Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-6-23

FEBRUARY 6, 2023, regular meeting


  • Mayor’s report
  • Clerk of council’s report
  • Council actions
  • 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. and Davida Russell. Also present were Clerk of Council Addie Balester and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting ran 45 minutes.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren announced that, to recognize Black History Month, the city will fly the Pan-African flag along with the American flag at all city properties. A celebration will take place February 25, noon to 5 p.m. at the community center. The mayor thanked community center staff for their efforts in reopening on Sundays, 12-4 p.m. and extending Saturday hours to 2 p.m. He introduced Kelly Ledbetter, the new director of parks and recreation. As repairs to the north ice rink are not a permanent solution, a request for redesign and rebuild quotes will be issued. The city has made no decision about the south rink and will solicit input from the community. 

Mr. Seren announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded Cleveland Heights a $200,000 Safe Streets and Roads for All grant to develop a comprehensive road safety plan. He offered condolences to the families of Sophia Villanueva and David Eisler, who were killed by speeding cars on Lee Road, and stressed the need to change our traffic habits, culture, and environment. Physical changes will be made to improve safety. 

Mayor Seren described the city charter’s provisions for filling council vacancies, noted council efforts, and announced that his selection would come from the applicant pool.

Clerk of council’s report

Ms. Balester reported that Blitz Bar and Grill, 1318-22 Warrensville Center Rd., applied for transfer of a D5/D6 liquor permit from Christopher’s Pub and that Wizbang Theatre, 2134 Lee Rd., applied for a new D1 liquor permit. 

Council actions

Council approved purchases, on first reading and on emergency, of two 430 Caterpillar backhoes, an F-350 Ford pickup truck, and a Freightliner 114SD Plus Semi Tractor from Ohio CAT, Classic Ford of Madison, and Valley Freightliner, for the public works department. It was noted that the vehicles being replaced were 20-25 years old.

On first reading, council approved a resolution recognizing the recently closed Record Revolution’s 55 years in business, the longest-running independent record store in America. Earlier, council had changed this to a resolution from a proclamation.

On second reading and on emergency, council approved a fifth amendment to the Wade Trim, Inc. agreement for engineering services related to the sanitary sewer overflow control project and the EPA partial consent agreement.

Offered on first reading only were amendments to the development agreement for the Cedar Lee Meadowbrook development.

Using a consent agenda, council appointed Bonnie Paul to the Commission on Aging, reappointed Joseph Strauss to the Architectural Board of Review and Jessica Cohen and Michael Gaynier to the Planning Commission, and proclaimed February 14 as National Donor Day.

Council member comments

Ms. Larson announced that the next Public Safety and Health committee meeting would continue work on programs for sidewalk repair and snow removal. Mayor Seren met with Noble Elementary School neighbors in January to discuss traffic during drop-off and pick-up times. A second meeting with Noble school neighbors will the held Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Larson offered condolences to friends and family of Sophia Villanueva and David Eisler. She congratulated the mayor for the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant.

Mr. Cuda announced that the Housing and Building Committee met to discuss short-term rentals and apartment access for voter registration drives and election campaigns. He asked the mayor when data from the ARPA outreach efforts would be available. He congratulated Future Heights on hiring its new executive director, Kristine Pagsuyoin.

Ms. Russell announced that the Cleveland Heights post office will add eight new postal carriers within the next few weeks. Three “You Talk I Listen" sessions about landlord tenant laws will be held at Disciples Christian Church, 3663 Mayfield Rd. on March 4, June 2, and October 14, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ms. Hart announced that she, Ms. Russell, and Ms. Larson are developing a Women’s History Month celebration for March 23 at the community center. Nominations are being solicited to recognize Amazing Women of Cleveland Heights who have made a difference in the community in three categories: individuals, women business owners, and young women 18 years of age and under. Nominations will be accepted until March 13.

Committee of the whole

Public Works Director Collette Clinkscale described the status of work with Wade Trim on the sanitary sewer overflow control project, the scope of work, and costs of the proposed amendment to the agreement. She also described the public works equipment to be replaced and proposed uses for the new equipment.

The Greater Cleveland Reinvestment Coalition has drafted a letter to the Comptroller of the Currency regarding Key Bank, under the Community Reinvestment Act, and is asking Cleveland Heights and other cities to sign the letter. The content of the letter was not fully explained, but Frank Ford and Gary Benjamin briefed council on the background of the proposed letter. They provided updated data and explained the sources used and described related regional efforts.

An executive session was held to discuss the terms of sale or lease of city-owned property.

Following council’s April 2022 retreat to develop a three-year vision for the city, council members discussed the need to set goals to achieve that vision. They will propose goals for discussion at the February 21 committee of the whole meeting.

Council will begin discussing applications for the charter review commission during executive session on February 13.

Council President Hart reviewed Section 111.08 of the city charter, describing the duties of council president and vice president. Noting her interpretation of the charge to, “…preserve order and decorum, prevent personal reflection and confine members in debate to the question,” she said she would begin enforcing the rules during meetings. She invited members to ask questions, of which there were none. Law Director Hanna read examples of rules from other cities that council might consider as it develops its own.

The next regular council meeting will be February 21 preceded by a committee of the whole meeting. The Public Safety and Health Committee will meet Feb. 21, 10 a.m. and Housing and Building will meet March 6, 4 p.m.

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 3, Posted 10:29 AM, 02.16.2023