Council Confirms New Planning And Development Director
Council President, Mary Louise Madigan, called the July 18, 2011 Council Meeting to order at 7:33 P.M. She then asked the members of Council to excuse the absence of Councilman Brian Powers, which Council did.
The first item on the agenda was a bit of old business from January, in which Council introduced a resolution thanking Ed FitzGerald for his service and leadership as Lakewood’s mayor. In his new position as County Executive, FitzGerald has not had the time to come to a meeting to receive the resolution therefore it had been tabled until he could do so. Finally Mr. FitzGerald was able to make a meeting, and Council reintroduced the resolution.
Councilwoman Madigan (Ward IV) and Councilman Tom Bullock (Ward II) both thanked FitzGerald for coming to the meeting to receive the resolution and for all the great work he has done for Lakewood. Councilman Bullock said that as FitzGerald started on the same Council and worked his way to Mayor and now County Executive that if “you put your nose to the grindstone” you never know where you’re going to end up. He also said that the county is now starting to realize what Lakewood already knew, that they have a talented public administrator and a gutsy leader in FitzGerald.
Council proceeded to pass the resolution, and then presented a copy of the resolution and a plaque to Mr. FitzGerald who asked if he could say a few words. He started by listing his address, which everyone who speaks to Council is supposed to do, and reiterated that yes, he does still live in Lakewood, despite some rumors that he had moved to Gates Mills. He thanked Council for the honor and for recognizing him. He also said he was glad to visit and that he misses being there. He told Council that he talks about Lakewood a lot and the experiences he gained here. Much of the work Council and the Administration have done over the last decade to make local government work better, while FitzGerald was both a Councilman and Mayor, directly translates into what he and his administration are doing at the county level, he said. He went as far as to say that in some respects they are using ‘the Lakewood model’ to help guide the county through its changes. He also told the Council members that he took much of the way he worked with them to the county to use in his interactions with the County Council. The approach he and his directors always took in Lakewood was to answer every question and to do it openly and honestly, even giving more information than may have been requested. It has worked very well so far at the county as well and he said he wanted to thank Council for all the great experience and that he appreciated all the cooperation they were always willing to give. In closing, he said that he was glad he was able to serve the city and do it some good and that he loves Lakewood and will always live in Lakewood.
Next Law Director Kevin Butler read a communication from the Mayor, whom was absent due to travel. He asked Council to join him in recognizing Mickey Krivosh, owner of Around the Corner and recent acquirer of The Three Birds, as the Fourth of July Parade Grand Marshall, in addition to all the award winners. The winners included VFW Edgewater Post # 387 for Best Color Guard, Brennen’s floral Shop for Best Float, Beck Center for the Arts for Most Original Entry, Lakewood Division of Aging for Best Bicycle and H2O for Most Spirit.
Councilwoman Madigan then read a communication from the Housing Committee. The first item they discussed was an ordinance that would establish a Community Reinvestment Area along Sloane Avenue. This would open up that part of Sloane to the more likely possibility of development and the possibility of tax abatement. Since there is currently a company already looking into redeveloping part of Sloane, this is the first step into making it possible. Madigan did want to emphasize that even if it is agreed to offer an abatement that current tax collecting would stay unchanged, meaning there would be no decrease of the current tax collecting standard.
The next thing the Housing Committee discussed was a resolution that would allow the Mayor to enter into an agreement with the County to accept up to $200,000 dollars in Neighborhood Stabilization funds. The funds would be used to build a new single family home at 2070 Dowd Avenue which the City would sell to a responsible home owner.
The Housing Committee recommended passage of both of the resolutions. Council in turned passed both of them.
Councilman David Anderson (Ward I) then read a communication from the Health and Human Services Committee regarding and ordinance that would amend current ordinances to allow the City to participate in a trap, neuter, and release (TNR) program. This would allow the city, or authorized individuals, to catch stray cats, neuter them, and then release them back into the city as a way of controlling the feral cat population. After a thorough discussion, the Health and Human Services Committee decided to recommend adoption of the ordinance. Councilman Anderson also announced that a group of citizens, from the Animal Safety and Welfare Advisory Board, who had been working on getting this ordinance passed had also been able to secure a $10,000 dollar grant from PetSmart that will help fund the pilot TNR program in the city.
With the recommendation of the Health and Human Services Committee, Council passed the amended ordinance.
Councilman Shawn Juris (Ward III) then asked Council to consider an ordinance that would limit the use and installations of solid fuel broilers. These units are used to heat homes but use solid matter such as wood instead of gas to burn to create the heat. Gaining some popularity in recent years with the rising price of gas, some of these units have popped up in Lakewood causing some issues and concerns. In a city such as Lakewood, with people living in such close proximity to each other, the exhaust that these units create has to be considered. Issues from the smoke can range from nuisance to possible health hazard. Juris did say however, that it is a challenge to balance the right of a home owner to make choices within his own home without negatively impacting their neighbors right to enjoy their property.
Councilman Juris said he believes that there are devices on the market that are not suitable for Lakewood and that checks should be created to prevent them from being installed. He closed by asking Council to submit his ordinance to the proper committee for consideration.
Council received Councilman Juris’ communication and referred his ordinance to the Public Safety Committee for consideration.
Next Law Director Butler read another communication on the behalf of the Mayor. The Mayor asked Council to confirm his appointment of Dru Siley to the position of Director of Planning and Development and Assistant Director of Public Safety for Housing and Building. This appointment merges two of the citiy's most important departments for its future growth under a single manager. The city’s economic growth while facing the down turned economy and the housing strategy in light of the housing collapse make for big challenges. However, with Mr. Siley, filling in as the Director of Planning and Development since the resignation of Nathan Kelley, the Mayor believes he has more than proven himself capable. Mr. Siley is also a Lakewood resident and brings more than 10 years in Planning and Development experience to the position.
Council passed the resolution, making the appointment official. Councilwoman Madigan congratulated Director Siley and said that she was glad the position had become official. Councilman Bullock also congratulated Director Siley and said that it is nice that his official title will catch up with what they have all already been calling him. He also said it was nice that his hard work and outstanding work performance were being recognized.
Director of Public Works, Joe Beno, then asked Council to consider passing a resolution that would allow the City to accept an Ohio Historical Society Marker. The marker consist of a brass plaque that will be posted somewhere near the entrance to Lakewood Park and will discuss the origins of the park. The plaque was awarded to Lakewood after the Lakewood Historical Society applied for the grant for one.
Council approved the resolution and said they would keep the community up to date as to when the plaque will be installed.
The last item on the agenda was presented by Police Chief Malley. He asked that Council approve a resolution that would allow the City to accept $11,372 dollars from the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant. The Division of Police hope to use the funds to expand the surveillance camera program to Lakewood Park.
Reaching the end of the meeting. Council President Madigan adjourned the meeting at 8:40 P.M.
Council meetings are held every first and third Monday of the month at 7:30 P.M. in the City Hall Auditorium. The next regularly scheduled Council meeting will be held on September 14, 2011. For a copy of the agenda or for any other information regarding the Lakewood City Council, you can find it at onelakewood.com/citygovern_council.html.