Monday, December 14, 2009

VC Update & PC Tonight: 2 Conditional Use Requests, PUD process; historic preservation

Dear People: Thanks to all those who turned out for the Visioning workshop on Saturday. I don't know the statistics, but there was a good sized crowd in the gym, and the smaller group I was in was actually fairly large--I didn't count, but I'd say 12-14?--and lively. Tonight (Mon 12/14) is the Planning Commission meeting, 7 pm in the Bryan Center. I'll discuss that in the majority of this note.

COUNCIL UPDATE: I have to provide a Council Update at every Planning Comm. meeting, and we've had so many meetings, I'll write it out here:

I. Last Friday afternoon (12/11) Village Council held a special meeting from 4:30-6:30, that was well attended by villagers, focused on the request to allow Community Solutions to partner with two regional, private firms in a bid for a federal "stimulus" grant for energy efficiency retrofitting. The grant had an extremely short turn-around time. While it was short notice, and I have many questions still, the opportunity seemed very good, and, if the group is selected for the grant, we will read it at that time and have been assured by our attorney that we will be able to say "this isn't what we thought we were signing up for" and decline to be a part of it. So I voted for it, and it passed on a 4-1 vote, with most Council members agreeing with my reasoning.

II. At last Monday's (12/7) Village Council meeting we:

1. passed an ORDINANCE: 2nd reading on AMP Hydroelectric projects--these look really good and will help supply our base load needs.
2. tabled ORDINANCE: 1st reading on 2-Way Metering: this would allow people who are generating power (e.g., via solar panels) to sell excess energy back to the grid. We want more information from the ETF about some of the details regarding the maximum wattage that could be produced under this revision to our ordinance.
3./4. passed RESOLUTIONS (2) renewing Staff health insurance & health savings accounts and Dental insurance
5. Discussed the hiring for Clerk of Council, Treasurer, and filing clerk. I will be working with John Weithofer to pre-sort and "tier" the over 150 applications for Clerk of Council; Treasurer applications are still being accepted!

We continue to mourn the passing of Deborah Benning, our beloved Clerk of Council, who served in that role for 17 years.

6. Discussed Stutzman's Property:
We're planning to write up a request for proposals for renting the property; Chris Roberts volunteered to help us get good maps for prospective renters.
7. Rejected Time Banking financial request, on the advice of our lawyer but most of us support the concept and the work of the creators
8. We have clarified (since our meeting) that the Greene County Metropolitan Housing exemption is available for them to take without our action. We have notified the school board, which will lose some tax revenues, some of which can be regained through applying for federal support. While it seems to now be a moot point, I support them in this action because the money they save will be reinvested in this property, rather than going to Washington DC for a second mortgage.
9. Approved Village Manager Evaluation Forms for staff and Council. Please feel free to give feedback (as a resident) about your experiences with and impressions of Mark Cundiff's work in the next week or so.
10. Discussed the Water/Sewer Rates: The bad news: our water rates are not keeping up with costs; The good news: our sewer rates are solidly in the black. We need to raise our water rates, which have not been raised for many years. We are contemplating raising water rates by 10% each of the next two years; 5% each of the following two, and then a simple 3% annually thereafter.

III. We also held a special meeting with the Township Trustees and ACP, on Nov. 30th, receiving an update of their "Visioning" work with us.
That information is summarized in the documents on our website. In short: strong turnout, reasonably equitable representation, and excellent feedback from participants.

IV. We also held our first meeting of the new Council since the last election on Nov. 16th, where new members were inaugurated and new committee assignments were made. I am continuing my work on Planning Commission and will now serve on the Greene County Planning Commission. (Karen Wintrow will continue on MVRPC). Rick Walkey will be serving on Environmental Commission and Library Commission.

V. Future: We will be holding a special meeting with Community Resources on January 13th.


1. REPORTS from Council, Bike Enhancement, Village Staff and Miami Township Zoning Commission.
Speaking of Bike Enhancement, have you noticed the new street markings for the "sweet spot" that marks a sensor that allows bikes to trip the traffic signals? Look for them, and please do use them when you're biking around town!

  1. 111 N. Winter Street (old Jail House). The owner of this property received a conditional use request for creating a low-impact, alternative veterinary practice for small animals on the first floor of this property earlier this year. In his new application letter, the owner notes that he did not realize that renting out the apartment on the second floor on a short term basis required a second permit. The second permit is not for bed and breakfast or hotel but "short term rental." One neighbor is concerned about the plan to create a parking lot behind the current garage and the effects on their adjacent property; a second neighbor is concerned about increased on-street parking and the general affect on the neighborhood as a whole of having two businesses there. I will listen carefully to this presentation. I support mixed use neighborhoods, and there seems to be a demonstrated need for this sort of housing, but need to have a better picture of overall neighborhood impact of this added business to the neighborhood.
  2. 234 Grinnell Road (Waste-Water Treatment Plant--WWTP): The upgrades to the WWTP in order to bring it into compliance with EPA regulations requires that 3 small buildings be constructed as part of the project: a "screen building"; a "phosphorus treatment building" and a covered "sludge storage building." The WWTP is located in a conservation zoning district, and requires conditional use permit for any new construction. Staff recommends we approve this request.
  1. PUD Subdivision regulations review: Woolpert's looked at our process; we are working through their recommendations, which I believe I have described in an earlier note. They were to be at our last meeting, but were not. They will be there tonight for this discussion.
  2. Historic Preservation: We are working through Mark's suggested revision. We may not get to this tonight, if the earlier business takes too much time, but we are not in a rush.
I hope this is useful!


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