University Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-2-2017

OCTOBER 2, 2017

  • Public comments
  • Gearity needs volunteers
  • Concerns about Swenson’s
  • Cedar-Taylor gateway
  • Signal pole project
  • Special permit denied
  • Self-insurance pool
  • Public works grant
  • Joint project approved
  • Leaf collection

Present were Mayor Susan Infeld and council members Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Vice mayor Susan Pardee was absent. Also present were Luke McConville, law director; William Sheehan, finance director; and Kelly Thomas, clerk of council. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:45 p.m.

Public comments 

Swensons Drive In: Beachwood residents said Swensons Drive In, scheduled to open by year-end, will reduce their quality of life. Several cited concerns about ongoing early morning construction, while others worried that restaurant traffic will turn onto Fenway Drive. They stressed that noise, trash, and light pollution would lower their property values. Residents were vocal [in stating] that the cities of Beachwood and University Heights did not notify them about the project.

Rental permit fees: A Charney Road resident, who has lived in a home owned by her father for more than six years, received a notice from the city that she and her father were in violation because they don’t have a rental permit and she doesn’t pay a rental fee. She said the notice was unfair because she is perfectly safe, the home is well kept, and the property is an asset to the city.

John Carroll University: Two senators from the university’s student union introduced themselves, saying they wanted to listen to community concerns and hopefully contribute something to the community in return.

Gearity needs volunteers

The mayor reported that Gearity Professional Development School needs volunteers to help students with homework. Volunteers are needed weekdays between 3:15 and 4:30 p.m. Those interested should call 216-371-6515.

Concerns about Swensons

In response to ongoing concerns, Mayor Infeld reported that Swensons employs college students in good standing, doesn’t have a drive-through or speakers, and has curbed areas so customers are contained on the site. She also said that Beachwood residents had been notified about the project. She noted concerns about early morning construction and promised to investigate.

Cedar-Taylor gateway

The mayor’s $8,900 Cedar-Taylor project, which will be presented to the University Heights Planning Commission, would comprise a pocket park, benches and planters. Sidewalks on the east side of Cedar and Taylor roads would be extended for pedestrian safety. Councilwoman Weiss said that council unanimously approved a similar project on April 17, and set aside $25,000 to create four gateways. Councilman Wiseman expressed concern about the mayor’s spending, citing her $5,000 spending limit. Councilman Rach added that council’s plan was designed to create businesses, not spend money on pocket parks. The mayor noted that she has held four public meetings, to positive response.

Signal pole project

Council approved the planning commission’s recommendation to install signal poles on property owned by the Speedway gas station at Cedar and Green roads. City Engineer Joe Cuini said that the city has asked Speedway’s owner to allow University Heights to install the poles on its property, and that Speedway will give the city right-of-way. The city was unaware that Speedway owned the right-of-way when it began the project.

Special permit denied

Council denied a South Belvoir Boulevard resident’s appeal to overturn a ruling denying him a special one-year permit to park a commercial truck in his driveway. Councilman Sims said overturning the ruling would make it difficult for the city to distinguish who should, and should not, receive a special permit.

Self-insurance pool

Council approved a resolution, on emergency, admitting Beachwood as a new member of the Northern Ohio Risk Management Association Self-Insurance Pool Inc. Finance Director William Sheehan said the pool allows University Heights to take on a variety of insurance projects, and “smooths out” insurance claims because they’re spread out over the pool.

Public works grant

Council approved a resolution, on emergency, to apply for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to repave Washington Boulevard from Cedar to Wynne roads. The $1.1 million project will be shared with Cleveland Heights, which has funded $50,000 of the project. University Heights will fund $200,000, and $500,000 has been funded by Cleveland Water. The remainder, $380,000, would be funded by the grant.

Joint repaving approved

Council approved a resolution, on emergency, for a cooperative agreement between Cleveland Heights and University Heights to repave Washington Boulevard from Cedar to Wynne Roads.

Leaf collection

Curbside leaf collection will begin on Monday, Oct. 16.

Park replanted

Service Director Jeffrey Pokorny is asking the contractor who seeded and planted the University Heights Community Park to redo his work. The city is withholding payment until replanting is complete.

LWV Observer: Siobhan Leftwich.

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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 University Heights
Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.16.2017