"It has been a pleasure serving the residents of Genoa Township. My goal has been to make myself accessible and approachable. I made a promise to work for you and stay connected with residents, and I’ve kept that promise by listening to your concerns and helping to solve issues during my monthly Residents’ Hours. Moving forward, communicating will be key in preserving the quality of life we enjoy here. Together, we can continue to make Genoa Township better.”
GENOA TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE
Renee Vaughan started her trustee term on January 1, 2020. She was in office for almost three months when the pandemic hit and the world shut down. Therefore, for most of her first year, there was little to no interaction with residents.
REDUCING TOWNSHIP DENSITY
Part of Renee Vaughan's 2019 platform was to stop high-density in Genoa Township. However, reducing density in the township was not something she could do while serving with the two trustees who took the densities out of the comprehensive plan in 2019.
In August of 2021, Trustee Connie Goodman proposed the Hoover Watershed Overlay concept to Trustees Karl Gebhardt and Renee Vaughan. All trustees agreed with the concept due to years of residents voicing their wishes to lower township density in planning areas 2, 3, 4, and 5 (east of Hoover and north of Big Walnut Road).
After going through the zoning process, the Hoover Watershed Overlay was approved in September of 2022 by Trustees Connie Goodman and Renee Vaughan. Even though the Overlay lowered the density in planning areas 2, 3, 4, and part of 5, it didn't lower the density in all of planning area 5.
It was clear from the large number of people who voiced their opposition during the Epcon and Romanelli Development proposals that residents in planning area 5 wanted the density to be lowered. Therefore, Renee Vaughan proposed hiring legal council to help the township put densities, that were erased from the comprehensive plan in 2019, back in the document. After going through the zoning process, the Zoning Resolution and Comprehensive Plan were revised in April of 2023 with guidance from Peter Griggs from Brosius, Johnson, and Griggs, LLC.
Revising the documents and lowering the densities was a huge win for residents. It is very important to continue to elect trustees who represent the people in order to keep densities low in Genoa Township. Renee Vaughan will continue to listen and work with Genoa Township residents to ensure zoning documents reflect their wishes.
During her campaign, Renee Vaughan stated that she didn't want to lose touch with residents after being elected. As a result, she implemented monthly meetings with residents. Monthly meetings were held in January and February of 2020 and abruptly ended during the pandemic. However, as soon as residents became more comfortable meeting in groups, Renee continued her monthly meetings, calling them Residents' Hours. She started by meeting residents in Genoa Township Parks during the warmer months and at the Township Hall during the colder months. Renee gives an hour of her time to listen to residents' questions, concerns, and issues. In addition to listening to public comment during trustee meetings, it's a great way to stay connected with the residents she serves.
Prior to Renee taking office, residents received a newsletter by mail six times a year. Renee felt that the township needed to communicate with residents more often. She worked with Leslie Strader, communications director, and currently, residents have the opportunity to receive a newsletter by mail or email monthly.
In addition, Renee Vaughan worked with Joe Shafer, Zoning Director, to send emails notifying residents of zoning commission, board of zoning appeals, and trustee zoning meetings to residents who have subscribed. This has been beneficial to township residents to stay informed. If you would like to sign up for township emails, you can sign up here.
Renee Vaughan sends monthly newsletters to subscribed residents who want to know details of trustee meetings. She started emailing residents herself; however, as she got busier, Genoa Township Residents for Responsible Development (GTRRD) has taken over this task. If you would like to receive an email summary of trustee meetings, you can email Renee at VaughanForGenoa@gmail.com.
Renee Vaughan not only attends township events, but she was also involved in planning two new events the township held in 2023.
Virtual Easter Egg Hunt
The township decided to cancel the traditional Easter Egg Hunt in April of 2023 due to high winds. Since the Egg Hunt was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, there has only been one traditional Easter Egg Hunt during Renee's tenure as trustee. The last-minute cancelation left the township with a lot of candy that had been bought with tax dollars. Renee Vaughan and Leslie Strader, Communications Director, put their heads together and spent 72 hours organizing a virtual Easter Egg Hunt at McNamara Park on April 8, 2023. With the help of the Genoa Township maintenance, Fire, and Police Departments, and several volunteers, the event was an overwhelming success and well attended.
In February of 2023, a resident reached out to Renee Vaughan and asked if the township would honor one of our own residents by renaming a street in his honor. Renee made a few phone calls and discovered that this wasn't something the township could do. However, Renee led the resident down the right path so that the street could be renamed. On April 20, 2023, the county commissioners approved the street renaming. After the hearing, the family asked that the township celebrate the big day.
To fulfill the wishes of the family, Renee Vaughan teamed up with Leslie Strader, once again, to organize a neighborhood "tailgate" when Alpine Drive, a street at the entrance of The Oaks of Highland Lakes neighborhood, was renamed Dimitrious Stanley Way on July 1, 2023. Renee worked with Genoa Township's police, fire, and maintenance departments, the township administrator, Delaware County staff, vendors, speakers, and volunteers prior to and during the event.
