University Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-2-2018

APRIL 2, 2018


  • Public comments
  • Planning commission
  • Rain barrel workshop
  • Backyard composting
  • Coop ordinances pass
  • General fund transfer
  • Rental property taxes
  • Economic development director
  • School board resolutions
  • Demolition funding
  • Ambulance purchase
  • Road salt
  • Yard waste disposal
  • Silsby Road resurfacing
  • Executive session


Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Sue Pardee, and council members Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 10:32 p.m.

Public comments

Chicken coops: Twelve residents spoke against ordinances that would allow up to 25 residents to apply for a one-year permit to keep four chickens. A spokesman for a newly formed group opposing chicken coops said that if the ordinance is passed, the group will submit a petition requesting its repeal. Five residents spoke in favor of the ordinances, with one saying it would allow parents to show children where their food comes from, and another stating that government should stay out of his yard and allow him to raise chickens.

Planning commission

April Urban, an urban researcher at Case Western University’s Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, has been appointed to the planning commission. Mayor Brennan cited her expertise in data collection and analysis, and noted that he and Ms. Urban served on the board of FutureHeights together.

Rain barrel workshop

The city will hold a rain barrel workshop on Wednesday, May 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the city service garage. Registration is required.

Backyard composting

The city will host a backyard composting seminar at city hall on Tuesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. Registration is required.

Coop ordinances pass

Council passed legislation for chicken coops, on emergency. One ordinance will allow up to 25 residents to apply for a special use, one-year permit to keep chicken coops. The second ordinance limits the number of chickens residents can keep to four and requires that chicken coops be 20 feet from adjoining properties. Councilman Wiseman, who sponsored the legislation, said council’s goal was to pass the ordinances and see how they work. Vice Mayor Pardee added that council will review them in February.

General fund transfer

Council authorized a $1.4 million transfer from the general fund to specific funds including the police and fire pension funds, among others.

Rental properties

Council presented an ordinance, on first reading, that would allow the city to deny rental permits to owners who are behind on their taxes. Community Development Director Patrick Grogan-Myers, who said the city is owed about $98,000 in property taxes, noted that property owners in arrears will be offered a payment plan.

Economic development director

Council passed an ordinance, on emergency, allowing the city to hire an economic development director, whom Mayor Brennan said, will be responsible for business attraction and development.

School board resolutions

Council voted, on emergency, to support the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school board’s rejection of House Bill 512. If passed, the bill would transfer most of the state school board’s power to a government-appointed agency.

Council also passed, on emergency, a resolution urging the State of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Education to revise the existing system of ranking schools. Councilwoman Weiss voted no on both resolutions, saying that school ranking is a contentious issue, and she didn’t think council should vote on it.

Demolition funding approved

Council authorized the mayor to seek demolition funding for 3654 Raymont Blvd. and 3673 Washington Blvd. The city is asking for the funding in case the homes can’t be rehabbed. Mayor Brennan said the house on Washington Boulevard may not be salvageable. His hope is that by declaring the property a nuisance, the owner will be prompted to act.

Ambulance purchase

Council approved the purchase of an ambulance in an amount not to exceed $170,017. The purchase was approved for $159,000 last November but was never made. Interim Fire Chief Robert Perko said that the additional $10,000 will ensure the ambulance includes safety features like air horns, lighting to help firefighters find street addresses, and wiring for mobile radios.

Road salt

Council authorized participation in the Ohio Department of Transportation summer fill contract for road salt. The city will order 1,500 tons of salt at between $29 and $50 per ton.

Yard waste disposal

Council authorized a contract with Kurtz Brothers, Inc. for yard waste disposal. The estimated yearly cost will be $10,625.

Silsby Road resurfacing

The Silsby Road resurfacing project, which covers Edgerton to Warrensville Center roads, has begun. The project will be completed before the Memorial Day parade.

Executive session

Council held an executive session to discuss personnel and real estate matters.

The next meeting will be Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m.

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 5, Posted 11:53 AM, 04.17.2018