University Heights City Council special meeting highlights 7-19-2017

JULY 19, 2017

  • 2018 tax budget
  • Home-based business complaint
  • Fall tree-planting project
  • NEORSD grant for street sweeper
  • Service revolvers trade-in
  • Executive session to discuss University Square

Present were Mayor Susan Infeld, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, and council members Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims and Michele Weiss. Mark Wiseman was absent. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville and Finance Director William Sheehan. Kelly Thomas, clerk of council, was excused, and Mayor Infeld carried out the clerk’s duties. The meeting was held from 8–9:23 p.m., at which time council went to executive session. Because this was a special meeting, there were no public comments nor director reports.

2018 tax budget

It is an annual requirement to provide a public hearing of the tax budget and then certify to the county how the taxes are collected and used. Finance Director Sheehan prepared the proposed budget statement by making assumptions about the second half of 2017 and applying it against the tax revenue still owed by the county to the city, based on varying millage rates. The proposed tax budget was approved, with Councilwoman Cameron abstaining due to not having information in advance of the meeting.

Home-based business complaint

David Mendlovic asked council to reverse the decision by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) which granted a special use permit to Hadassah Munk to operate a wig-cleaning business from her home at 4499 Groveland Road. Mendlovic lives next door. Gary Fishman, attorney for Mendlovic, told council that the rules for operating a business from one’s home stipulate that receiving deliveries, generating a high number of visitors, and creating excessive traffic and noise are forbidden, and yet are clearly evident. Many photos were presented to council showing cars parked on the street and on Mendlovic’s front lawn. Munk’s home is set back on the lot, placing her front door near her neighbor’s bedroom window. Mendlovic complained of excessive noise from the house, doors slamming, people arriving at all hours, and excessive amounts of trash for pickup.

Several other neighbors then came forward, agreeing that traffic on Groveland Road is a serious issue, but stating that it predates Munk’s arrival. The street is often used as a cut-through, and there is great concern about speeding cars, but not about the business. They said that the house at 4499 Groveland had been empty for much of the prior two years, and that they felt that Munk had greatly improved it since she moved in this past January.

Munk then spoke. She explained that she is a single mother and works only while her daughter is at school, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, and two evenings until 9 p.m. Customers are scheduled, at most, every 15 minutes. There might be some overlap with one guest arriving before the other has left, but that would be the extent of it. She already has all the work she can handle, so there won’t be an increase. The car parked on the front yard was a friend of hers who was unable to see the driveway in the snow. The deliveries are because she does “too much shopping on Amazon” and the large pile of trash, which Mendlovic had photographed behind her house, was from her cleaning out items left behind in the garage and attic by the previous owners. Munk said that Mendlovic had never spoken to her. The first she heard of the issue was via a strongly worded letter from his attorney. She will put a “closer” on her front door to prevent it from banging now that she knows the noise is an issue.

Council voted unanimously to uphold the special use permit from the BZA, and noted that since the permit needs to be reissued annually the issue will be reviewed again as a standard matter.

Fall tree-planting project

Service Director Jeffrey Pokorny received council’s approval to seek bids for the annual fall tree-planting project, once again planting approximately 300 trees, following the same process as previous years.

NEORSD grant for street sweeper

Pokorny announced that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) is offering up to 25 percent of the funds collected from stormwater fees back to the cities, [to enable them] to take steps to reduce sediment and debris accumulation in the drains. Council authorized a grant application for the cost of purchasing a new street sweeper. The current sweeper is 15 years old and rusting heavily.

Service revolvers trade-in

Police Chief Hammett has received a bid from Vance’s Law Enforcement to purchase the police department’s Sig handguns and to sell it Glock handguns at a net cost to the city of $314. It is recommended that police revolvers be replaced every five to 10 years, and the city’s guns are 11 years old. The Glock handguns would cost $15,758 and Vance will pay $15,454 for the current service revolvers.

Executive session to discuss University Square

Council went to executive session to discuss real-estate matters relating to University Square. Mayor Infeld reported that council would return to the meeting at the conclusion of the executive session to adjourn the meeting but did not expect any additional public business to take place.

Next meeting

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m., unless a special meeting is scheduled.

LWV Observer: Wendy S Deuring.

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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.

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