LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

NOVEMBER 6, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City administrator’s report
  • Council action
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the Whole

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, and Council Members Janine Boyd, Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox Jr., and Davida Russell. Council Vice President Craig Cobb was excused but watched remotely. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council, and William Hanna, law director. The meeting ran for close to one hour.  

Public comment

Paul Volpe, serving as a consultant to TWG, urged passage of the TWG Noble Station legislation. He described his role as assisting with a community engagement focus group, redesign of the site plan and building architecture, and concept development regarding nearby commercial properties.

Peter DeGolia, Commission on Aging chairman, and another resident requested more staff for the Senior Center. They expressed concerns about security at the Community Center, as the panic button at the main desk was de-activated when the new phone system was installed. They asked that the panic button be activated.

Two residents asked the city to adopt the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism and asked residents to educate themselves about and oppose antisemitism.

A resident requested replacing the Council Chambers chairs for the public, as they are very uncomfortable.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren urged everyone to vote. The State of the City address will be delivered Thursday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Community Center, followed by opportunities to talk to city staff about their departments. He requested that council maintain its normal meeting schedule in December. He announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded $399,846 to expand the Shaker Heights crisis intervention team model to a five-city partnership among Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, University Heights, South Euclid, and Richmond Heights. Lastly, he announced that Cleveland Heights has received an additional grant of $175,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice for violence prevention programs.

City administrator’s report

Danny Williams, city administrator, reported the city has been seeking solutions to the repeated traffic accidents damaging a residence at South Taylor and Fairmount. The city is preparing a proposal to purchase the house and convert the property to some form of public use. 

In response to safety, accessibility, and aesthetic issues in the Coventry business district, the city will apply for a $50,000 grant from the county supplemental grant fund, to be matched by city funds for use by the Coventry SID to address business priorities. The city will also repair the elevator in the city-owned garage.

Council action

On first reading as emergency measures council:

  • Authorized a two year agreement with ADP, Inc. for payroll processing services, at a cost not to exceed $245,367.84.
  • Authorized the sale of K-9 Officer Otto, who has served since 2019, to his handler, Officer Joshua Payne, for $1
  • Authorized an agreement with Otis Elevator Company for repairs to the Cedar Lee parking garage elevator, at a cost not to exceed $52,000.

On second reading and on emergency council:

  • Amended the zoning code to create and make permanent the Shared Spaces Program, which permits and regulates business use of private and city-owned property, such as private parking lots, streets, and sidewalks for outdoor dining.
  • Amended the city code to facilitate a permanent Shared Spaces Program to permit outdoor dining on private property, public right-of-way, and public property, as a way to support the business community and enliven spaces for residents and visitors.

Several items of legislation were presented on first reading with no vote including: 

  • An agreement with Cuyahoga County for sanitary and storm sewer maintenance services. The agreement will expire Dec. 31, 2024 and the total cost to the city shall not exceed $600,000. 
  • An agreement with Glaus, Pyle, Schomer, Burns & DeHaven, Inc (GPD Group) for utility engineering services associated with water main replacements on Edgerly and Clarendon Roads. Compensation will not exceed $91,500. 
  • An agreement with Pfund Superior Sales Co., Inc. for the purchase of a 2025 Freightliner Crew Cab Ambulance and Chassis for the fire department, through the Ohio Department of Administrative Services Cooperative Purchasing Program, at a cost of $379,713.
  • Authorization to execute an agreement with WXZ, the Taylor Tudor developer selected in 2021, for the sale of several city-owned property parcels on South Taylor Road, contingent upon a development agreement acceptable to both parties. Purchase price will be $1 plus reasonable and customary closing costs.
  • Authorization of the allocation, appropriation, and expenditure of ARPA funds. Allocations total $15,001,832, including housing programs, park improvements, business assistance, safety and health programs, youth programs, and arts programs.
  • Authorization to amend the purchase agreement with TWG Development, LLC, for property at 2228 Noble Road, extending the time for execution of a development agreement until June 1, 2024. The mayor may extend the new deadline by an additional 90 days without further council action. The purchase agreement was originally authorized by council in December 2022, dependent on execution of a development agreement for construction of an affordable housing project. In September 2023, council voted not to authorize the development agreement. The Ohio Housing Finance Authority, which granted the tax credits, has permitted TWG to use the tax credits in 2024 and to modify the site plan and building design. The original purchase agreement will lapse Nov. 15, 2023, resulting in the extension proposed in the current legislation.

Council member comments

Gail Larson announced that a meeting of the Municipal Services and Environmental Sustainability Committee will be held the week of Nov. 13 to discuss the legislation on sewer maintenance, water mains replacements, and ambulance purchase.

Davida Russell reported on the Community Relations and Recreation Committee meeting held today, which heard presentations from multiple organizations about their programs. She announced that legislation regarding a Youth Advisory Board would be presented to the Committee of the Whole.

Janine Boyd announced that the Public Safety and Health Committee would hold a second hearing on the domestic violence and law enforcement training legislation items under consideration.

Tony Cuda announced that the Housing and Building Committee would present legislation regulating short-term rentals to the Committee of the Whole. Mr. Cuda asked that the rational for considering the adoption on first reading be included in the legislation.

Anthony Mattox Jr. announced that the Planning and Development Committee will meet next week to review legislation regarding the Community Improvement Corporation and the proposed sale of property on South Taylor Road.

Committee of the Whole

City staff and TWG representatives explained the reasons for extending the deadline for the purchase agreement for the property at 2228 Noble Road. TWG expressed its intention to approach the Noble Station project differently.

Discussions of community engagement for development projects and council rules were postponed due to lack of time.

LWV Observer: Jill Tatem.

Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: https://www.clevelandheights.com/1142/2021-Agendas-and-Minutes.

Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ClevelandHeightsOH.

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 10:15 AM, 11.28.2023