Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-3-2020

FEBRUARY 3, 2020


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Month recognitions
  • Top of the Hill financial ordinances
  • Delamere Drive basement flooding relief project
  • Consent agenda
  • Transportation Advisory Commission


Council members present were Mayor Jason Stein, Vice Mayor Kahlil Seren, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart and Melissa Yasinow. The meeting lasted from 7:40-9:09 pm; public comment took approximately one hour.

Public comments

Twelve citizens spoke about a wide variety of concerns.

Top of the Hill: Six residents discussed the Top of the Hill. Their thoughts included concern that there is a mismatch between risk and reward, investment, and anticipated income. Anxiety over the financial package and the city’s responsibilities concerned one speaker. Attention to fit, finish, and quality of the buildings with no scrimping was urged. A resident voiced concern about traffic pattern changes, especially on parallel routes into University Circle and Cleveland. Another said the studies are difficult for non-professionals to understand. The place of citizens in the decision worried a resident. She compared the Top of the Hill to Severance and past situations such as the Oakwood Country Club sale regarding council and staff refusal to listen to citizens and presented petitions signed by approximately 1000 voters. A final speaker commended council for allowing citizens to vent their frustrations. After detailing six questions to which she said she had not gotten satisfactory answers, she declared she will not be appearing at meetings in the future, as she will be preparing to sell her house and move out of Cleveland Heights.

2540 Arlington: Two neighbors complained about haphazard and long unfinished remodeling projects at this home, which they call a “disaster property.” They questioned the qualifications of the contractors and the provisions of permits and inspections. Of particular concern were water runoff, mounds of dirt, and equipment. Richard Wong and Susanna Nierman O’Neil responded to all complaints. The city is continuing to meet with the owners and contractors, and assured the neighbors that the port-o-san, debris, and dumpster will be removed soon.

Elected mayor: Len Friedson asked about work on the transition to an elected mayor. City Manager Briley responded that staff and council are beginning to study the issues. Ordinances, operations, salary, ethics concerns, and the balance of power are all in discussion.

Tree canopy: Laura Marks of Heights Tree People spoke about the Tree Commission Academy, distributed maps of the tree canopy decline in Cleveland Heights, and urged council to be more involved in this vital environment issue. More information is available at:

Federal funding: James Williams spoke about cuts in federal funding, especially to health and human services programs. He sang a verse in memory of basketball player, Kobe Bryant.

City manager’s report

Ms. Briley’s detailed update may be found on pages 3-8 of the February 3 packet, available on the city website ( Go to Government/2020 Agendas and Minutes.

Highlights included operations planning for form of government transition in two years, Top of the Hill legislation and parking and traffic study, importance of a complete count in the 2020 US census, economic development, publication of a new city guide, a lead abatement program through the Housing Department, hockey tournaments, MLK Day observations, Cain Park auditions, the submission of the sewer study to the EPA for the partial consent decree, and coverage of Cleveland Heights in the media.

Month recognitions

Council approved recognition of February as National African American History Month and American Heart Month.

Top of the Hill financial ordinances

Ordinances providing for the issuance and sale of economic development tax increment funding (TIF) revenue bonds and issuance (Ordinance 5-2020) and sale of economic development nontax revenue bond anticipation notes (Ordinance 6-2020) both received second reading, but no vote was taken.

Ordinance 12-2020, providing for real property improvements at Top of the Hill to be exempt from property taxes and to collect service payments in lieu of taxes for deposit into a TIF fund, received a first reading, but no vote.

Delamere Drive basement flooding relief

Council authorized an agreement with Wade Trim, Inc. of Ohio for professional design and construction administration services for the Delamere Drive project. Cost of this service will not exceed $332,200.00, and will come from the sewer district grant program.

Consent agenda

Council unanimously authorized use of a “consent agenda” for future council meetings. This will streamline meetings by collecting several non-controversial items into one agenda item to be voted on as a whole, after suspension of the usual rules. Council could thus address routine or non-controversial matters without separate discussion, debate, or vote on each item.

Transportation Advisory Commission

The commission has been meeting. They noted that resident Sam Bell was featured on TV with his robotic system for painting street lanes.

The next regular council meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 11:06 AM, 02.25.2020