Beating a dead turkey

To the Editor:

Yes, again, I write about the turkey of a project planned for Turkey Ridge along Edgehill Road.

I attended the Cleveland Heights Planning Commission hearing on Aug. 12 regarding the high-end condos planned for this parcel because of my intent to address, yet again, my concerns about the landslide potential of this hillside.

During his presentation to the commission, the geotechnical engineer hired by the developer—the same engineer who, in a 2006 report, described the previous landslides on that hill—actually admitted the possibility of landslides. He assured the commission that such landslides will only occur between the condo piers and further down the hill. Hence, those proposed, fabulously ugly condos on their caisson perches will remain damage-free when a landslide happens!

When I pointed out that the landslide location and depth of soil presented a danger to those living at the bottom of the hill, the planning commission chair joked that it didn’t matter because it would be entering Cleveland, hence it wasn’t the city’s concern. 

Yes, a joke, I know. But his comments afterward proved that, in fact, it was no joke.

I wanted to know: who will bear the liability for bodily or property damage from a possible landslide? Silly me for attempting to tap, at least, into their financial concerns—but no, the chair assured us that the skilled legal teams for the city and the developer will protect them from liability. Good to know. But what about those living at the base of this hill, who may lose their homes, garages, or health should a landslide occur? No problem, as long as the city and the developer have the liability issue in order!

City leaders, who include members of the planning commission, are supposed to protect the safety, welfare and health of the residents in this city. City Council is certainly aware of this duty because, for the immediate safety of city residents, it has passed all legislation as an emergency measure for the past eight to nine months!

One requirement before the planning commission can approve zoning changes is that those changes pose no threat to safety, welfare or health of residents. Yet, the potential for harming others, including those who live adjacent to Turkey Ridge, is not viewed as a threat.

So while the chair of the commission spoke, toward the end of hearing, of his trust in city leaders, one has to ask just what kind of “trust” is he referring to? 

It certainly isn’t the kind of trust where city leaders will protect or respect residents or taxpayers. The approval of this turkey of a plan by yet another group of city leaders demonstrates that, here in Cleveland Heights, it is OK: to ignore or minimize a real threat to the safety of people; to keep secret and hidden from public scrutiny a soils report that is required and used by every other city before continuing the planning of a development; to support a Community Reinvestment Area in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city; to continually drive development that suits only the developer and comforts council members in their misguided and desperate efforts to find more revenue streams.

Diane Hallum

Diane Hallum
Cleveland Heights

Read More on Letters To The Editor
Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 1:50 PM, 08.28.2014