Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-20-2017

MARCH 20, 2017

  • University Hospitals presentation
  • Public comments
  • Bid for pavement striping
  • Zoning code update
  • Master Plan adoption
  • Deadline extension for property tax exemptions
  • Term extension for HOME funds
  • CHPD Bicycle Auction
  • Non-bank ATM regulations
  • City employee compensation and benefits
  • CAC appointment
  • Charter review
  • Withdrawal of proposed mutual aid agreement
  • Playground upgrade
  • Active citizenry

Present were Mayor Cheryl L. Stephens, Vice Mayor Jason Stein, and council members Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Kahlil Seren and Melissa Yasinow. Michael N. Ungar was absent. The meeting lasted from 7:42 to 8:59 p.m.

University Hospitals presentation

Representatives from University Hospitals recognized the Cleveland Heights firefighter/paramedics who saved the life of emergency dispatcher Nick Pishnery, who suffered a heart attack in his Cleveland Heights home while undergoing physical therapy on Sept. 28, 2016. Hospital officials also presented the fire department with a Lucas device that delivers consistent, mechanically controlled chest compressions.

Public comments

Lee Road streetscape: On behalf of businesses in the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District, John Zagara commended the Lee Road streetscape improvements, mainly paving and lighting, and expressed optimism that the trend will continue with improvements to security, commercial development and property maintenance, parking, and outreach via social media.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser: Krissy Dietrich Gallagher, organizer of the sixth annual Cleveland Heights St. Baldrick's event on March 19, reported that more than $130,000 was raised for pediatric cancer research. The overall total for the six years the event has been running is roughly $500,000.

Noble Neighbors: Barb Sosnowski drew council’s attention to the upcoming communitywide event We Are Noble, May 19–21. The event celebrates life in the Noble Road district of Cleveland Heights. Information can be found at

City Charter review: Earl Pike, Susan Efroymson and Robert Brown spoke on behalf of a citizen group interested in a review of the city charter. The group favors direct election of the city’s mayor and would like to explore organizing council representation into wards. Recognizing that residents would have to approve any changes to the charter, the group hopes that the review process will move forward in time for voting in November 2017.

Bid for pavement striping

The city accepted the $159,957.37 bid of J.D. Striping & Services Inc. for the 2017–18 pavement striping program.

Zoning code update

Council approved, on second reading, amendments to sections of part 11 of the zoning code, to make the process for obtaining approvals more efficient. There was a public hearing about these adjustments on March 13.

Master Plan adoption

Council approved adoption of the Master Plan of the City of Cleveland Heights, dated March 10, 2017. The plan was developed with assistance from the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and includes review of land use and policy, economic development, housing and neighborhoods, parks and recreation, and transportation and infrastructure. The 16-month process involved a citizen steering committee, a staff project team, three public community meetings, and online surveys, all of which resulted in significant public input relating to current conditions, community vision, policy development, implementation plans, and priority projects. Council extended appreciation to Jeanne Diamond, Ken Dowell, Mike Gaynier, Kristin Hopkins, Howard Maier, Allison McCallum, Chuck Miller, William C. Mitchell, Yovan Radivoyevitch, Eric Silverman, Saroya Queen Tabor, and Julia Kious Zabel for their diligent service as members of the citizen steering committee. The full plan can be found on the city’s website at

Deadline extension for property tax exemptions

Council extended the deadline for filing applications for exemption from taxes for properties in the Expanded Severance Community Reinvestment Area from July 7, 2016, to July 7, 2023.

Term extension for HOME funds

The term of the HOME funds administered by the Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) for the city’s down payment assistance program was extended through Sept. 30, 2017. In November 2015 council authorized an agreement with HRRC to administer up to $88,000 in down payment assistance loans for qualifying Cleveland Heights residents to receive a loan of up to $10,000, consisting of HOME funds issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through Cuyahoga County. In March 2016 council increased the amount of HOME funds available under this down payment assistance program by $72,737, for a total contract budget of $160,737. Later in 2016. council extended the agreement, which was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016, to March 31, 2017. This latest term extension is necessary because HOME funds are still available, and the county has not yet proposed a 2017 contract concerning HOME funds but has indicated that a contract is forthcoming and will be retroactive to Dec. 1, 2016.

CHPD Bicycle Auction

The Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD) will host a bike auction on Sunday, April 2, noon to 3 p.m., in the parking lot behind City Hall. This event is cash only. Helmets will be free for kids under age 14.

Non-bank ATM regulations

On second reading, council enacted Chapter 753, Non-Bank Automated Teller Machines, of the city ordinances to regulate installation and security measures for all non-bank-owned ATMs, to make them less attractive targets for theft.

City employee compensation and benefits

Council approved, on second reading, the annual establishment of salary schedules, position classifications and other compensation, and benefits for officers and employees of the city, effective April 1, 2017.

CAC appointment

Council approved the appointment of Gretchen Mettler to fill a vacancy on the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

Charter review

Council’s Administrative Services Committee has recommended a review of the city charter, specifying that the task be undertaken in an open and transparent manner by a charter review commission comprising a diverse group of citizens. This group would conduct fact-finding as appropriate and identify issues to study and address. Examples of such issues might be Cleveland Heights’ form of government, gender-neutral language and cleanup of obsolete language, anti-discrimination language, emergency actions, term limits, etc. Council will continue to consider the issue of charter review.

Proposed mutual aid agreement withdrawn

Following questions raised by council members at their Feb. 21 meeting, city staff have determined that a proposed mutual aid agreement with Notre Dame College is not necessary. Council approved withdrawal of the relevant legislation.

Playground upgrade

The city will contract with Playworld Midstates for the purchase and installation of new playground equipment, shading and seating in Euclid Tot Lot, also known as Turtle Park, located at the corner of Euclid Heights Boulevard and Lancashire Road. The total cost shall not exceed $66,098. This would be a full replacement of the current playground equipment at the site, and is an approved project in the city’s 2017 capital budget.

Active citizenry

Recognizing that Cleveland Heights is a community of engaged and committed activists who may not always agree, Mayor Stephens emphasized the shared desire for community betterment.

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 5, Posted 1:13 PM, 05.01.2017