LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights [online 12-7-2015]

DECEMBER 7, 2015

  • Public comments
  • Traffic light changes
  • Finance software maintenance
  • Finance legislation
  • Overnight parking permits
  • Nuisance properties
  • Zoning variances
  • City’s liability insurance
  • Citizen appointments
  • 2016 recreation regulations
  • Liberty Row Oaks
  • Mayor thanks the vice mayor

All council members were present.

Public comments

Lee Road valet parking: Chris Armington, owner of the Tavern Company at 2260 Lee Road, spoke regarding a proposal for designating four valet parking zones on Lee Road from Silsby Road to Cedar Road. He and other business owners supporting the proposal are seeking help from the city in securing the necessary permits and access to the city-owned parking garage. Mayor Dennis Wilcox referred Armington to Susanna O’Neil, assistant city manager, to set up a meeting.

Property compensation: Cheyenne Toole of Nela View Road returned to council to request compensation for items removed from her property by the city. Mayor Wilcox referred her to the law director.

Traffic light changes

Council authorized bidding for upgrading the traffic light at the intersection of Lee Road and North Park Boulevard and for removing traffic lights at Lee and East Monmouth roads and at East Overlook and Coventry roads.

Finance software maintenance

Council renewed an agreement with New World Systems Corporation for financial and payroll software maintenance. The agreement covers the three-year period from Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2018. It provides for total fees in the amount of $89,910.

Finance legislation

Council heard a first reading of three pieces of legislation regarding financial matters. The first item would create a “Budget Stabilization Account” to allow the city to set aside a designated percentage of revenue each year to build up a reserve for use in times of decreased revenue or increased expenses. The second would make adjustments to general fund and special revenue fund activities for the current year. The third would make appropriations for the expenses of all city departments for the Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2016 fiscal year.

Overnight parking permits

Council approved an annual measure suspending enforcement of the overnight parking ban for specific streets (Kensington, Hillcrest, Belmar, Glenmont, and Eddington roads) for the period ending Dec. 31, 2016, or at an earlier time, if council so prescribes, and providing for permit parking on specified portions of these streets. These streets have insufficient off-street parking for the apartment buildings there.

Nuisance properties

Council declared the following residential properties to be blighted and a health and safety hazard warranting abatement by demolition:

  • 3337 Desota Avenue
  • 1030 Nela View Road
  • 1689 Lee Road

Council Member Jeff Coryell urged his colleagues to consider a foreclosure bond ordinance that would require owners, usually banks, of properties that are in foreclosure and/or vacant, to post a $10,000 bond to the city. If the owners fail to maintain their properties, the city can use the posted bond to do so.

Zoning variances

Council granted variances to:

  • Bremec on the Heights Garden Center, 13410 Cedar Road, to permit a 6.13 foot-tall, free-standing commercial identification sign with 10.58 square feet of signage on each face and 1.42 square feet of signage on each side of the sign base.
  • Frank Kuhar, doing business as Revived Housing Developers Inc., 1203 Alpine Road, to permit an attached garage to be constructed with front-facing doors.
  • Motorcars Honda, 3077 Mayfield Road, to permit auto-oriented office and retail use on this parcel.
  • Eustacia Netzel-Hatcher, to permit the existing nonconforming single-family use at 1450 Rydalmount Road to be extended to include the vacant lot at 1474 Rydalmount Road, thereby enabling the two parcels to apply to the Planning Commission to be joined into one parcel.

Vice Mayor Cheryl Stephens abstained from voting on the variance to Bremec’s due to a conflict of interest.

City’s liability insurance

Council approved an agreement with Arthur J. Gallagher & Company for continuation of the city’s protected liability self-insurance program at a cost not to exceed $384,813, and for increasing the city’s excess liability limit from $10 million to $15 million.

Citizen appointments

Council approved the following appointments:

  • Board of Zoning Appeals: Gail Bromley, reappointed to a four-year term for Jan. 31, 2016 through Jan. 31, 2020.
  • Fair Practices Board: Jeff Smith, appointed to a three-year term for Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2018.
  • Landmark Commission: James Edmonson and Margaret Lann, both reappointed to three-year terms for Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2018.

2016 recreation regulations

Council heard a first reading of ordinances to establish 2016 use regulations and rates for admission and other services for Cumberland Swimming Pool, Cain Park, and other recreation locations, and to approve entertainment and recreation programs in Cain Park and other locations.

Liberty Row Oaks

Council Member Coryell noted the two signs that have been installed on North Park Boulevard calling attention to the Liberty Row Oaks—trees planted after the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, that ended World War I. A plaque at ground level, honoring one of the fallen, accompanies each tree. The new signs were designed by city staff and incorporate some of the design elements of the original plaques. These are the first signs to be installed; there may be more in the future.

Mayor thanks the vice mayor

Mayor Wilcox noted that Vice Mayor Stephens will not be present at council’s next meeting, which will be his last as a member of council and mayor. Therefore, he took the opportunity to voice his appreciation for her service as vice mayor and chair of the finance committee, citing in particular her work to pass Issue 53 this past November. He credited the current upswing in Cleveland Heights, in part, to her efforts.

LWV Observer: Katherine Solender.

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 mbarnes9515@gmail.com 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 9, Issue 1, Posted 1:10 PM, 12.16.2015