Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 11-15-2021

NOVEMBER 15, 2021 - regular meeting


  • Josie Moore sworn in
  • Public comments
  • Legislation passed on emergency
  • Legislation presented with no vote
  • Council member comments


Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Melody Joy Hart, Josie Moore, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil,  and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting ran from 8:10 to 9:48 p.m.

Josie Moore sworn in

Prior to the regular meeting, Josie Moore was sworn in by Law Director Hanna to replace Mary Dunbar for the unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2023. Her three children attended. She will chair the Municipal Services Committee.

Public comments

Twelve individuals spoke, filling an hour of the meeting.

A trustee of the Cleveland Heights Historical Society, claiming to represent citizens who are concerned about Horseshoe Lake and Doan Brook, gave a short history of the early settlers, farmers, and Shakers, and the suburban development of the parkland district. She said it is a federally protected historic site and asked for a chance to find funding and seek alternative solutions. Another resident urged delaying a vote on Horseshoe Lake while the organization Friends of Horseshoe Lake hires consultants and pursues future proposals. A third resident thanked Council Member Hart for asking tough questions at last Monday’s meeting with consultants from Gannett. She expressed concern about the dominant role of the NEORSD and the paucity of voices requesting preservation.

A resident asked council to act on a petition he said he had sent promoting an ordinance mandating bars and restaurants to require proof of vaccination against COVID for entry. 

Sal Russo and Executive Director Myra Orenstein of the Cedar Fairmount SID expressed their appreciation for the microloan to the SID to be authorized at this meeting.

A forty-year Boynton Road resident asked the city to remove and replace a tree on the tree lawn in front of her and her spouse’s home. The resident had been required to level sidewalk blocks displaced by the tree at their expense and now the tree may be diseased. The city manager will call her.

A Cedarbrook Road resident thanked council for recent meetings on the Cedar/Lee/Meadowbrook development. Resident Fran Mentch thanked signers of an initiative petition to put a park at Cedar/Lee/Meadowbrook on the ballot. She stated she is not opposed to development but believed people deserved a pocket park and had been excluded from the planning process.

A Parkdale resident, who also owns a Noble Road business, complained about the nuisance created by a house next door that had burned 18 months ago but is yet to be torn down despite her attempts to contact a building inspector. City Manager Niermann O’Neil will follow up this week.

A 30-year resident described a long-term situation with the curb in front of his house on the corner of Quilliams and Northampton. It is so low that vehicles jump the curb and he fears a child or other pedestrian will be hit. Snowplows throw ice onto his basement windows, breaking them and leading to expensive installation of glass block. He had spoken with a previous city manager who did not follow up with him. He noted that other missing curbs had been replaced in the area.

A 30-year Caledonia resident opined that the city had stopped investing in his neighborhood as the racial balance shifted. There are vacant lots, and the city does not cut the grass. A water line break was fixed three months ago, and the pavement is still not repaired. 

A Sycamore Road resident described a five-hour incident on Saturday, Nov. 13, with police who chased and caught a suspect in their back yards. Police with AR15 assault weapons arrested the suspect, stayed with weapons drawn, and got a warrant to search garages for a possible weapon. The speaker said as many as 20 police were there, which was threatening and intimidating; weapons were out, despite the presence of children, and police tried to get a teenager to write down the names of neighbors. She said she was terrified. The city manager and chief of police will meet with her this week.

Legislation passed on emergency

Council passed several items on emergency including: 

  • An annual resolution allowing overnight permit parking on certain streets in 2022.
  • Purchase of Three-Dimensional Focus Laser Scanners for the police department from FARO Technologies at a cost of $72,824.94 through the United States General Services Administration. 
  • An ordinance to adjust 2021 budget items.
  • An ordinance, on second reading, allocating $18 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for sewer infrastructure projects. This amount can be used by the Public Works Department to apply for matching grants.
  • An agreement with Wade Trim, Inc., of Ohio for professional engineering services, at a cost of $111,625, for the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Project and the EPA Consent Decree. 
  • Purchase of a Freightliner 114SD Tandem Axel Cab and Chassis for the public works department from Valley Freightliner & Western Star for $99,775.
  • Purchase of a 14-foot stainless steel dump body with salt spreader and plow package for public works from Gledhill Road Machinery Company for $88,392.15.
  • A ten-year $35,000 loan at two percent interest to the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District to assist with a temporary budget shortfall due to the COVID pandemic.

Legislation presented with no vote

Presented on first reading were:

  • An ordinance to provide salary (ranging from $94,030—$150,522), compensation, and benefits for a new position of city administrator, effective Jan. 1, 2022. This will replace the assistant city manager position.
  • A resolution for the purchase of a 2022 E-One HR 100 foot Aerial Ladder truck for the fire department from Advantech Services and Parts for $1,114,082.
  • A resolution to concur on the proposal of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to remove the Horseshoe Lake Dam and return the lakebed to its naturalized state at the expense of the NEORSD, in concert with Shaker Heights.

The 2022 budget ordinance will have a third reading before a vote is taken.

Council member comments

Davida Russell announced that she will be pursuing election as president or vice president of council in January, suggesting that one of these offices should be filled by a member who resides north of Mayfield Road.

Craig Cobb asked citizens to apply for numerous vacancies on city boards and commissions, especially the Planning Commission and Racial Justice Task Force.

Josie Moore thanked council colleagues for her early appointment. She is looking forward to being part of council.

Michael Ungar noted the thoughtful comments of many residents about the Horseshoe Lake situation; he has received emails on both sides of the issue. He asserted that council is not a rubber stamp, and it was wise to get the second engineering opinion and independent recommendations. He noted that the NEORSD used Wade Trim among their consultants, a firm the city uses as well. 

Ungar congratulated candidates who won on November 2, especially Khalil Seren, whom he supports 100 percent, and urged all to rally and support the new mayor and council.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: 

Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel:

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:05 AM, 12.21.2021