Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

NOV. 20, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • Clerk of council’s report
  • Council actions
  • Legislation presented with no vote
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the Whole

Board members present were Melody Joy Hart (president), Craig Cobb (vice president), Janine Boyd, Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox Jr., and Davida Russell. Also, present were  Mayor Kahlil Seren, Clerk of Council Addie Balester, Law Director William Hanna, and City Administrator Danny Williams. The meeting ran a little over two and one quarter hours.

Public comment

A resident from the Noble neighborhood expressed the importance of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to the Noble neighborhood; she complained about piloting the use of shipping containers [for portable buildings] in Denison Park, saying that “jewel boxes” or “kiosks” noted in other parts of the city would be preferable. She suggested that maybe the city did not consider Noble as meriting a more upscale amenity. 

A Bradford Road resident urged passage of the Arts Commission legislation, praised the declaration of Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day, and supported the recognition of Nov. 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren expressed gratitude for the Transgender Remembrance legislation, and updated council on an arrest for a recent homicide in the Noble area. He spoke about budget season and the robust and comprehensive council process with hearings and public input, including correction of past disinvestment in some city services.

Clerk of council’s report

Addie Balester read an e-mail from Scarborough Road [residents], thanking city departments for support for the street’s Halloween celebrations.

Council actions

On second reading council approved: 

  • An agreement with Cuyahoga County for services to help maintain the city’s sanitary and storm sewers in 2024.
  • An agreement with Glaus, Pyle, Schomer, Burns and DeHaven Inc. (“GPD Group”), for engineering services associated with water-main replacements on Edgerly and Clarendon roads, for $91,500.
  • An agreement with Pfund Superior Sales Co. Inc. for purchase of a 2025 Freightliner Crew Cab Ambulance and Chassis for the fire department through the Ohio Department of Administrative Services Cooperative Purchasing Program, for $379,713.
  • Two agreements with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District for grant funding for 1) the design control of SSO CH-30, in the amount of $75,100; and 2) the Hampshire Road Illicit Connections and SSO Control Project, in the amount of $999,625. An illicit storm-sewer connection refers to the connection of the sanitary lateral sewer to the storm sewer under building construction.

On first reading council:

  • Approved a periodic budget adjustment for the 2023 fiscal year.
  • Authorized application for $50,000 in grant funding under the Cuyahoga County Department of Development’s Community Development Supplemental Grant program to replace and repair decorative light fixtures in the Coventry Village business district.

Council approved a consent agenda recognizing December as Universal Month for Human Rights, Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day, and Nov. 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance. Balester read the entire Transgender Day resolution, including a moving recitation of the names of many young transgender Americans who had been murdered during 2023.

Legislation presented with no vote

Several pieces of legislation were presented without a vote including:

  • An ordinance to establish an Arts Commission, which would judge and recommend public art projects and facilitate the funding, creation, and enjoyment of the arts in Cleveland Heights.
  • An ordinance for the allocation, appropriation, and expenditure of ARPA funds. The vote was postponed to a third reading on Dec. 4, as additional funds must be allocated.
  • Amendments to sections of the city’s zoning code to update mixed-use regulations.
  • An amendment of the city’s zoning map to re-zone parcels along South Taylor Road, generally from Euclid Heights Boulevard south to Cedarbrook Road. The overall objective is to improve and streamline the zoning and approval processes.
  • Creation of a Parks and Recreation Youth Advisory Board to promote the engagement of youth aged 15 to 23 in matters related to parks and recreation, youth programming, and community relations. The ordinance would set out the composition and membership of the board.
  • Amendments to certificate of occupancy and lead-safe ordinances for short-term transient rentals.
  • A development agreement with WXZ CPV LLC, concerning the redevelopment of the Taylor-Tudor buildings.

Council member comments

Anthony Mattox reported that a Planning and Development Committee will meet Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. to discuss Taylor-Tudor and Community Improvement Corporation legislation, a Noble Road merchants association, a pilot plan for use of shipping containers in Denison Park, and a future meeting with East Cleveland.

Gail Larson reported that much of this evening’s legislation came from the Nov. 17 Municipal Services and Environment Sustainability meeting.

Davida Russell spoke about her partnership with Municipal Court Judge James Costello and the Legal Aid Society to produce the ongoing series of meetings for renters and for home-ownership planning.

Melody Joy Hart announced the budget hearing to be held Nov. 28 at 5:30 p.m. The Nov. 29 Committee of the Whole meeting will address allocation of an additional $800,000 in ARPA funds and the 2024 budget. The Dec. 4 Committee of the Whole meeting will welcome the arts community to discuss the Arts Commission legislation and will discuss proposed council rules. She concluded by commending council for recent, calmer discussions.

Committee of the Whole (CoW)

The CoW met for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Brian Iorio, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) coordinator in the Planning and Development Department reviewed Year 50 CDBG recommendations.

An e-mail from Heights Arts Executive Director Rachel Bernstein led to a discussion of the Arts Commission legislation and a decision to postpone the vote, and open the Dec. 4 CoW meeting to members of the arts community who want to discuss the subject one more time before a vote is taken.

Council will work on council rules to be in place for the 2024 council. Current members and the member-elect will each send five to 10 rule suggestions to the clerk of council for discussion at the next CoW.

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 17, Issue 1, Posted 2:00 PM, 12.29.2023