Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-18-2014

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

  • Public comments
  • Roadwork and other bids
  • 2013 Public Safety Annual Reports
  • HVAC contract
  • Turkey Ridge
  • Outstanding Neighbor of the Month Award
  • Silver Sneakers
  • Community announcements
  • Snow removal issues
  • Chessie Bleick

Council Member Janine R. Boyd was absent.

Public comments

Residents’ parking problems: Resident Justin Brennis spoke about the parking situation on his street, Stillman Road north of Cedar Road. Too few off-street spaces are available for renters and they can no longer utilize St. Ann Church’s parking lot. He said they have been calling the police each night for permission to park on the street, but this will no longer be permitted. City lots are a long and unsafe distance away. Residents would like the city to issue on-street parking permits or provide some other parking alternative.

Turkey Ridge tax abatement: Six residents, from Kenilworth Mews, Brownstones at Derbyshire and other nearby private dwellings, protested the proposed extension of the tax abatement area beyond the 10 units being planned on Turkey Ridge, which would include their sections. They claim it would set up unequal and unfair taxation and create difficulty in selling nonabated dwellings. They desire a transparent and comprehensive plan for the neighborhood and would like to be included in the discussion. They asked whether a housing survey, required by state law, had been done to establish [whether] economic distress and disinvestment in the area would warrant lowering tax revenues. One resident pointed out that rents in the area are high and its proximity to University Circle and medical centers make it a “hot” niche neighborhood. The legislation is having a second reading tonight.

Roadwork and other bids

Council granted authority for receiving bids for the 2014 street resurfacing and surface treatment programs and for requests for qualifications from firms providing water efficiency and performance contracting.

2013 Public Safety Annual Reports

This new agenda item was added to improve communications with citizens by sharing staff reports. This evening the fire and police chiefs gave the 2013 Public Safety Annual Reports.

Fire Chief Dave Freeman’s detailed report included useful charts and video demonstrations. Starting in 2009, a spike in calls is consistent with trends across the country. In 2013, 27 percent of calls were for fire and 73 percent for emergency medical services. The chief attributed this to the aging of the population and the closing of Huron Road Hospital. He also discussed training, new equipment and inspection services.

Police Chief Jeffrey E. Robertson reviewed the new departmental organization chart, juvenile diversion programs, and crime trend analysis; the latter provides “predictive policing.” The approximately 30,000 calls for service per year have remained consistent. He urged citizens to attend meetings with police around the city and explained how to access police reports on the city website.

HVAC contract

Council authorized a one-year agreement with Smith & Oby for HVAC systems maintenance for the year commencing Nov. 15, 2013, at a cost of $72,100.

Turkey Ridge

Council Member Jason Stein stated that legislation establishing [the] boundaries of a Community Reinvestment Area in the Turkey Ridge would not be voted upon this evening. There will be a third reading on March 3 after public input and additional discussion. Council is working with staff to place information on the city website to help the public understand why this legislation is being sought.

Outstanding Neighbor of the Month Award

Stein announced the establishment of Councilman Stein’s Outstanding Neighbor of the Month Award. Nominations can be made through his blog at or at

Building code fees

Council amended eight sections of the city’s building code to increase certain fees to better cover administrative costs of services such as inspection, plans examination and permits.

Silver Sneakers

The Community Center fitness programs are now eligible for “Silver Sneakers” coverage through many seniors’ insurance plans.

Community announcements

  • The Hockey Time America tournament will take place at the Community Center.
  • Registration for summer programs will start soon.
  • Cleveland Heights Stop the Hate student contest winners will read and discuss their winning essays on critical issues raised by our youth on Feb. 21, from 7–8:30 p.m. at the Lee Road Library.
  • A seed swap event will take place at Grace Lutheran Church on Saturday Feb. 22, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Snow removal issues

Cleveland Heights ordinances prohibit private plow services from depositing snow onto public areas. Residents should inform their contractors of this. The city website provides a list of registered snowplow contractors, but this is not a list of recommendations.

Chessie Bleick

Mayor Dennis Wilcox noted with sadness the passing of Chessie Bleick, a well-known citizen and staunch supporter of Cain Park and city recreation programs.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

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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