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


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