Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-15-2017

MAY 15, 2017

  • Public comments
  • New firefighter
  • Friends of Cain Park raffle
  • New finance director/clerk of council
  • Charter review commission legislation
  • Replacement pages for city code
  • Energy conservation bonds
  • HHCC employees’ income tax allocation
  • Congestion mitigation and air-quality funding
  • National Merit Scholarship winners
  • MetroHealth “micro-hospital” at Severance
  • Top of the Hill memorandum
  • Peddlers and solicitors fees raised
  • National Gun Violence Awareness Day
  • Events announced by council members

All council members were present: Cheryl L. Stephens (mayor), Jason Stein (vice mayor), Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Kahlil Seren, Michael N. Ungar and Melissa Yasinow. The meeting lasted from 7:30 to 8:40 p.m.

Public comments

Renaming a public park: Dennis Sutcliffe of Derbyshire Road asked that the small park at Derbyshire Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard be named in honor of neighbors Katie and Ray Murphy, who have long maintained the park at their own expense. He offered to fund a plaque for the space.

Charter review commission: Three citizens spoke about the charter review commission. Bob Brown of Hampshire Road expressed hope that the commission will be diverse and independent, examine governance issues, and place amendments on the ballot in a timely fashion, no later than November 2018. Susan Efroymson of Severn Road said city government could be stronger and more able to pivot, and urged timely, yet thoughtful, action. Earl Pike opined that the requirement that commission members not have an opinion about the form government should take might exclude some who are thoughtful.

Vandemar Road good news: CJ Nash of Vandemar Road, having previously brought serious concerns about rezoning to council, reported that the house at 1419 Vandemar had been purchased by a good developer who has remodeled it and is preparing to sell the property.

Top of The Hill project: Paul Volpe of Fairmount Boulevard, an architect and member of the FutureHeights board, urged that the second developer for this development include housing for sale as well as for rent. He expressed appreciation for council members who have attended FutureHeights meetings and urged the inclusion of his organization in planning, as well as consideration of making FutureHeights the Community Development Corporation in Cleveland Heights. A Mr. Moss of Cedarbrook Road expressed disappointment that the project “is back at square one almost a year after” the original request for proposals. Davis Flaherty from Flaherty & Collins Properties, the new developer, agreed with Volpe that the market needs units for sale in this mixed-use development.

New firefighter/paramedic

One new firefighter was sworn in prior to the meeting.

Friends of Cain Park raffle

Molly McGuinan, representing Friends of Cain Park, spoke of the mission and accomplishments of her organization. A recent raffle sold 75 chances to win. With the help of Mayor Stephens, she awarded the winning prize package, two tickets to each show being presented at Cain Park this summer, to Anne Marie Wolfson.

New finance director/clerk of council

Council appointed Laurie Sabin to this position effective June 5, 2017. Her professional history was reviewed and council members were all satisfied with her selection.

Charter review commission legislation

Council approved, on second reading, a resolution establishing a charter review commission to review the city’s charter and prescribing the number of commissioners and method of appointment. Carol  Roe responded to citizen comments made earlier by expressing commitment to all kinds of diversity, including representation from each ward in the city. Mayor Stephens added that all seven members of council are in favor of moving forward and noted that the commission can ask for legislation or ballot issues to be created at any time in the process, not just at the conclusion. Application for membership on the commission can be made online. A link is on the city’s home page at www.clevelandheights.com. The deadline is June 23.

Replacement pages for city code approved

This annual piece of housekeeping legislation brings the codified ordinances up to date with the inclusion of legislation passed in the previous year.

Energy conservation bonds

An ordinance, providing for the issuance and sale of bonds in the maximum principal amount of $6,050,000, for the purpose of paying costs of acquiring and installing energy conservation measures in city buildings and facilities, was presented on first reading.

HHCC employees’ income tax allocation

Council authorized allocation of 100 percent of the Heights-Hillcrest Communications Center (HHCC) employees’ municipal income taxes to the HHCC.

Congestion mitigation and air-quality funding

Council approved an application for congestion mitigation and air-quality federal funding. Congress has set aside monies for these projects that the city can apply for through the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

National Merit Scholarship winners

Michael Ungar proudly announced that three Cleveland Heights residents are National Merit Scholarship winners: Ava Levin, Grace Protasiewicz and Zoe Solt.

MetroHealth “micro-hospital” at Severance

Mary Dunbar introduced, and council approved, a motion at the behest of the board of control, recommending an amendment to the Severance Plan to allow the MetroHealth System to build a 12-bed “micro-hospital” in unused space in its facility on Severance Circle. This will create 25 new jobs. Dunbar serves on the board of control.

Top of the Hill memorandum

Council authorized negotiation of a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Flaherty & Collins Properties concerning the Top of the Hill [development site] at Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard.

Peddlers and solicitors fees

Annual licensing fees for solicitors and peddlers, including food trucks, will be raised from $10 to $50. The current fee has been in effect since 1972.

National Gun Violence Awareness Day

Council proclaimed June 2, 2017 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in the City of Cleveland Heights. Kahlil Seren spoke eloquently about gun violence, and the death and trauma guns produce. He thanked Moms Demand Action for bringing this event to council’s attention and urged that everyone wear orange in recognition on June 2.

Events announced by council members

Melissa Yasinow announced the We Are Noble Festival on May 20, the Roxboro Run on the same date, and a meeting about the future of the sewer program on May 16. She urged residents to lock their cars and hide any valuables left in the car. Mary Dunbar detailed the many Bike Month events scheduled in the coming week. Mayor Stephens spoke about Women Out Walking, the We Are Noble Festival, and the Roxboro Run and Walk.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

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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.

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 1:56 PM, 07.25.2017