University Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-6-11
JUNE 6, 2011
- Veterans’ names
- Community gardens
- Pool passes
- Continental Cup
- Top if Off Pizza.
- High school football at JCU
- Fire department services
- Human resources manager
- Public records official
- License bureau
- Gas and water lines
All council members were present.
Duane Kasten, a member of the Memorial Day Committee, hoped that a new tradition, initiated this year, to collect names of veterans would continue. Names were listed in the program and on boards, which will remain in City Hall. Sheila Hubman of Ashurst Rd. congratulated Anita Kazarian and her committee for organizing the day.
Mayor Infeld stated there would be a fourth workday at the community gardens near the Taylor School building.
Pool passes must now be purchased at the pool. A number of residents took advantage of the new online payment option.
John Carroll University will again help host the Continental Cup, which involves over 500 athletes from all over the world. Due to construction at Shula Stadium, competitions will be held on the quad.
Top if Off Pizza
Talia Gahanian and Zahava Seltzer, owners of Top it Off Pizza, 14270 Cedar Road, presented a continuation of their appeal of the zoning board’s denial of changing the 2010 city council ruling that disallowed pick up orders from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The business is housed in Heights Jewish Center (HJC), which is adjacent to Purvis Park and pool.
The owners presented new data showing that, instead of a projected 35 to 50 orders per day, the average is 15 over nine hours, with a single day high of 37 cars and an average of three during the dinner hours. They found that delivery eats up 22% of their revenue. They offered to add signs in the lot and have a person help direct traffic during busy times.
Responding to questions by Vice Mayor Goldberg, the owners reported measures taken to promote business but noted that it had not increased. Goldberg suggested that perhaps this was not the best location. Gahanian replied that they have a solid customer base, but need two more years to get more established.
The city law director pointed out that since the location is in a two-family residential zoning district, there is no basis to remove the delivery only restriction during the summer months. The concern is for children and families’ safety in the busy parking lot between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Councilman Murphy said his 2010 vote was based on the police recommendation. Gahanian countered that their business has been drawing only 15 cars a day rather than the projected 35-50. Councilman Bullock, who is chair of the safety committee, said the Purvis parking lot is always a safety concern during the summer, even without additional traffic.
Councilman Consolo asked how the Heights Jewish Center benefits. The HJC receives a flat rental rate for kitchen use. Gahanian pointed out that the option for this type of food exists nowhere else in the Heights Jewish community.
Although he supports the business concept, Councilman Sims said the location hampers their ability to be successful.
Councilman Ertel said his primary concern was safety. Mrs. Gahanian said that the city could do more to help, by installing “Stop” and “Caution – Children” signs. The mayor agreed and said she would work on that.
Members of the synagogue argued for continuation of pick-up traffic, one comparing how this is being handled as opposed to Burger King. Others, including Gahanian and Martin Lippman, president of HJC, pointed out that on Saturdays, around noon, many people are arriving at the pool at the same time that many people are exiting the synagogue and there has never been a problem.
The mayor reiterated that the restaurant is an exception to the zoning code, and for the restaurant to remain it will have to adhere to the 2010 conditions. Councilman Bullock said that lack of business should cause the owners and their supporters to create a better business plan. MGahanian countered that it had been successful in many ways, but it would not be with delivery only. Goldberg asked if she would close if the conditions were not removed. Gahanian said that was possible.
Council upheld the zoning board’s restriction to delivery only service between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
High school football at JCU
Council granted John Caroll University’s (JCU) request to host the St. Ignatius vs. St. Xavier Cincinnati high school football game at Don Shula Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. and to extend the lighting curfew from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the 21 and 22 so that men’s and women’s soccer games could be rescheduled to those evenings at 7 p.m.
Fire department services
Council approved the payment of $8,000 to Shaker Heights for University Heights’ share to match a $25,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation to study sharing fire department services by the two cities.
Human resources manager
Council approved an ordinance on first reading for hiring a part-time human resources manager and paying up to $20,000, with the stipulation that the finance director return to council with information about the consultant alternative. The mayor explained the need for a skilled and experienced individual who is familiar with government regulations, compensation and benefits, workers compensation, recruitment, contracts and plan design changes. The position would not include benefits, and money that had been set-aside for a finance clerk would be used to pay for part of this position.
Council authorized an agreement with PayPal to provide online payment options for municipal fees. The initial experience for online pool passes resulted in fees of approximately $100 for the service.
Public records official
Council approved Law Director Ken Fisher’s request to rename the clerk of courts as the public records official for University Heights.
The building commissioner announced that the license bureau was moving to University Corners (at Cedar and Taylor).
Gas and water lines
Mayor Infeld noted that the six-month Green Road gas line replacement project should finish by the end of June and that the water line replacement on Bushnell Road should start at the end of June and be finished in two weeks.
LWV Observer: Patricia C. Solomon.
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