Cleveland Heights passes sustainable zoning legislation

On May 21, Cleveland Heights City Council passed sustainable zoning legislation. The revised zoning code aims to encourage sustainable development and practices in commercial and residential areas of the city.

Vice Mayor Dennis R. Wilcox explained the city's three-part sustainability goals to council. “Sometimes we think about the environmental part, but it’s really social and economic sustainability as well,” he said.

The legislation contains amendments regulating rain barrels, chicken coops, compost bins, farmers markets, greenhouses, solar panels and wind turbines.

The zoning code also includes major landscaping changes. New rules ensure the preservation of trees and other native plant species, and encourage water conservation in Cleveland Heights.

At a May 14 work session, council members debated bicycle regulations and community gardens. The approved zoning code includes revisions for both.

Newly constructed public and commercial spaces in excess of 25,000 square feet, or those with major additions, are now required to have bicycle parking spaces as well as nearby shower and locker facilities for cyclists. Each community garden can contain one beehive, as long as members approve it. Disapproving community garden members, or residents living within 300 feet of the garden, have an opportunity to complain to the zoning administrator.

Both Wilcox and Bonnie Caplan, council member, noted that the zoning codes took substantial planning and will influence the future of Cleveland Heights.

“A city should lead by example, and this is one way we can lead,” Wilcox said. “I think we will be looking at the city to be more sustainable in the future.”

Caplan said the zoning laws were a result of the community’s commitment to sustainability. “I congratulate the community and the staff for putting this all together because I think it is a wonderful thing that we’re doing,” she said.

See the full zoning code on www.clevelandheights.com.

Simone Jasper

Simone Jasper is a senior at Beaumont School. She is a staff writer for the Beaumont Voice student newspaper, and an intern for the Heights Observer.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 3:44 PM, 05.22.2012