University Heights City Council meeting highlights 7-13-2015

JULY 13, 2015

  • Heights Jewish Center (HJC)
  • Kollel Yad Chai Mordechai
  • Ciuni and the tennis court project
  • Workers comp management
  • Bonds issued
  • Permit parking near Wiley
  • Tower leases
  • Tax budget
  • Paving change order
  • Public park

All council members were present. Councilwoman Pamela Cameron arrived after roll call so was officially listed as excused.

Heights Jewish Center (HJC)

Council approved several planning commission recommendations for HJC projects in a U-2 district. [U-2 is a residential area; HJC is located there under a variance]. The first was to operate a summer camp for 55 children, which actually began on June 22. Council members engaged in a lengthy discussion regarding the appropriateness of their approving religious activities within a religious institution. HJC President Martin Lipman explained that the camp was originally to be a commercial activity [which is excluded in U-2 districts], but the center decided to organize the camp themselves after the issue had already been sent to the planning commission and could not be withdrawn due to the required number of days for public notice of changes.

The second recommendation was for a driving school to be operated by HJC under the name New Direction Driving School. The center would like to offer drivers’ education so that the students can attend gender-segregated classes. They will only offer classroom training on site—no actual driving. Councilwoman Adele Zucker was the only dissenting vote. She felt that it required more consideration.

The third recommendation was for the operation of a creamery to be run as an independent business, which will lease space from the center to produce non-dairy ice cream. This will be a wholesale operation with one to two trucks per week delivering supplies, and with vans distributing the ice cream.

Kollel Yad Chai Mordechai

Council approved the planning commission’s recommendation for the Kollel Yad Chai Mordechai project final site plans. The new facility, to be located at 2476-2492 South Green Road, will be 9,400 square feet on a 4,800 square foot print. A kollel is a school and sanctuary. This will be an institutional building but designed to fit into a residential neighborhood.

Public park

Council approved the planning commission’s recommendation for the community public park final site plans. Rob Habel, from Braun & Steidl Architects, presented the drawings. They are ready to go out to bid shortly in order to begin work in the fall. The earthwork and structures will be completed this fall, with landscaping to be completed next spring. Fenwick Road will be torn up for utilities at some point, but the contractor will be responsible for managing the disruption.

Council also approved a motion to advertise for bids for the public park project. The advertising could take five to six weeks. Contractors will examine the project at a pre-bid meeting. Braun & Steidl is preparing bid drawings.

Ciuni and the tennis court project

Council approved the hiring of Joseph Ciuni as engineer for the project to rebuild several of the tennis courts. Grant funding for this project includes the cost of an engineer. The payment, and the work, will be in addition to Ciuni’s retainer as the city’s engineer.

Workers comp management

Council authorized a contract with Compmanagement Inc., for the purpose of providing third-party administrator services with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, in the amount of $7,000. The city has used Compmanagement for three years. The company were able to move the city to a different group, reducing the cost.

Bonds issued

Council approved the issuance and sale of bonds in the principal amount of $1.8 million to pay the costs of constructing and equipping a public park area and related improvements. Squire Patton Boggs is the bond council, and Huntington Bank will most likely sell [the] bonds.

Permit parking near Wiley

An ordinance amending the city code to establish a resident permit-parking program for the streets surrounding Wiley School while it is being used as a temporary high school remained tabled. Mayor Susan Infeld reported that three council members sent her e-mails expressing their strong feeling that parking will not become an issue and that this measure is not required. Police Chief Steven Hammett had requested the ordinance as a precautionary measure.

Tower leases

Council authorized a consent letter agreement with American Tower Corporation, granting city consent to the ground lease sublease and leaseback between American Tower Corporation and Verizon Communications Inc. Payment will come now from American Tower Corporation instead of directly from Verizon, but there are no other material changes to the agreement.

Tax budget

Council adopted the 2016 tax budget. The tax millage will remain the same in 2016, as the bond for Purvis Park has been retired and replaced by the bond for the new community park.

Paving change order

Major street paving has been substantially completed. Some streets required less work than budgeted for, leaving a remainder of $75,000 in the contract with Chagrin Valley Paving Inc. Ciuni [had] asked council to release the additional $23,217.75 in the budget prior to bidding, which would mean almost $100,000 available to do additional large street patching. At least 20 streets need patches [measuring] at least one lane wide and 100-feet long. Chagrin Valley Paving will do as much patching as it can until funds run out. Council approved adding the additional funds to the contract.

LWV Observer: Wendy Deuring.

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 of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 7:23 PM, 07.20.2015