This was a historical event because it was the first time the township had ever organized an event like this. The large crowd came from Genoa Township as well as people from all over the Columbus area. Young and old enjoyed the food trucks, booths, kid activities, and the sign revealing ceremony.
Pickleball Court Installation
Although installing pickleball courts were a low priority in the Genoa Township's Park's Plan, many residents were persistant that they be installed sooner than later. As a result, courts were installed at Center Green Park in the fall of 2021. Initially, Renee received feedback from pickleball players that an exterior fence wasn't needed. However, as residents played on the new courts, it became apparent that an exterior court was needed due to the steep slope on one side of the court. Therefore, an exterior fence was installed in 2022.
Geese Mitigation at Hilmar Park
Shortly after taking office, a resident who lives across the street from Hilmar Park notified Renee Vaughan about the large amount of geese that were in Hilmar Park. By the time Renee researched this issue, it was too late to make changes that year. However, Renee spent a lot of time developing a plan so the township was ready to address the issue the following year. As a result, the township approved Go Geese Go to conduct geese mitigation techniques in both Hilmar and Center Green Parks. After the first year, it was determined that the program was not successful in Center Green Park, so the program has only continued in Hilmar Park. Fishing Day, which is held every September, is much more enjoyable now that the geese population is under control.
During Renee Vaughan's second term, she wants to keep making Genoa Township Better.
Police and Fire
During her first term, Renee supported Genoa Township's police and fire departments by approving materials and equipment necessary to perform their duties. She has developed a great working relationship with the leadership at both departments.
During her second term, she'd like to continue working with both departments to continue to spend tax dollars wisely.
Prior to taking office, Renee Vaughan already had a relationship with Genoa Township's maintenance director while volunteering on her HOA board. She built on this relationship during her first term.
In her second term, she'd like to work with the maintenance director and deputy director to continue completing projects in-house when it makes sense, and hiring contractors when necessary.
Renee Vaughan was part of the board that placed the Park's Levy on the ballot. This was a tough decision. Historically, the township used the inheritance tax to fund and improve Genoa's parks. However, when this funding went away, the township started using funds from the general fund. After several years, the general fund was quickly being depleted. Therefore, the township needed to create alternative funding to maintain and improve township parks.
Not knowing how residents felt about a Park's Levy, Renee conducted a nonscientific poll of residents. The feedback she received was split pretty evenly with about half of the residents in favor and about half opposed. This was enough data for Renee to approve placing a levy on the ballot. Ultimately, the voters approved a Park's Levy. Today, this levy funds our parks.
One of the most requested park improvements includes adding more trails. Therefore, in her next term, Renee would like to work with the Park's Advisory Committee to develop a plan to add trails to connect more neighborhoods to the Ohio to Erie Trail. A plan is necessary to apply for grants, so partnering levy funds with grant money will stretch tax dollars.
Renee Vaughan is currently working through the process of improving community events. Many residents have requested food trucks at Movie Nights and other township functions. Renee has been working with township, county, and nonprofit staff to help the township add features like these legally, while ensuring the township doesn't lose it's nonprofit status. Renee would like to complete this process. She plans to add new features to current events as well as adding new events, during her next term.
During her first term, Renee was able to revise Genoa Township's Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Resolution so they align with the wishes of the people.
Lowering the densities in Genoa's zoning documents was Renee's biggest priority during her first term. Next, Renee would like the zoning commission to work on completing a more thorough review of these documents to make updates that align with laws that have changed since it was updated in 2016. Ultimately, the trustees will vote on the zoning commission's suggested changes.
Most importantly, Renee Vaughan believes that new development proposals should follow the guidelines in our newly revised Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Resolution. It's important to elect trustees who listen to residents when voting on zoning and other issues.
Renee Vaughan would like to continue to hold monthly Residents' Hours so that she can stay connected with the people after campaign season is over. She feels that it is important to hear concerns because she wants to continue to help when she can.
Renee would also like to continue to work with county agencies to bring programs to Genoa Township residents. She works regularly with the Delaware County Health District and SourcePoint to offer training and classes in Genoa Township. Renee would like to continue to offer these programs and possibly bring additional programs, if it makes sense, in her next term.
Delaware County Township Association (DCTA)
Renee Vaughan is not only the Vice-President of the Delaware County Township Association (DCTA), but she also serves on the Legislative Committee. This committee is gaining great traction with the Ohio Township Association (OTA) and our state representatives.
DCTA is currently working on approving proposed legislation to pass on to other counties, the OTA, and state representatives. Issues being presented include: new requirements for Type 2 Annexation, improved water and sewer agreements, and new advertising requirements. The impact of the legislative committee is groundbreaking and will improve daily township operations. This is a passion of Renee's and she'd like to continue to volunteer her time to improve township functions.