Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 7-2-12
JULY 2, 2012
- Residents’ concerns (Oakwood, Citizens United, Community gardens)
- 2013 Tax budget
- Construction code for service providers
- City purchases
- Zoning variances
- Independents Week
- Little Free Library
- Hazards mitigation
- Cleveland Heights artists
- City manager search
- Council vacancy application
All council members were present.
Sherlynn Allen Harris requested grass cutting on vacant lots owned by First Interstate Properties, developer of the Oakwood project. She read a letter, signed by herself and her neighbors, requesting that council address their concerns about the effects of the Oakwood development on their neighborhood. The effects they cited include noise, erosion of property values, and vulnerability to criminal behavior. They would like to see a new retaining wall, natural landscaping and a new fence.
Gary Kanter stated his belief that an editorial published in the Sun Press on May 13, 2011, titled “Stick to the facts on Oakwood development project,” represented a critical juncture in the events leading up to the South Euclid City Council’s decision to rezone the property. He began an analysis of the editorial, which he plans to continue at council’s July 16 meeting.
Carla Rautenberg noted errors in the June 18 council meeting minutes regarding the resolution in which council opposed the United States Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution in deciding the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010).
Jeff Coryell, chair of the Heights Community Garden Network, commended the city for amending the zoning code to allow for sustainable practices, including community gardens in residential areas. Information about the community garden network can be found at www.sustainableheightsnetwork.net.
Council approved three ordinances pertaining to the issuance of bonds for various purposes. In all three cases, the bonds will be dated approximately July 1, 2013, and the interest rate is estimated at five percent per year. In the first two instances, the bonds will mature in five years; in the third, the bonds will mature in 11 years. These include:
- Bonds in the aggregate principal amount of $110,000, for acquiring computer hardware and related equipment.
- Bonds in the aggregate principal amount of $665,000, for acquiring motorized equipment.
- Bonds in the aggregate principal amount of $1,351,000, for reconstructing, resurfacing, and otherwise improving city streets; rebuilding Monticello Boulevard and Taylor Road, including engineering and planning costs; and acquiring motorized equipment.
2013 Tax budget
The 2013 Tax Budget was presented on first readiing. A public hearing on the tax budget will take place preceding the regular July 16 council meeting.
Construction code for service providers
Council revised the city code to ensure proper protection and restoration of public and private property during construction activities by service providers. Before the vote, Mayor Edward Kelley noted that this legislation was the direct result of substandard work in the city by Dominion East Ohio. A representative of the company was present in the council chamber.
Council approved three city purchases through the Ohio Department of Administrative Services Cooperative Purchasing Program, which authorizes municipalities and other government entities to purchase supplies, equipment, and services without obtaining competitive bids, and at a lower price than could be obtained through the bidding process. The city has been participating in this program since 1988. City bonds will pay for the purchases, which include:
- A New Holland Model L230 Skid Steer Loader with pallet forks and nursery jaws for the forestry division of the public works department, at a cost of $47,877 from Akron Tractor and Equipment Inc.
- A new full-size 4WD Ford F250 pick-up truck 93-2012(MS) for the parks division of the public works department, at a cost of $22,128.50 from Germain Ford.
- A snowplow package, cab protector, and light bar will be purchased from Best Truck Equipment Inc., at a cost of $4,680.
- A 2013 International Model 7600 SBA 6x4 Semi Cab and Chassis and a wet line kit refuse collection vehicle for the public works department, at a cost of $119,609 from Miami Valley International Trucks. That amount reflects a credit of $2,500 to the city for the trade-in of one truck.
Council approved four zoning code variances including:
- A request by George and Brooke Kroto, 1063 Hillstone Road, for an air conditioning condenser in the front yard.
- A request by Nachum and Miriam Langsner, 3805 Severn Road, for a driveway setback three inches from the property line.
- A request by Valerie Maczak and Gerald Grim, 2832 Hampshire Road, for a six-foot-tall fence in the corner side yard.
- A request by Simon’s Automotive Inc., 1830 Lee Road, for a six-bay auto repair building with a 20-space parking lot and dumpster area in the Lee Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard front yard. Before the vote Mayor Kelley commended the Simon family for this project.
Council declared July 1-7, 2012, as Independents Week in the city. The Heights Independent Business Alliance (HIBA) is partnering with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), FutureHeights, and the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights to sponsor the first annual “Summer Indie Hop in the Heights,” in which participating purchasers from local independent businesses as well as donors to local nonprofits can register to receive various prizes and other benefits. More information is available at www.shophiba.org.
Council authorized a $500,000 loan to Medusa Holdings LLC under the city’s Commercial Revolving Loan Fund program to assist with the acquisition of a commercial property at 3008 Monticello Blvd., known as the “Old Medusa Property.” Medusa Holdings plans to renovate the building, open a call center, and add office space. It is estimated that the call center would generate 120 full-time jobs by 2016, with at least 51 percent of those jobs to be available to, or held by, low- to moderate-income persons. The loan will bear interest at a 3.5 perdcent rate with a ten-year repayment schedule after one year’s deferral. Up to $200,000 of the loan may be forgiven at a rate of $50,000 a year for each year prior to 2018, during which 100 full-time equivalent jobs are maintained at the call center.
Little Free Library
Council authorized a partnership with Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library for a “Little Free Library” program. Following the lead of communities in at least 24 states and eight countries, this legislation allows the library to place boxes on posts on tree lawns or other public properties as approved by the city manager. Constructed to look like houses, barns, birdhouses, and other structures, the boxes will be filled with donated books circulated free of charge to any interested persons. No box will be installed on a tree lawn in front of a residence if the property owner objects to the placement.
Council adopted the 2011 update of the Countywide All Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan for Cuyahoga County. The federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires that communities wishing to apply for federal mitigation programs have an all-hazards mitigation plan and review and revise that plan at least every five years. The plan must also meet criteria established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Cuyahoga County government, through the Cuyahoga Office of Emergency Management, maintains the plan for participating jurisdictions, including Cleveland Heights.
Cleveland Heights artists
Council Member Mary Dunbar noted that 5 of the eleven recipients of this year’s Cleveland Arts Prize, honored at a June 30 ceremony at the Cleveland Museum of Art, are residents of Cleveland Heights.
City manager search
Mayor Kelley noted that a request for qualifications was issued June 28 for an executive search firm to help with the search for a new city manager. The request closes July 27.
Council vacancy application
On June 27, the city began accepting applications for filling the council seat vacated by Phyllis Evans. The appointee will serve through Dec. 31, 2013, and must run for election in November 2013 to complete Evans’s term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2015. The application form can be found in the “News” section of the city’s website, picked up at city hall, or obtained by calling the city manager’s office at 216-291-3737. Anyone who has previously applied for prior vacancies will need to complete a new application. The deadline is July 25, 2012.
LWV Observer: Katherine Solender.
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These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.