Oberer moving Yellow Springs plan forward; Chappelle responds to criticism

Dave Chappelle released a statement saying he was not against affordable housing, but was against this development.

YELLOW SPRINGS — In the wake of Monday’s village council vote, Oberer Homes said Thursday it plans to move forward with its Yellow Springs housing development, and Dave Chappelle responded to criticism of his involvement in the debate.

Chappelle released a statement through a spokeswoman Thursday, saying he was not against affordable housing, but felt the proposed housing development on 53 acres of land was not good for Yellow Springs.

“Dave Chappelle didn’t kill affordable housing. Concerned residents and a responding Village Council ‘killed’ a half-baked plan which never actually offered affordable housing,” said Carla Sims, a spokesperson for Chappelle.

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Chappelle was one of several Yellow Springs residents who spoke up against a 53-acre development plan that included 1.75 acres of land to be donated to the village for affordable housing. Chappelle threatened to pull his investments in the village, which include a planned restaurant and comedy club. In the two public meetings where he spoke, he did not explain detailed reasons for opposing the plan.

The zoning plan that the village worked with Oberer to create and that council ultimately did not approve Monday had a total of 140 homes, beginning at about $200,000. The breakdown was 64 single-family homes, 52 duplexes and 24 townhomes, with 1.75 acres of land to be donated to the village and later developed into affordable housing. The affordable housing project would have been separate from this development.

“Neither Dave nor his neighbors are against affordable housing, however, they are against the poorly vetted, cookie-cutter, sprawl-style development deal which has little regard for the community, culture and infrastructure of the Village,” said the statement from Sims, Chappelle’s spokeswoman.

“The whole development deal, cloaked as an affordable housing plan, is anything but affordable. Three out of 143 lots would have been for ‘future’ affordable housing,” she continued. “The rest of the homes were to be priced between $250k and upwards of $600k. In Yellow Springs, and in many other places, that is not considered affordable housing. Instead, it’s an accelerant on the homogenization of Yellow Springs.”

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Monday’s council vote doesn’t cancel the housing development. Instead, it means a previously approved plan for all single-family homes on the site can move forward.

Oberer Homes, the semi-custom home builder that has worked with the village on the housing development for close to a year, plans to move forward with the project under the current zoning.

“Construction should commence in early spring,” Oberer Homes CEO George Oberer Jr. said Thursday.

Village documents lay out a plan allowed under current zoning that includes 143 single-family homes that would start at a price point of about $300,000.

Denise Swinger, the planning and zoning administrator for the Village of Yellow Springs, said Oberer will have to send their plan to her. Once she is done with her review for compliance, she said she will submit all materials and a memo to the village planning commission for a review that would check for conformance with the code and for infrastructure needs and compliance.

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The Planning Commission will approve on the basis of compliance, she said.

“Oberer can submit a final plan as soon as they are ready, and that final plan goes to Planning Commission and to Council,” Swinger said. “Council cannot deny the plat unless they find that the plat is not in compliance with the zoning code.”

If council did deny the final plan, Oberer can file a complaint, Swinger said.

The project has been through months of debate and public meetings. Many residents spoke against it, citing traffic and environmental concerns, as well as the cost of the homes and how the development would fit with the rest of the village. Others supported the plan that was rejected Monday, saying it was better and more affordable than the alternative.

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The site of the proposed housing development in Yellow Springs. By Mark Freistedt.

The site of the proposed housing development in Yellow Springs. By Mark Freistedt.

Combined ShapeCaption
The site of the proposed housing development in Yellow Springs. By Mark Freistedt.

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