Residents frustrated in effort to discuss Oakwood at South Euclid city council

The following was sent to the e-mail list of the Severance Neighborhood Organization, which is spearheading opposition to development of the former Oakwood Club. It is presented in its entirety with no editing.

Thanks to everyone who attended the [Jan. 10] South Euclid City Council meeting. We made a powerful statement by having a big crowd of about 35-40 people turn out to hear the first reading of the ordinance to change the zoning on the South Euclid part of the Oakwood property.

We are sad to report that the process left much to be desired. Although we remain dedicated to having this be a model process of discussion between residents, government and the business sector, in order to come to the best conclusion for all concerned, we did not get off to a good start in South Euclid on Monday night.

The City Council refused to allow most of the Oakwood supporters to speak, claiming they had to have signed in before the meeting began. However, the clipboard became unavailable before the actual start of the meeting, and there was no announcement that the clipboard was being removed.

Council also cut short some of the citizen presentations, and interrupted the citizens. In contrast, they let the developer speak uninterrupted until he completed his presentation, which took about 15 minutes.

We asked that the written policy regarding people presenting to council be mailed to us, so that the ground rules are clear from here on in. Council agreed to send them to us. We certainly would have followed the rules if we could have found out what they were; the rules regarding presenting to council are not on the city's website, nor were they posted on the clipboard, or anywhere in the building.

We remain dedicated to adhering to the highest standards of community discussion and transparency. We are very glad that we were able to meet Mitchell Schneider in person last night. Meeting him gave us the opportunity to hear him explain his proposal and for us to ask him to consider donating Oakwood to the Metroparks so that this greenspace can be preserved in perpetuity as a testament to his life's work, his family and community.

We do not oppose development; we want it in the right place. There are many vacant and outdated commercial areas located close to Oakwood that could be reconfigured to take advantage of the proximity to the park. The developer has the resources and ability to make the area a regional showplace. We would certainly support this exciting new urban design in every way we could. Thanks to all our supporters. Keep up the good work!

The Severance Neighborhood Organization is a community-based non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen the greater Severance area of Cleveland Heights, Ohio through efforts driven by citizen-volunteers to build community, beautify, and enhance the neighborhood's residential and commercial areas. Visit

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Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 10:49 PM, 01.11.2011