Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 1-21-2020

JANUARY 21, 2020


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Clerk of council’s report
  • Fire pumper truck
  • Financing revenue bonds
  • Overnight Parking
  • Public works projects
  • Council member comments
  • Mayor’s report


Council members present were Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein, Michael N. Ungar and Melissa Yasinow. The meeting lasted from 7:44-8:59 pm. 

Public Comments

Sixteen citizens and two emails shared a wide variety of concerns. 

Top of the Hill: Fran Mench informed council that she is collecting signatures for a petition asking for a market study. Mary Kelsey read a letter from Cleveland Heights citizen Linda Butler, who was unable to make the meeting, referencing a need for a market study. Another resident maintained that we should preserve the current housing stock and not approve the stated financial approach for Top of the Hill. Joyce Rajke wants to make sure that the January 27 meeting is video recorded and has found that complete citizen comments have not been kept in the public record. She also questioned why citizen questions had to be emailed for the upcoming meeting, and how time limits encourage public engagement. Richard Bozik said that the council should withhold voting for the two financial resolutions. Mayor Stein shared that the two resolutions were only having a first reading. Harry Skrow said the current approach of financing is not the appropriate choice for the given construction. An email from CH-UH School Board Member Dan Heintz stated that Top of the Hill should be approved and that its success or failure will serve as a bellwether regarding any future city efforts of revitalization. 

Brick Roads: Howard Pierce expressed support for the continued maintenance of the area’s brick roads (such as Exeter Road). He went on to state that the roads have needed very little maintenance over their lifetime of 100 years, but that now it is time. He further stated that communication between residents and the city has been lacking and confusing. The city manager responded that there are no imminent plans, and the city must pause and come up with an approach. They will reengage with the area’s residents in the spring. No action will occur without their involvement. Wendy Highman provided testimony in support of the brick roads and the unique character and value that they offer. Nick Gelic was in support of maintaining the brick roads and requested that a letter be sent by the city to the residents providing clarity as to what the process will be.

2540 Arlington Road property: Josefita Fehn presented a letter to council regarding the history of the property at 2540 Arlington Road as a nuisance and asked that they respond to this situation by enforcing the city ordinances, correcting problems in the current design plans, and properly overseeing the construction progress. Two other residents also expressed concern and frustration over this property.

Rule of law: James William shared his concern with the Trump-Pence impeachment situation and what it is doing to this country.

Funds mismanagement: Charles Drake stated his frustration in the handling of the water bill as well as the sewer system issues. He further challenged council members by asking how much they received from Top of the Hill interests. Council Member Hart interjected that none was accepted.

Democracy Day: Carla Rautenberg invited everyone to Cleveland Heights Democracy Day January 30th at 7 p.m. to discuss political influence by corporate entities stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Citizens United. 

City manager’s report

City Manager Briley referred, and council accepted, three project bids: 2020 street resurfacing and ADA curb ramp replacement, 2020 surface treating program, and Shannon Road waterline replacement.

Additional highlighted updates include:


  • Top of the Hill finances and the upcoming January 24 open question and answer meeting
  • The 22nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony at the Community Center on Wednesday Jan. 22 featuring student winners of the MLK art, essay and poetry contests
  • Encouragement to have all residents counted for the 2020 census. (Further information on website:
  • Celebration of new Cleveland Heights businesses, such as Proximity Golf
  • Recognition of Officer Robertson for his bravery in saving a young boy
  • Sewer evaluation initial report due to the EPA in a few weeks
  • Recycling Taskforce report in preparation
  • Continuation of Delaware project
  • Preparation of 2020 road construction season


Clerk of Council report

The Ohio Department of Liquor has received applications for Zhug and Mister Brisket. These have been referred to the Municipal Services Committee, city manager, and law director.

Pumper truck

Council approved a purchase agreement for a fire pumper truck and related equipment.

Financing revenue bonds

Council Member Hart provided the first reading of ordinances related to Top of the Hill financing.

Overnight parking

Ms. Hart followed up on the overnight parking problem that had been brought to council’s attention at the last meeting. It had been corrected with the individual, and the related policy was clarified with the police department. In addition, a listening session will be held in Imani Temple on Jan. 29 with Mark Chupp as facilitator. 

Public works projects

Council approved agreements with GDP Group for services and compensation related to the Selwyn Rehabilitation and Waterline Replacement, and Shannon Road Rehabilitation projects.

Council member comments

Council Member Russell shared that she is convening a hiring session at which Cleveland Heights residents can apply to be census workers. This will take place Feb. 8, 10 a.m., at Imani Temple Ministries, 2463 North Taylor Rd. Census takers will be paid up to $22.50 per hour. 

Council Member Yasinow stated that the city of Cleveland Heights does not wade into ballot issues and does not take a position on the school levy.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Stein shared the Cleveland Heights High School magazine highlighting the College Credit Plus and Heights Career Tech program, and encouraged everyone to read about the high school offerings.

LWV Observer: Jeannine Gury. 

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:49 AM, 02.17.2020