Pizzas, PODS, and D.A.R.E.

Council President Robert Seelie called the July 2, 2007 meeting to order at 7:40. Fewer than ten people were in the audience for this meeting as compared to the 80 who attended the last meeting.

Several items under old business topped the agenda.

The first was an ordinance to establish a land bank. This was addressed in a report from the finance committee. The purpose of a land bank according to Planning Director Thomas Jordan is to transform tax delinquent properties which might include unoccupied, dilapidated houses, vacant buildings and open, empty lots into tax generating properties. Under the proposed ordinance the City would be able to hold land donated from other governmental entities as well as private individuals for future development needs. Procedures for acquiring the land from sheriff’s auction are outlined under the ordinance.

The committee, chaired by Seelie (ward three) cites four advantages to this program. First, Lakewood can ensure that tax-foreclosed property is sold or developed with the long-term interest of the community and surrounding property owners in mind. Second, the City can provide a marketable title to properties previously impossible to develop due to complicated liens and confused ownership histories. Third, land bank programs are useful to safeguard healthy communities from deterioration. And, fourth, the land bank would allow Lakewood to overcome legal structures that restrain rather than foster the conversion of public land and private liens on private land into performing assets.

The ordinance was passed.

A second item of interest involves the use of portable storage containers. In recent years the introduction of “PODS”, “Relocubes”, among other brands has gained in popularity. Sometimes, due to their size, the placement of these containers can be problematical. So, on a second reading, this ordinance prescribes the use of these containers to prevent disruption of pedestrian and vehicular traffic and keep them from being unsightly in appearance while they are in use.

Lakewood patrons and users of the Metroparks popularly known as the Valley, know that the Hogsback Lane entrance is the last of the three entrances to the park that needs to be rebuilt. The Planning Commission held hearings necessary to obtain funding from NOACCA (Northeast Areawide Coordinating Agency). Council approved that commission’s report which advances the process for the reconstruction of that heavily used entrance.

An application for a liquor permit for Dewey’s Pizza at the east end of Detroit Avenue was deferred. Issues of proposed improvements to the storefront have to be resolved first according to the Law Department. Council member Michael Dever (at large) mentioned that he has tried the Dewey’s pizza and found it excellent and was looking forward to its opening. He quickly, and deftly added that all of the other pizza restaurants in Lakewood were excellent, too.

Under new business Ryan Demro (ward two) presented a resolution asking the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to reconsider a proposed tax to fund a convention center. After several moments of silence from fellow council colleagues and the administration president Seelie said the motion failed for lack of a second.

Finally, Police Chief Malley requested that council approve a grant application to continue state funding of the D.A.R.E. program. This is a nationally recognized drug prevention education program which has been an important city and school sponsored initiative in Lakewood since 1990. The D.A.R.E. program helps students avoid drugs and alcohol, increases their self-confidence and teaches them how to effectively deal with peer pressure. Over 10,000 students have participated in Lakewood.

The chief pointed out that the Lakewood program is one of the finest in the state. In addition to presenting the D.A.R.E. curriculum in the elementary and middle schools, Patrol Officers William Albrecht, George Rasch and Robert Adamich serve as Youth Resource Officers. They conduct several after school and summer programs in conjunction with the Division of Youth Services.

Council approved the Chief’s request.
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Volume 3, Issue 14, Posted 10:55 AM, 07.05.2007