have one made. Our packets are always available at the library and at the village offices, in the sitting area by the police dispatcher on the first floor.
  • ORDINANCE: First reading & Public Hearing on participation in a new AMP Hydo-electric Project at Greenup and Meldahl. (I discussed this briefly last week. They look like good projects that I am planning to support.
  • RESOLUTION: establishing Village Manager Mark Cundiff as a temporary deputy Clerk of Council to assist with signing important documents in an efficient way, at no extra cost to the village.
  • ECON SUSTAINABILITY COORDINATOR Update: Mark has interviewed candidates and hopes to have a name to announce at our meeting!
  • SIDEWALKS: 1) Crews worked last weekend on cutting back trees from public walks along Xenia Ave, east side. 2) Sidewalk replacement on same street side delayed due to staff illness. Should begin in Feb/March next year. 3) King St.: since it does not involve assessment, we should be able to be completed by end of November. A resident had specific comments about the street condition, and somewhat opposing the plan we approved, i.e., that the village will pick up the rather minimal tab for this section to resolve a current safety issue; 4) Safe Routes to School continues; surveys and tally sheets have been distributed.
  • HISTORIC PRESERVATION: Planning Commission, of which I am a member, proposes establishing regulations regarding demolition of structures in a historical district or historic landmarks in the village. These would not be regulations about paint colors or adding on new things, simply about the demolition of older structures altogether, or "demoliton by neglect. They mostly 1) require the village to maintain an inventory of historic structures (so that we can make sure that owners are aware of the historic value of their properties), and 2) require the owner to notify the village if a structure needs to be demolished and produce evidence that demolition is, in effect, the only feasible way forward.
  • VILLAGE MANAGER EVALUATION: It's been almost a year since Mark became our Village Manager, so it's evaluation time. Mark has provided with various forms, including our own from the last evaluation of our former Village Manager. We will look at these possible forms and decide how to best evaluate his work. Please let me know, via email or phone, if you have any reflections on Mark's work for us over the past year.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Personnel issue.


That's about it! Here's a lovely spooky batty Hallowe'en poem

Bats by Paisley Rekdal

unveil themselves in dark.

They hang, each a jagged,

silken sleeve, from moonlit rafters bright

as polished knives. They swim

the muddled air and keen

like supersonic babies, the sound

we imagine empty wombs might make

in women who can’t fill them up.

A clasp, a scratch, a sigh.

They drink fruit dry.

And wheel, against feverish light flung hard

upon their faces,

in circles that nauseate.

Imagine one at breast or neck,

Patterning a name in driblets of iodine

that spatter your skin stars.

They flutter, shake like mystics.

They materialize. Revelatory

as a stranger’s underthings found tossed

upon the marital bed, you tremble

even at the thought. Asleep,

you tear your fingers

and search the sheets all night.