MIAMI TOWNSHIP — Four township residents are vying for two open Miami Township Trustee spots.
Incumbent Don Hollister, Marilan Moir, Denise Swinger, and Dino Pallotta are on the November ballot, which includes voters in Yellow Springs.
Hollister grew up and raised a family in Yellow Springs. He’s a retired carpenter who used to teach night classes for adults at the Greene County Career Center. He also worked on Gov. Richard Celeste’s policy staff in the 1980s and as a lobbyist for the Ohio League of Conservation Voters from 2011 to 2015.
He doesn’t believe there’s one top issue in this election.
“It’s more about communication with the public,” Hollister said.
Questions about rural zoning made him decide to run for reelection.
“Although I live in the village of Yellow Springs, I very much love the land of the township,” he said. “Seventy percent of the township is active farmland. I value that as an economic base in the region as well as a lifestyle in our locale. Township zoning has a lot to do with stewarding land use.”
He added, “Our zoning defines agriculture rather traditionally. State law has established agritourism as a legitimate use of agricultural land, but doesn’t really define it clearly. There’s some ongoing case law and I would interpret that strictly.”
Swinger grew up in Trotwood and is a longtime resident of Miami Township. She’s had a career in public service and currently works as the planning and zoning administrator for the village as well as running the non-profit Yellow Springs Emergency Assistance. She believes that agritourism, which Merriam Webster defines as, “the practice of touring agricultural areas to see farms and often to participate in farm activities,” is the most important issue in this election.
According to Swinger, farmers in Miami Township face growing financial pressure. She cited the proposed Kingwood Solar Project that would be built on farmland in Miami and Xenia townships as one example of this.
“The question that’s come up lately is about the big solar array that’s in part of Miami Township and part of Xenia township. There’s questions about agritourism,” she said. Historically, the township has valued farmland and took steps to ensure its conservation.
“Agritourism is probably the biggest thing, trying to figure out a way to maintain that rural atmosphere that we love here, but being able to financially support that because that has a cost, too. When you don’t have development and you don’t have income and you don’t have taxes coming from that. We have to figure out a way to allow farmers to still keep their farming and have a little business as well,” she said.
Swinger believes that as the only candidate for trustee who lives in the unincorporated section of Miami Township as opposed to the village of Yellow Springs itself, she brings something different to the table.
“It brings a different perspective to actually have somebody that lives outside of the corporate limits of the village. I think when people think of Miami Twp they think of Yellow Springs, but there’s the village of Clifton, the village of Yellow Springs and the unincorporated township,” she said.
Moir and Pallotta could not be reached for comment after multiple attempts.
Reach MacKenzie Tastan at [email protected]