University Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-18-2017
SEPTEMBER 18, 2017
- Public comments
- Cleveland Heights Community Center
- Road improvements delayed
- Firehouse renovations
- Adding agenda items
- Amending definitions
- Planning commission meetings
- Tax levies
- Road improvements
- Nuisance property
- All Geared Up
Present were Mayor Susan Infeld, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, and council members Pamela Cameron, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Councilman Philip Ertel 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 p.m.
Swensons Drive In: A Beachwood resident who lives near Cedar and Green roads said that she and her neighbors weren’t consulted about Swensons, and expressed concern that the drive in, slated to open by the end of the year, will increase traffic accidents and disturb people in the neighborhood. Councilman Sims said he was disappointed that the resident was unaware of the project, and said he had participated in lengthy community discussions with Beachwood business owners and residents.
Firefighters union: Michael Dylan Brennan, who is running for University Heights mayor, said it was high time for the city to address the firefighters union’s concerns, which were voiced by union representative Keith Kanner during public comments in June. The union is currently in contract negotiations with the city.
Cleveland Heights Community Center
Mayor Infeld noted that residents of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District can use the facilities at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, located at Mayfield Road and Monticello Boulevard, by purchasing a pass at the center. Senior citizens interested in programs at the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center [located at the CH Community Center] have access to fitness programs, mahjong, bridge, and more for a $10 annual fee. Those interested can call the University Heights Community Development Department for more information.
Road improvement delays
The mayor reported that two Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency road improvement plans for Warrensville Center Road have been delayed until spring. The programs, which will improve pedestrian safety and add bike lanes to the busy road, will be bid out this winter.
Council voted five to one against the transfer of $22,000 from the capital improvement fund to the general fund for firehouse renovations, saying the mayor exceeded her $5,000 spending authority and didn’t inform council about the project. Councilman Rach also expressed disappointment that the project didn’t go out to bid. Although Councilwoman Weiss was vocal about her support for council’s position, she made the motion to approve the fund transfer saying it was unwise to have a negative account balance in the general fund. The mayor said the project began in response to a complaint from the fire union about a hole in the kitchen’s linoleum floor that was found to contain asbestos. When the tile was removed, the cabinets were damaged, as well as the sinks and countertops. She said she viewed each project as a separate project, well within her $5,000 spending limit, which is why she didn’t consult council.
Council approved an ordinance, on second reading, that allows any council member to add agenda items to the council meeting agenda. Vice Mayor Pardee said the ordinance was created to ensure the public is notified of new agenda items prior to council meetings.
Council approved an ordinance, on second reading, amending the definition of the term “post” to include “online posting.” The term “posts” will now include e-mail and website postings.
Planning commission meetings
Council approved an ordinance, on second reading, establishing a regularly scheduled monthly planning commission meeting. The mayor would have the ability to cancel the meeting if there is no business to discuss.
Council approved a resolution, on second reading, accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county fiscal offices.
Road improvement grant
Council approved a resolution, on emergency, to apply for a grant from the Transportation for Livable Communities grant program to make Warrensville Center Road more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. The $100,000 grant, which became available in August, would extend the sidewalks where Warrensville Center Road intersects Milford Road, Meadowbrook Boulevard, Hillbrook Road, Traymore Road, Silsby Road and Washington Boulevard. Community Development Coordinator Patrick Grogan-Meyer said extending sidewalks into the street increases safety for pedestrians and bicyclists by reducing the time it takes them cross the street.
Law Director Luke McConville said that Epic Lifestyle LLC, a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the owner of a nuisance property on Silsby Road, is asking to be named the receiver so he can complete the project and bring the property up to code. The plaintiff has offered to pay for repairs upfront.
All Geared Up
Councilwoman Pamela Cameron invited University Heights families to All Geared Up, which will be held at Canterbury Elementary School at 2530 Canterbury Road on Sunday, Oct. 1. The bike ride and festival event includes bicycle safety instruction, a bake sale, and a pre-owned bike sale.
Council approved a motion to go into executive session.
LWV Observer: Siobhan Leftwich.
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