Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-21-2017

FEBRUARY 21, 2017

  • Liquor permit
  • Fire department 2016 report
  • Police department 2016 report
  • Loan approval
  • Mutual aid agreements
  • Sanctuary city, rental issues
  • Mayor’s comments

Mayor Cheryl L. Stephens, Vice Mayor Jason Stein, and Council members Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Kahlil Seren and Melissa Yasinow were present. Michael N. Ungar was absent.

The meeting lasted from 7:36 to 8:38 pm.

Liquor permit application

Interim Director of Finance/Clerk of Council Mitch Michalec reported that DFR Coventry Restaurants Inc., doing business as Coventry Panini’s & Patio, 1819–1823 Coventry Road, has applied to the Ohio Department of Liquor Control for D5 and D6 permits.

Fire department 2016 report

Fire Chief Dave Freeman presented the fire department’s 2016 year-end report, noting 6,412 total runs (15 percent of these were emergency fire runs; the rest were medical emergency calls). In addition, 1,638 fire inspections were completed and 157 free smoke detectors were distributed. Other activities included fire safety classes for students in kindergarten through grade 7, safety classes at senior apartments, a CPR event at the community center, and Public Safety Night Out in partnership with the police department. Chief Freeman also discussed special projects, including completion of an agreement for joint dispatch that merges the Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid and University Heights police and fire into a single space at the MetroHealth facility on Severance Circle, and new fire response protocols with Automatic Aid Partners Shaker Heights and University Heights to improve coverage. Among the department’s 2016 notable achievements were the SAFER grant from FEMA, which pays salary and benefits for three employees for two years, totaling nearly $600,000, and a partnership with Tri-C for a new vocational education program with Heights High, focusing on fire and EMS training. He thanked the residents who support the department’s efforts.

Police department 2016 report

Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg presented the police department’s 2016 year-end report, providing statistics on staffing levels, calls for service (41,850; up 820 from 2015), animal calls (943), motor vehicle accidents (1,393), crime rates (of these, robbery and aggravated assault were both up; burglary and theft were at an all-time low), and arrests of adults (1,627, down from 2,019 in 2015) and juveniles (369, down from 411 in 2015). She also described activities of the community response team, crime suppression team, special response team, juvenile diversion program, and Cleveland Heights police academy. Among the goals and priorities for the coming year were strengthening the police-community relationship, developing strategies to recruit and retain a qualified and diverse workforce, training and employee development, and exploring opportunities for inter-municipal resource sharing.

Loan approval

Council authorized a loan under the city’s Commercial Revolving Loan Fund program to the Wine Cave Inc. to assist in the acquisition of La Cave Du Vin at 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd. The $60,000 loan will bear an annual interest rate of 3 percent with a five-year repayment schedule. An important consideration is the fact that La Cave Du Vin currently has a total of three full-time jobs and projects to create three additional full-time jobs during the first year, at least two of which will be made available to low-to-moderate income persons. It was also noted that Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are available for this purpose.

Mutual aid agreements

Council heard a first reading of a resolution to authorize mutual aid agreements with Notre Dame College for police services and emergency management.

Sanctuary city, rental issues

Kahlil Seren announced that on Feb. 23 he would be hosting a meeting in council chambers to discuss policies relevant to the sanctuary city debate, as well as rental occupancy permit restrictions related to delinquent taxes and nuisance abatement charges. [A video of the meeting is available on the city’s YouTube channel:; or]

Mayor’s comments

Mayor Stephens noted that Cleveland Heights became a Welcoming City earlier this month and has since shown the ability to put that into action. She proudly cited the example of Peter and Steve Billington and Chris Armington, who responded to a request from US Together to help refugee families coming into the city. They helped locate, collect and clean a significant number of items needed to furnish apartments for those families.

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 email postings of full reports, send an email 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 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:52 AM, 04.10.2017