Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-1-23

MAY 1, 2023 regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • Mayor’s report
  • Horseshoe Lake
  • Charter review commission
  • Council actions
  • First readings only
  • Committee reports
  • Member comments
  • Committee of the Whole


Present were Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Janine Boyd, Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., and Davida Russell. Mayor Kahlil Seren was not present. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council, and William Hanna, law director. The meeting ran for one hour and 40 minutes.

Public comments

Two members of Friends of Horseshoe Lake spoke against the NEORSD (Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District) plan to reconfigure Doan Brook into streams, permanently eliminating the 170-year-old lake by eliminating the dam. 

A resident complained that a well-qualified nominee from the Caledonia neighborhood was not to be appointed to the Charter Review Commission, nor were any residents of the neighborhoods north of Mayfield. President Hart responded in general about the applicants, who are a matter of public record, noting that she cannot discuss specifics of executive session discussions.

A resident shared how an assault near her home inspired her to engage in volunteer activities to clean up and improve her neighborhood, such as community gardens and Little Free Libraries. She expressed a concern that greater security is needed to protect these amenities from vandalism.

One resident expressed hope that ARPA survey suggestions were being incorporated into planning. 

Max Gerboc, president of the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees, spoke about the Coventry PEACE Park renovation. He asked council to consider committing $300,000 in ARPA funds to the project.

Horseshoe Lake

The deputy director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District [NEORSD] presented an update on the Horseshoe Lake project. The stormwater management goals of this project are to decrease flooding, arrest erosion, and increase water quality. He showed diagrams of recommended stream alignment for handling rain events of increasing amounts and possible landscape integration and amenities. A 200-foot pedestrian bridge over the Doan Brook Valley will be reestablished. A Zoom forum will be held May 15, 6-7:30 p.m. and a meeting will take place at the Lee Road Library May 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m. One can register here:

Charter review commission

Nine resolutions to appoint charter review commission members were presented for adoption on first reading but then tabled as there were only four yes votes, where five were required. Three members, Mr.Cuda, Ms. Russell, and Ms. Larson objected not because they opposed any of the particular candidates but because they felt the composition of the commission would be insufficiently diverse. Mr. Cuda also felt that council had drifted away from the original plan. 

Mr. Mattox countered that it was an open process and opined that other members do not like the process and are seeing a conspiracy. 

Ms. Boyd noted that they will still be considering the same applicants and that there was no solution when the diversity of the pool falls short of desirable.

Council voted to move the discussion to a future executive session with Mattox, Boyd, and Hart voting no.

Council actions

Council made several appointments and reappointments on first reading including:

  • Kathryn Lester as an alternate member of the Architectural Board of Review.
  • Danielle Cohen and reappointments of Ken Goldberg, Thomas Veider, and Jim Edmondson to the Landmark Commission.
  • Darlene White, Cindie Carroll-Pankhurst, Anthony Porembski, Amanda Isaacson, Leslie Jones, Suella Wilfong, and Lisa Gilbert to the Citizens Advisory Commission.
  • Reappointnent of Justin Alcorn (Roxboro); Lee E. Barbee, II (Caledonia); David Benson (Canterbury); Laura Black (Coventry); Sue Dean Dyke (Fairfax); Susan Efroymson (Millikin); William Frank (Noble); Jonathan Goldman (Taylor); Gretchen Mettler (Caledonia); T. Nadas (Canterbury); Jessica Schantz (Fairfax); Allosious Snodgrass
    (Coventry); Patti Substelny (Roxboro); and Elizabeth Vanderleest (Oxford) to the Citizens Advisory Commission.

On first reading, council authorized presentation of entertainment programs in Cain Park for the year 2023.

On first reading, council authorized an agreement, not to exceed $50,000, with Cintas Corporation for professional rental uniforms and laundry services for the public works department through the Ohio Department of Administrative Services Cooperative Purchasing Program.

As part of the Cleveland Heights Integrated Overflow Control Master Plan, council authorized three agreements with:

1)    Wade Trim, Inc. of Ohio for construction administration and resident observation services relating to control of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) CH-12, CH-17, CH-26 and CH-28, on Cumberland and Lee roads, not to exceed $121,720. 

2)    Wade Trim for professional design engineering services for SSOs CH-27 and CH-51 along Quilliams and Atherstone roads, not to exceed $983,400. 

3)    R₂O for professional design services relating to control of SSOs CH-36 and CH-37 along North Park Boulevard, not to exceed $155,831.

Using a consent agenda, council recognized May as Older Americans Month, April 30-May 6 as Professional Municipal Clerks Week, May 1-5 as Air Quality Awareness Week, and May as Jewish American Heritage Month.

First readings only (no vote)

Legislation presented on first reading included:

  • A resolution creating and making permanent the City of Cleveland Heights Shared Spaces Program, which authorizes restaurants to have outdoor seating, both on private and public property.
  • An agreement with Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., for professional construction inspection and administration services related to the Lee Road Resurfacing Project, not to exceed $75,800.
  • Support for a mayor’s action call center with all actions necessary, including expenditure of funds, hiring of staff, and equipment purchases. This was assigned to the Committee of the Whole for discussion.

Committee reports

Mr. Cuda said the Housing Committee discussed ARPA funds for distressed areas.

Ms. Russell said that Parks and Recreation and Community Relations met this morning. Community Center hours have expanded and room rental is now open. Women Out Walking begins May 7. Shredding day will be May 20. The 44118 USPS has hired some new postal workers and the broken doors are repaired.

Ms.Larson said the Public Safety and Health Committee will be discussing soon the results of a survey regarding one-way streets around Noble School.

Member comments

Ms. Larson noted that Council Members Cuda, Russell, Hart, and Larson worked on the Caledonia Ravine clean-up project.

Ms. Russell said that the next meeting in the Tenant Landlord series will be Saturday, June 10, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at Disciples Christian Church. This series was organized by Judge Costello and Ms. Russell.

Mr. Cuda spoke about the Caledonia clean-up.

Mr. Mattox spoke about the new edition of the Focus publication.

Council President Hart announced a tax clinic regarding property taxes to be held in May and June. 

Committee of the whole (held prior to the regular meeting)

Committee of the Whole began at 6 p.m. and ran 92 minutes. One half hour was held in executive session to discuss appointment of public officials.

In addition to reviewing this evening’s legislation, council created a process for non-profit organizations and businesses to request funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Funds must be allocated soon as they will be assigned by the end of 2024 and must be spent by the end of 2026. Keeping in mind promises made to businesses and specific geographical areas of the city, council will hold two sessions, June 6 and 7, to receive proposals. Council’s decisions then go to the law department to be written into legislation. 

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:

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 9:34 AM, 05.15.2023