University Heights City Council meeting highlights

NOV. 20, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City council committee reports
  • Council actions
  • Committee and staff reports

Board members present were Michele Weiss (vice mayor), Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer. Christopher Cooney was not present. Also present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas, Law Director Luke McConville, and Finance Director Dennis Kennedy. The meeting ran for about one hour and 15 minutes. 

Sax noted that Cooney has missed 38 percent of the council meetings in the past year, and that residents count on council members to be present and to vote. No reason was given for his absence. The motion to excuse Cooney passed, with Sax voting against it.

Public comment

A resident spoke regarding an ordinance (which was removed from this evening’s agenda) dealing with electric vehicles and parking lot fueling devices. He encouraged removal of the existing minimum parking requirements for new development, saying there is limited land for development, and with existing requirements, parking lots are a significant part of any new development. Parking lot sizes cause drainage issues, encourage driving when we should be reducing our carbon footprints, and disproportionally impact people of color and retirees.

Mayor’s report

The mayor recapped the Nov. 15 University Heights Civic Awards event held at John Carroll University. Highlights included recognizing the entire Service Department as City Employees of the Year, one member of the Charter Review Commission (CRC) as Volunteer of the Year, and another CRC member as Citizen of the Year. 

Chick-fil-A has requested to go before the Architectural Review Board (ARB) prior to appearing before council and the planning commission. The next ARB meeting is Dec. 14; the following council meeting will be Dec. 18.

City council committee reports

The Building/Housing and Community Outreach committees had no report. The other committees announced upcoming meetings. The Economic Development committee will discuss zoning at its Nov. 29 meeting. The Safety Committee will discuss parking on Dec. 4; JCU is expected to be in attendance. The Service and Utilities Committee would like to ask the mayor and Mr. Pennington about the SCS Engineers visit and report. The mayor said that report should come out after Thanksgiving.

Council actions

Council approved, on emergency, the Salary Range and Pay-Rate Range for Non-Bargaining Unit Employees. Council discussed actual job descriptions and raised concerns regarding tasks assigned to the mayor’s special assistant and whether some of those tasks belong to a city administrator, which University Heights does not have. Sax noted that three positions (Fire, Police, and Service) have collective bargaining requirements that are not defined in the same fashion [as other positions], and maintained that those should be consistent. McConville clarified that the ordinance pertained to pay rate, not job descriptions. Rach requested that, in the future, a chart with side-by-side comparisons of salary histories be provided to make changes clear. 

Council passed, on emergency, an ordinance entitled “Prohibited Campaign Contributions.”

On emergency, council amended appropriations for 2023.

Council removed from the agenda an ordinance regarding Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, which will be discussed at the next Economic Development Committee meeting. 

Council approved a change order for the 2023 Road Program, not to exceed $16,968.75, for installation of a sidewalk on Glendon Road where the school district’s mobile unit had been located.

Council authorized seeking bids for the 2023–24 Fall Tree Pruning. 

Committee and staff reports

Building/Housing Committee: Weizer praised John Cheatham, interim chief building official, for creating a flow chart to organize items and process, which has helped citizens know who to contact about which concerns.

Finance Committee: King said the city received payment from Cleveland Water to cover the Saybrook project. Retroactive payments representing pay increases have been made to fire and police [staff]. Service employee payments will be completed next.

Law Department: McConville [said he] has items for discussion in executive session regarding University Square and pending litigation.

Public Safety Committee and departments: [The police department] had no report. The fire department reported that, due to work on the Beachwood water tower, hydrant flushing was postponed but will restart this week.

Building Department: Cheatham said the fee schedule, which has not been updated since 2001, needs review and updating. He believes he can recommend a simplified process.

City engineer: The mayor read Joseph Ciuni’s report, which noted the completion of the Saybrook water-line replacement project, the 2023 Road program, and the Silsby emergency water main repair. Road repair caused by the Silsby water-main break will start after Thanksgiving. East Scarborough/Canterbury sanitary sewer work will begin Nov. 28 and take 30 days.

Communications/Civic Engagement: The mayor read Director Mike Cook’s report. An Arts and Cultural Survey has been conducted and results will be provided before Thanksgiving. The survey gathered input on improving existing events and possible additional events. It may also help with applications for grant funding. The survey was sent thru the e-news, which has a distribution list of about 1,500 people.

Economic Development: Director Susan Drucker announced a Nov. 29 meeting with ZoneCo (a consulting firm) in attendance, to discuss parking throughout the city. 

LWV Observer: Tanis Swan.

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 University Heights” YouTube channel:

Read More on University Heights
Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 2:02 PM, 12.29.2023