Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-6-13

MAY 6, 2013

  • Citizen comments
  • Bicycle legislation
  • National Preservation Month
  • Savings on bonds interest
  • Community Development Block Grants
  • Special Improvement Districts (SIDs)
  • Water and sewer code
  • Equipment purchases
  • Zoning variances
  • Bluestone Mayfield development
  • Tax abatements
  • Nighttown expansion
  • Phoenix Coffee loan
  • Building code alignment
  • Amusement devises
  • New ambulance

Council Member Janine Boyd was absent.

Citizen comments

Unruly bar patrons: Spencer Champion asked for guidance in how to work with the police when unruly patrons of his bar are asked to leave and then make trouble outside the premises. Mayor Edward Kelley invited him to meet with the police chief to find a mutually beneficial response.

Heights Bicycle Coalition: Brandon Henneman, representing the Heights Bicycle Coalition, thanked the city for its contributions toward promoting bicycle transportation and safety in the city, including the addition of bike racks throughout the city, May Bicycle Month, police bike patrols, and bike lanes. He also urged the city to convene a biking/pedestrian committee to develop a guiding vision and master plan for biking and walking in the city, to make sure the city reaches its potential for a vibrant streetscape. Mayor Kelley noted that the city is likely to appoint a transportation committee in early summer to look at these issues and others related to the NOACA transportation study.

Neighbor complaint: Cheyene Tool expressed deep frustration with neighbors on both sides of her home on Nelaview Road who are destroying property and vandalizing her car.

Bicycle legislation

Council Member Mary Dunbar welcomed members of the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition and thanked them for their efforts to promote bicycle safety and use throughout the year. She introduced legislation to further promote bicycle use in Cleveland Heights, citing a U.S. Department of Transportation policy that recognizes walking and bicycling as equal transportation modes. Council passed a resolution urging Cleveland Heights residents to use their bicycles for transportation to work and school and proclaiming May 2013 as Bike Month, May 8 as Bike to School Day, and May 17 as Bike to Work Day.

National Preservation Month

Council proclaimed May 2013 as National Preservation Month. The month is organized in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The city is also partnering with the Heights Library and Cleveland Heights Historical Society to sponsor two lectures and two walking tours.

Savings on bonds interest

Council approved the issuance and sale of bonds valued at about $1.625 million in order to refund at a lower interest cost the remainder owed on bonds issued in 2001. The city will save approximately $80,000 in interest.

Community Development Block Grants

Council reallocated Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds by moving $84,000 from street resurfacing to parking lot resurfacing and by moving $25,000 from storefront loans to support consultants who will work on the storefront loan program.

Special Improvement Districts (SIDs)

When at least 60 percent of property owners in a commercial district agree, Ohio law allows them to form a Special Improvement District (SID) to develop and fund plans to maintain and enhance the district’s economic viability. Every five years, SIDs submit development plans to council and request dispersal of funds collected on their behalf by the city to implement those plans.

Council approved legislation for the Cedar Fairmount, Cedar Lee, and Coventry Village SIDs. These include receipt and approval of five-year improvement plans for the Cedar Fairmount SID with an annual budget of $66,275, and the Cedar Lee SID with an annual cost of $140,688. For the Coventry Village SID, council passed legislation that includes a special assessment on the commercial district to generate funds for implementing the Coventry SID plan for the next five years.

Water and sewer code

Council updated the water and sewer rates and regulations code, bringing the wording in line with the Ohio Revised Code.

Equipment purchases

Council authorized the purchase of vehicles and equipment through the Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program, which generated lower purchase prices without using a noncompetitive bidding process. The purchases include: a Sports Utility Vehicle for the Parks Division for not more than $25,245; a backhoe for the Utilities Department for not more than $101,184; and, for the Public Works Department, a pick-up truck for not more than $20,104 and a cab protector and light bar for not more than $1,035.

Zoning variances

Council approved zoning variances to:

  • Ruffing Montessori School, 3380 Fairmount Blvd., to allow new signage and changes in its parking lot.
  • Craig Frabotta at 2831 Fairmount Blvd., to allow the building of a basketball court and a six to eight-foot ornamental metal fence.

Bluestone Mayfield development

Council authorized an amendment to the development plan for the Bluestone development at 3505 Mayfield Road. The developer will build eleven three-story townhouses in place of two twenty-two-unit loft buildings.

Tax abatements

Council extended the deadline for tax abatements in the Severance Community Reinvestment Area from July 7, 2013 to July 7, 2016. The deadline extension was needed due to delays in construction. The city offers tax abatements to support development in sections of the city designated as Community Reinvestment Areas.

Nighttown expansion

Council authorized the sale of 350 square feet of city-owned parking lot for $2,500 to Nighttown as part of the restaurant’s expansion plan.

Phoenix Coffee loan

Council authorized a $50,000 loan for five years from the city’s Commercial Revolving Loan Fund to Phoenix Coffee of Coventry to renovate a new space at 1793 Coventry Road. The new space will cost less in rent and utilities.

Building code alignment

Council adopted the Residential Building Code of Ohio, 2013 edition, as well as the National Electric Code of 2011, and the Ohio Building Code as part of the Cleveland Heights building code These changes bring local code in line with state standards.

Amusement devise

Council changed the license fees for “amusement devises” from $150 per device to $150 for the first device and $50 for each additional devise. These changes support businesses that offer arcade games.

New ambulance

Council authorized purchase of a new ambulance for the fire department for not more than $250,000. The purchase will be made through the Administrative Services Cooperative Purchasing Program.

LWV Observer: Susie Kaeser.

Note: YouTube videos of Cleveland Heights City Council meetings may be accessed at

These meeting summaries are abstracted from LWV observers’ written reports. The summaries have been edited and prepared by Anne McFarland, Charlene Morse, and Maryann Barnes. To receive e-mail postings of full reports, send an e-mail to or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase.

These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 4:55 PM, 05.15.2013