Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 12-5-2022

DECEMBER 5, 2022, regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • Mayor’s report
  • Clerk of council report
  • Charter review commission
  • Other council action
  • Legislation presented with no vote
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the whole


Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Josie Moore, and Davida Russell. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council, and William Hanna, law director. The meeting ran for one hour and 45 minutes.

Public comments

Twenty-two ice rink users, including residents, non-residents, adults, and children, urged council to open both ice rinks at the community center, noting the high demand for ice, the economic impact of families coming to the city for tournaments, the importance of the highly regarded rinks as a community asset, and its significance as a safe and healthy space for kids. They expressed concern that the city has not communicated the reasons for closing the south rink and pointed to the large and engaged community willing and able to contribute to the continued success of the facility and programs.

Two residents thanked council for the proclamation honoring Gusti Krauss.

Two residents spoke about the new speed limit reductions, one opposed and one in favor.

A resident recounted her experience as a renter and urged the city to take action against predatory landlords.

A resident spoke about her safety concerns and asked the city to make her neighborhood and schools safer.

Robin VanLear, of ARTFUL OHIO, asked that Coventry Road be closed for 20 minutes on December 10 for the Coventry PEACE Campus Lantern Festival parade.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren reminded residents that Dec. 21 is the effective date for speed limit reduction from 35 to 25 mph on Lee Rd. and sections of Euclid Heights Blvd., Noble Rd., North Taylor Rd., and South Taylor Rd.

He announced a change order to the Superior Road rehabilitation project, increasing the cost by $27,989.

Clerk of council report

Ms. Balester reported that the Ohio Division of Liquor Control had received an application for a D1 permit from Chipotle Mexican Grill, 12401 Cedar Rd.

Charter review commission

Council approved the establishment of a charter review commission to be composed of nine members. The legislation defined the charge to the commission, appointment process, and deadline. An amendment removing the final phrase of the sixth whereas clause in the resolution was approved with Mr. Mattox voting no. The amended resolution was approved with Mr. Cuda and Ms. Russell voting no. Mr. Cuda explained that he supports a charter review commission, but objects to the mayor nominating members. 

Other council action

Council issued proclamations honoring Alexandria Ruden, Renee Richard, Harriet “Gusti” Krauss, and Barbara Boyd.

On first reading, council authorized application for grant funding under the Cuyahoga County Department of Development’s Community Development Supplemental Grant program to install benches in parks and other public spaces.

Council proclaimed January 2023 as National Poverty in America Awareness Month. 

On second reading, council approved a resolution to permit on-street overnight permit parking on specified portions of Kensington, Hillcrest, Belmar, Glenmont, and Eddington Roads until December 31, 2023, as an emergency measure. 

Council authorized extending the term of Start Right CDC’s use of Community Development Block Grant funds for assistance with its Good Neighbor Home Rehab Program through Dec. 31, 2023, on second reading and as an emergency measure.

Council authorized an agreement with the Economic and Community Development Institute for program management services for the city’s Small Business Support Program, on second reading as an emergency measure. The services will include processing loans under the city’s Commercial Revolving Loan Fund and Microenterprise Loan Fund and evaluation of those programs.

Council approved three ordinances adopting fees for administration of the Architectural Board of Review, Landmark Commission, and zoning code. 

Legislation presented with no vote

Several pieces of legislation were presented on first readings with no vote. These include:

  • An ordinance authorizing renewal of a license agreement with the Ohio Bell Telephone Company for a municipal parking lot at 13172 Cedar Rd., for a five-year term. The original agreement was authorized in 1997 and extended several times, the most recent renewal expired Nov. 30, 2022. The first year rental payment will be $12,410, to increase by two percent each subsequent year. 
  • A resolution to allow Cuyahoga County to operate an electric public utility in Cleveland Heights. 
  • A resolution authorizing an agreement with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health accepting up to $200,000 to assist homeowners with lead remediation work in their properties.
  • An ordinance authorizing the sale of several parcels totaling approximately 1.91 acres at 2228 Noble Rd. to TWG Development, LLC for construction of an affordable-housing residential development.

An ordinance making appropriations for city expenditures for calendar year 2023 was presented on second reading. Council approved an amendment to increase the parks and recreation budget by $500,000 for a splash pad at Denison Park.

Council member comments

Ms. Larson announced that the public safety and health committee had met to gather information about and discuss sidewalk repair and snow removal programs. She expressed her support for council working together to develop rules and legislative procedures.

Mr. Cobb announced that applications for the charter review commission would be available soon with announcements on the city’s website and in other communications.

Ms. Russell thanked Judge J. J. Costello for providing space in the municipal court area for a donation box for toys as part of Olivia’s Dream Annual Toy Drive. She also thanked residents for providing information about the ice rinks. She is planning periodic landlord-tenant events.

Mr. Mattox announced that he hoped to hold a planning and development committee meeting in December to continue work on a gap financing program. He urged residents to check the city calendar for details. He also thanked residents for their comments earlier in the meeting.

Ms. Moore read a prepared statement criticizing council leadership for failure to establish council rules and legislative procedures. She described her own efforts to draft such documents.

Mr. Cuda announced that the housing and building committee had met to hear concerns from landlords and tenants and extended his sympathy to the residents of the apartment building without heat. He expressed his appreciation to those who expressed their views on the ice rinks.

Ms. Hart replied to Ms. Moore’s statement by describing unsuccessful attempts earlier in the year to have council adopt rules. She thanked Ms. Moore for her efforts and referred to the upcoming third council retreat as the vehicle to adopt rules and procedures as it would permit all council members to participate. 

Committee of the whole

Mayor Seren explained that the Community Development Supplemental Grant program funding [authorized at this meeting] would allow the city to conduct a wholesale bench replacement program, rather than a piecemeal approach.

Mr. Mattox explained his proposed amendment to add $500,000 to the 2023 budget for a splash pad at Denison Park. Mayor Seren and Finance Director Unetic described the funding approach to be used. Ms. Russell offered her endorsement of the plan and described the efforts that she, former Parks and Recreation Director McRae, and residents had made to plan such an addition to Denison.

Mr. Cuda suggested that $10,000 be added to the 2023 budget for a welcome wagon program managed by FutureHeights using volunteers to deliver printed information to new residents. After several questions, it was agreed that funding such a program should wait for development of the program’s details.

The next council meeting will be Dec. 16. On Dec. 19, the municipal services and environmental sustainability committee will meet to discuss the agreements, presented on first reading at this meeting, with Cuyahoga County. The housing and building committee will meet Jan. 3; public safety and health committee, Jan. 17. 

LWV Observer: Jill Tatem.

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 16, Issue 1, Posted 1:35 PM, 12.18.2022