Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-3-2019

JUNE 3, 2019


  • Public comments
  • Abortion resolution
  • Top of the Hill
  • Lower Shaker Lake
  • Street resurfacing
  • Other items reported by the city manager
  • City manager’s report
  • Liquor permit application
  • Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook development
  • Top of the Hill parking
  • Pride Month and Gun Violence Awareness Day


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein and Michael N. Ungar. The meeting lasted from 7:35 to 9:30 p.m.

Public comments

Abortion resolution:Seven residents spoke about the resolution, which condemns Ohio Senate Bill 23 (the “heartbeat” abortion ban), passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine in April. Five residents spoke in favor of council’s resolution, and two people felt that, as a state issue, abortion rights lie outside the purview of council, which should focus on local issues. Of those who supported the measure, two expressed concern about the consequences of a proposed amendment to Section 2 that was discussed in detail later in the meeting.

Gas line replacement: A resident complained that the contractor doing the gas line replacement work is damaging sidewalks, tree lawns and curbs.

Overhanging tree: A resident described a problem with branches falling on her property from her neighbor’s tree.

Traffic lights: A resident expressed concern about the lack of traffic signals at Cedar and Lee roads (near Wendy’s), Mayfield and Superior roads (no left turn light), and Cleveland Heights Boulevard and Mayfield Road.

Solar roofs: A resident congratulated the city on the installation of solar panels on the roofs of the service building and the recreation center, and asked council to assist in persuading the school board to install solar panels on school buildings.

Abortion resolution

Immediately following the public comment portion of the meeting, council passed, on third reading, the amended resolution in support of the right to bodily autonomy and the right to an abortion. The amendment eliminated a specific requirement for the law department to file an amicus brief and substituted language to provide flexibility in possible legal action. Council Member Yasinow explained that this was important because, at this stage, the legal strategy and associated costs are unknown. Prior to voting, Council Member Dunbar requested a vote allowing her to recuse herself from voting because [according to Ohio law]an abstention counts as a vote in favor, rather than a non-vote. She believes council should work on things “we all agree on” and not “issues that divide us.” According to the city code, allowing the recusal vote must be unanimous, but the vote was three to three. A motion to suspend the rules to treat her as absent was also defeated, with four no and two yes votes. The amendment passed with Seren and Stein voting no. Before voting on the amended measure, Council Members Yasinow, Ungar, Seren and Roe stated their support; Council Member Stein stated his view that “this is not our jurisdiction.” The resolution passed six to one (Dunbar’s abstention counted as a yes vote; Stein voted no.).

Top of the Hill

City Manager Briley reported that the final plan for the Top of the Hill development is expected to be presented to the Architectural Board of Review in July, and updated drawings will be circulated in advance of that meeting. She noted that a temporary parking plan is in the works.

Lower Shaker Lake

Among current capital projects, Ms. Briley described the Lower Shaker Lakes Dam Rehabilitation, a project of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) funded by the NEORSD’s Regional Stormwater Management program. The sewer district is constructing compliance upgrades to the dam to improve water quality in the Doan Brook watershed. Part of the project involves excavating along the bank of the Lower Lake on Brook Road (just east of Coventry) and fortifying it with large boulders to prevent erosion.Plastic safety fencing has been placed around the lake to prevent a repeat of the incident last year in Shaker Heights at Horseshoe Lake, where two children were trapped in the mud of the drained lake.

Street resurfacing

As part of the 2018 street resurfacing program, night work begins this evening on Cedar Hill. Work on the 2019 street resurfacing and ADA curb ramp replacement program has also begun.

Other items reported by the city manager

Ms. Briley also mentioned that the economic development department offered a workshop on the citywide tax abatement program; the housing department hosted a landlord training; Cumberland Pool has opened; the Cain Park box office has opened for residents; summer camps are starting up, as is Safety Town. The Dog Walker Watch program will have an introductory meeting this week, and the Cleveland Heights Youth Police Academy begins June 17.

Liquor permit application

An application has been made to the Ohio Department of Liquor Control by La Serena LLC, doing business as Quintana’s Speakeasy, 2190 South Taylor Road.

Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook development

Council authorized the city manager to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with Cedar Lee Connection LLC concerning a proposed Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook development project. Responses to requests for qualifications and preliminary development proposals were received in May.

Top of the Hill parking

Council heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the transfer of the city-owned Lot 22 property to Grandview-Bellfield Development LLC. Lot 22 will be combined with adjacent properties owned by Grandview-Bellfield to address the need for temporary public parking during construction of the Top of the Hill project. The result will be approximately 40 city-controlled permit parking spaces during construction, with Grandview-Bellfield taking responsibility for maintenance, including landscaping, lighting, paving, insurance and utilities.

LGBTQ Pride Month and Gun Violence Awareness Day

Council passed a resolution declaring June 2019, LGBTQ Pride Month as well as a resolution proclaiming June 7, 2019, National Gun Violence Awareness Day in the City of Cleveland Heights. Council Member Stein voted against both, in keeping with his position that instead of passing ceremonial proclamations, council needs to focus on real legislation that can make a difference.

Mayor’s report

Responding to remarks earlier in the meeting about the lack of unanimity in the evening’s votes, Mayor Roe stated that council’s usual level of agreement is the result of work that happens in the committee of the whole meetings to achieve consensus. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, however. She stated the goal of continuing to work toward consensus, and when there is none, of continuing to remain friendly. She noted that next week’s committee of the whole meeting would include council’s fourth discussion of the Charter Review Commission’s recommendations, and in July, work will focus on council’s operational guidelines aimed at achieving greater efficiency.

The next regular meeting will be Monday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m.

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 of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports. 

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