LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

JANUARY 16, 2024 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City Administrator’s Report
  • Council actions
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the whole
  • Other agenda items

Council President Tony Cuda, Council Vice President Davida Russell, and Council Members Craig Cobb, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., and Jim Petras were present. Mayor Kahlil Seren was absent (attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors) and Council Member Janine Boyd was observing virtually. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council, William Hanna, law director, and Danny Williams, city administrator. The regular meeting ran 44 minutes and the Committee of the Whole, one hour and 38 minutes. A public hearing for zoning text and map changes ran 27 minutes.

Public comment

A resident thanked the Public Works and Communications Departments for the calendar. 

A resident urged a cease fire resolution for the Gaza-Israel war. 

A resident complained about the lack of police presence in the Cedar-Lee area, saying customers for her family member’s restaurant do not feel safe in the Cedar-Lee Garage. She also complained about illegal parking in the alley behind the stores.

Mayor’s report

Danny Williams, reporting for the mayor, said a survey for the land conservancy and a study of compensation and benefits were about to begin.

City Administrator’s Report

Williams announced a public meeting regarding Cumberland Pool on Jan. 17 and said the administration will release periodic written reports, probably in June and December.

Council actions

On first reading council:

  • Extended an agreement with Millennium Strategies LLC for continued grant-writing services, total expenses not to exceed $60,000.
  • Authorized purchase of a Front Load Autocar for $518,860 and a Rear Load Truck for $246,860.23 through the Sourcewell cooperative purchasing program for the public works refuse department.
  • Authorized application for and acceptance of a $500,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ USDA Forest Service Ohio’s Urban Forestry Grant Program
  • Reappointed all members of the Citizens Advisory Commission with terms ending Dec. 31, 2024.
  • Reappointed Liza Wolf to the Board of Zoning Appeals, term ending Dec. 31, 2026.
  • Reappointed Denver Brooker to the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) and elevated Kathryn Lester from alternate to full member of the ABR, terms ending Dec. 31, 2026. Council will consider applicants for the vacant alternate seat.
  • Authorized application for a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund agreement with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for planning, design, and/or construction of wastewater facilities. The city has been selected for a principal forgiveness loan for $4,000,000 towards this project. The application deadline is Feb. 1.

On second reading council:

  • Amended the zoning code and zoning maps to help promote dense, mixed-use development along main thoroughfares and promote pedestrian activity, especially along South Taylor Road.
  • Repealed the Transportation and Environmental Sustainability Committee and established a Transportation and Mobility Committee and a Climate and Environmental Sustainability Committee, with members of both committees appointed for two-year terms. Council decided that splitting the functions into two committees would better utilize the services of members and city staff. Applications will open soon.

Council proclaimed Feb. 14 as National Donor Day, February as American Heart Month, and February as Black History Month.

Council member comments

Russell announced the public meeting about Cumberland Pool on Jan. 17, as well as free CPR and first aid classes being offered around the city.

Cuda said he and Vice President Russell have been working to get the meeting packets out on Wednesday to give council members more time to prepare for meetings. They have met with the mayor and have developed a purpose statement to be attached to each piece of legislation.

Other agenda items

Mattox urged consideration of a Gaza Cease Fire resolution and Cuda agreed to put it on the agenda for the Feb. 5 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Committee of the whole

Eric Zamft, planning and development director, explained the zoning regulation legislation to be voted on this evening. All legislation was reviewed. The timeline and process for distributing the ARPA funds allocated Dec. 18, 2023, are being developed and will be discussed Feb. 5.

Legislation and agenda deadlines for council meetings were revised to lead to the issuance of packets by the Wednesday before a Monday council meeting. Members are discussing council rules and the process for council-initiated legislation. Cuda distributed a draft as a starting point for smoothly running meetings without rancor.

Members will serve on council committees as follows (first name listed is chair; the second, vice-chair; the third, member):

  • Planning and Development—Russell, Cobb, Cuda
  • Parks and Recreation—Mattox, Russell, Petras
  • Safety and Health—Boyd, Larson, Cobb
  • Housing—Petras, Larson, Mattox
  • Finance—Larson, Mattox, Boyd
  • Administrative Services—Cobb, Petras, Cuda
  • Municipal Services—Larson, Boyd, Russell

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: www.clevelandheights.gov/1625/City-Council-Agendas-and-Minutes.

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

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:39 AM, 02.29.2024