University Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-20-2018

FEBRUARY 20, 2018

  • Public comments
  • Labor counsel recognized
  • Fair housing and planning committees
  • Solar United Neighbors
  • Village in the Heights
  • Medical marijuana
  • Vacant buildings
  • Chicken coops
  • CCTV maintenance
  • Video system improvements
  • Computer server installation
  • Uniform rental and laundry contract
  • Silsby Road pocket park
  • Nuisance properties
  • Phone service updates
  • Meeting with arborists
  • Heritage Home program

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and council members Pamela Cameron, Phillip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Vice Mayor Susan Pardee was absent. Also present were Amy Hamilton, sitting in for Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:26 p.m.

Public comments

City hall chair lift: A University Heights resident urged council to update the chair lift so she can attend meetings. She tried to attend the Feb. 5 meeting, but no one was available to help her on the chair lift. Mayor Brennan said he finds the state of the chair lift embarrassing and intends to resolve it.

Labor counsel recognized

Mayor Brennan recognized Jeremy Iosue of Harvey Abens Iosue, LPA. Mr. Iosue, the city’s new labor counsel, has begun negotiating with the fire and service unions, and says he plans to work collaboratively with the unions and the city.

Fair housing and planning committees

The city is accepting applications for those interested in serving on the Fair Housing and Planning commissions. Mayor Brennan has informally nominated two people for the Fair Housing Committee, and one vacancy remains. There is one vacant seat on the Planning Commission, which will meet on March 21. Interested parties can contact the mayor at

Solar United Neighbors

The mayor announced that Solar United Neighbors will meet in council chambers on March 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Residents can learn more about Cuyahoga County Solar Co-op, at

Village in the Heights

Paul Sobel gave a presentation on Village in the Heights, which serves older residents. The volunteer-run organization provides transportation, light duty home repair and maintenance, and activities, such as books clubs and lunch and learns. All volunteers undergo background checks. Members pay between $200 to $350 per year, which covers programming, insurance, and marketing costs.

Medical marijuana

Council repealed the moratorium on medical marijuana, on second reading. Councilwoman Weiss, who sponsored the legislation, said she was updating the original ordinance to include testing labs.

Vacant buildings

On second reading, council amended an ordinance that allows the city to inspect nuisance or vacant properties. The city will now have to obtain an owner’s consent before a vacant building can be inspected. Acting Law Director Hamilton said the ordinance was updated so that if a property owner withholds the right to inspection, he or she will not be charged with a criminal violation; the city would need an administrative warrant to proceed. Hamilton explained that the ordinance was introduced to avoid any allegations of Fourth Amendment violations.

Chicken coops

An ordinance amending a planning and zoning code to permit chicken coops in residential districts was presented on first reading. The one-year permit would allow resident to have six chickens, which can only be used for eggs. Roosters would not be permitted, and eggs could not be sold. Councilman Ertel asked if the city would implement sanitary regulations. After much discussion, Mayor Brennan suggested a second ordinance to establish the sanitary regulations for the keeping of chickens. Council approved consideration of the second ordinance, which will be added to the next meeting’s agenda.

CCTV maintenance

Council authorized the mayor to enter into a maintenance agreement with i2c Technologies for the CCTV (closed circuit television) system in an amount not to exceed $6,808.

Video system improvements

Council authorized the mayor to enter into an extended one-year maintenance agreement with L3 Communications Mobile Vision for all equipment associated with the video system in an amount not to exceed $5,609.

Computer server installation

Council authorized PC Alternatives to purchase and install a server for the administration, finance, service, and building departments, not to exceed $17,519.85.

Uniform rental and laundry services

Council authorized the mayor to enter into a three-year contract with Cintas Corporation for uniform rental and laundry services for the service department. Service Director Jeffrey Pokorny said Cintas’ proposed rates under the state cooperatives program will save the city about $2,000 a year.

Silsby Road pocket park

Council approved a motion to advertise for bids for the Silsby Road Neighborhood Park. Community Development Coordinator Patrick Grogan-Myers said a $100,000 Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant will be used to install a fence and a picnic bench and ramp that meet American Disabilities Act guidelines. Councilman Wiseman expressed concerns about safety, and Police Chief Steve Hammett responded that the city does hourly checks of parks after dark.

Nuisance properties

Council declared 3654 Raymont Blvd. a public nuisance. Council also declared 3673 Washington Blvd. a public nuisance. The owner of the Raymont Blvd. property was advised to contact the building department in early February but has not. There is the possibility that the Washington Blvd. property will be purchased and rehabbed.

Phone service updates

Councilman Sheehan is getting quotes from phone providers to update the city’s phone service, which is, in his words, archaic.

Meeting with arborists

The service department will organize a second public meeting with the city’s arborists as University Heights residents have expressed interest.

Heritage Home program

The Heritage Home program will be held on Thursday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers.

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 11, Issue 4, Posted 2:26 PM, 03.26.2018