On Monday night, comedian Dave Chappelle, who is worth an estimated $50 million, told the village council where he lives, “You look like clowns” as he voiced his opposition to the town accepting a developer’s plan to build single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses near his property.
At a town meeting of the Yellow Springs Village Council, Chappelle stated, “I just want to say, and Marianne [council member Marianne MacQueen], I can talk to you about this privately, I don’t know why the village council would be afraid of litigation from a $24 million-a year-company while it kicks out a $65 million-a-year-company. I cannot believe you would make me audition for you; You look like clowns — I am not bluffing, I will take it all off the table….Thank you.”
The $65 million company Chappelle referred to is apparently his company Iron Table Holdings LLC, which bought a local fire station in late 2021 and plans to convert it into a restaurant called “Firehouse Eatery” with an attached comedy club called “Live From YS.”
The $24 million company is apparently the developer Oberer Land Developers, which submitted the proposal for a new housing development valued at roughly $39 million.
“The village and Oberer had worked together to produce a plan that would include duplexes and affordable housing along with single-family homes in a 53-acre area along Spillan Road at the south edge of town,” the Dayton Daily News reported. “The village initially asked for the development to advance affordable housing in the village, including an area that the village would later be able to develop into affordable housing, as well as more duplexes and townhomes.”
The Daily News stated that the proposed development would have “included 64 single-family homes, 52 duplexes and 24 townhomes with an additional 1.75 acres to be donated to the community for affordable housing to be built later.”
Ultimately, the village council voted 2-2 with one abstention on the proposed development, meaning that the zoning reverts to the previous plan, with 143 single-family homes.
A person reportedly close to Chappelle claimed to The Daily Mail, “The developers rushed the project, and got a sweetheart deal with council that was not properly vetted. It doesn’t even include affordable housing.”
In December, the council held a Zoom meeting to discuss the planned unit development (PUD) proposed by Oberer Land Developers, which had purchased the land in November 2020, prompting the village to annex the land in order to increase its tax base. As the Yellow Springs News reported, Planning Commission member Sarah Sinclair-Amend expressed her concern about the increased traffic, saying, “This is a very narrow road and it was not built to be more than a country road.”
She added, “Despite all of the efforts [to slow traffic], we have not been able to make it safer, and now we want to add more traffic.”
Max Crome, an architect working with Iron Table Holdings, said, “No one has a right to a PUD….What they’re [Oberer] giving back is not commensurate with the amount of value that granting this PUD will give them. It’s a bad deal. We deserve better.”
Chappelle chimed in, “I’ve invested millions of dollars in town. If you push this thing through, what I’m investing in is no longer applicable…I would say that Oberer can buy all of this property from me if they want to be your benefactor because I will no longer want to.”
He concluded, “We should use more of a visionary eye instead of a reactionary one because the potential of this place is immense and Oberer is not the only solution.”