University Heights City Council meeting 8-15-2023
AUG. 15, 2023 - special meeting
Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Michelle Weiss, and Council Members Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer. Christopher Cooney was excused. Also present were Kelly Thomas, clerk of council; Luke McConville, law director; and Dennis Kennedy, finance director. The meeting ran for one hour, 20 minutes.
Council approved, contingent upon bond, the Planning Commission’s recommendation for Drees Homes for demolition of the existing home at 2519 Claver Road and a site plan for a new home. A previous developer received a variance but didn’t build.
Council amended the ordinance for storage of rubbish behind the rear building line.
An ordinance to eliminate the residency requirement for membership on the ARB (Architectural Review Board) was originally on the agenda for a vote, but a disagreement over whether the ordinance was needed or advisable ensued among council members and the mayor, so it was presented on first reading only. The mayor claimed the administration was unable to find a candidate for a vacancy. Council members claimed that the mayor created the problem by letting the terms of two ABR members to run out. The mayor said that council created the problem by increasing the number of board members from three to five. He also maintained that he would not approve anyone from Rach’s architectural firm, saying it would be a conflict of interest. Several council members expressed doubts about bringing in ABR members from outside of the community.
Council accepted a grant from the Ohio Arts Council for the 2023 Fall Fest.
Council approved on emergency a quote from Starfish Computer Corp. for another month of service, not to exceed $5,500. Contract negotiations between the city and Starfish for longer service were delayed as the city would not agree to indemnify Starfish. Law Director McConville stated he had been part of the reason for the delay; he was now waiting to hear back from Starfish on the most recent proposal.
Council approved the fire department to seek bids for firefighter medical examinations. Chief Robert Perko presented the proposal noting that ARPA funds were available for first responder grants. A wellness initiative passed in 2013, but no funding was available. This grant would go for fitness, mental health, wellness, and rehabilitation.
Council authorized the mayor to engage bankruptcy law firm Bricker & Graydon to represent the city’s interests in the University Square bankruptcy case, with Rach abstaining and Weiss voting nay. Weiss, upset that some work has already occurred without an engagement letter, asked if the matter could be covered by an ordinance. McConville said an ordinance could be prepared and that approving the authorization would not preclude a later ordinance.
Council adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel matters.
LWV Observer: Marilyn Singer.
Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: https://www.universityheights.com/council/
Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of University Heights” YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA82j5L_CkQxK9cXP_qrXvw/videos