University Heights City Council Meeting highlights
SPECIAL MEETING – AUGUST 23, 2010
- JCU zoning decision appeal
- Eastside Departments Group Enforcement
- Garage and residential sales
All council members were present.
JCU zoning decision appeal
Residents of Carroll Boulevard and Kerwick Road filed an appeal of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) decision to approve a “transitional use special permit” allowing John Carroll University (JCU) to use the residential property at 4070 Carroll Boulevard for R.O.T.C. offices and administrative activities with conditions.
Planned use of the property
The duplex, now owned by the university, would house approximately ten offices for faculty and staff to be used during daytime hours. No classes would be held, nor any weapons or military vehicles kept there. Students might come to speak with a professor. The house is across the street from the Dolan Science Center and adjacent to a parking lot on one side and homes on the other. They plan to replace the roof and make some minor alterations inside. On the exterior they might add a flagpole.
Transitional use permit
The transitional use permit is used when a property is within 150 feet of more restrictive zoning. Unless JCU asks to rezone the property to U5 (university property) the university would continue to pay property tax. Maria Alfaro-Lopez, General Counsel to JCU, said the university has no plans at this time to seek a change in zoning for the property.
The residents feared a snowball effect, similar to what happened on Milton Road where the university purchased multiple homes. The appellants want this special use request to be considered by the Planning Commission, which could require a broader plan from the university. The BZA only looks at the zoning issue.
Issue of trust
Several people, including Councilman Bullock, spoke of growing mistrust between the university and the community. Mr. Bullock noted that, during his six years on council, he had learned not to trust the university’s promises. Conversely, the university brought a court stenographer to record the meeting and had sent a letter to the mayor prior to the meeting asking for anyone who spoke to sign an oath. Mayor Infeld denied the request. To begin an atmosphere of trust, Councilwoman Pardee suggested denying the appeal with further constraints upon John Carroll, including a requirement to present their top four priorities for off-campus properties within ninety days and for all of their forty off-campus properties within the next two years. Ms. Pardee’s motion was voted down.
No action taken
Council tabled the decision, but Law Director Ken Fisher noted that the appeal must be decided upon at the next council meeting on September 7, 2010.
Eastside Departments Group Enforcement
Council approved a motion adding Beachwood to the communities participating in the EDGE (Eastside Departments Group Enforcement) program. They also authorized an agreement with the cities of South Euclid, Shaker Heights, Euclid and Beachwood for the interchange of police personnel, equipment, and services. Two of the cities still need to approve the agreement before it can go forward. Police Chief Stehlik said the agreement would enable the cities’ police departments to reduce training and personnel costs. A joint SWAT team is the first step to be followed by other cooperative programs.
Garage and residential sales
In light of the Sun Press article noting that University Heights had a longer advance notice requirement than other communities, council approved reducing the requirement from five days to one business day.
LWV observer: Wendy Deuring.
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