The View From Ward 2
Since being elected as your Ward 2 City Councilmember, I have written a weekly newsletter to keep you informed. The View from Ward 2 is delivered to subscribers’ inboxes every Monday morning. For those of you who do not want to clutter your inbox, I am now providing a version for the Lakewood Observer. Below is a combination of Issue #17 and Issue #18. They cover the weeks of April 27th and May 4th.
If you are interested in subscribing to the newsletter please visit https://mailchi.mp/shachnerforlakewood/newsletter. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at Jason.Shachner@lakewoodoh.net or call me at (216) 714-2150.
City Council Meeting
At the City Council Meeting held on May 4th, Mayor George requested that we approve an amendment to the FY 2020 Action Plan that would transfer the Community Development Block Grant funds for Madison Park Lighting Improvements and Clifton Prado Park Improvements to the Kauffman Park Improvements project. This is a total transfer of $85,000 and could potentially reduce the project’s Capital budget from $250,000 to $165,000. The Clifton Prado Park Improvements and the Madison Park Lighting Improvements can, and will likely, occur next year. Council approved the amendment at a subsequent Emergency Council Meeting.
Housing, Planning, & Development Committee Meeting & Outdoor Dining
The bulk of the May 4th Housing, Planning, & Development Committee meeting was focused on the Cove Church project. The Cove Church Project is a $4 million project that will convert Cove Church into an intergenerational community center and provide much needed space for our Department of Human Services.
Prior to the meeting, Mayor George informed Council that she is considering delaying the project due to the uncertain economic conditions. During the meeting, Council and Mayor George expressed their support for the project. We had a robust discussion about the project’s funding sources and whether delaying the project would cost more in the long run or assist Lakewood’s financial status in the near term. We learned that we are ahead of schedule on the project and the necessary asbestos removal will still occur this year. This project shows our commitment to our Department of Human Services that is integral to the health of Lakewood.
Towards the end of the meeting I spoke about the need to reduce barriers for restaurants to receive conditional use permits that would allow them to offer outdoor dining during the pandemic. Restaurants are “reopening” beginning on May 15th and must follow social distancing guidelines, including ensuring that patrons remain six feet apart when dining unless there is a physical barrier between parties. We can increase dining space available in Lakewood’s restaurants by expanding outdoor dining capacity, as various other cities have done by relaxing permitting requirements and allowing outdoor dining to expand onto sidewalks and parking lots, and into streets.
At last Thursday’s Planning Commission Meeting, I sought input on this issue at last Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, and we had a thorough discussion about what requirements can be relaxed. I drafted a resolution that will authorize the Planning Commission to waive or modify certain requirements for restaurants to receive a temporary conditional use permit for outdoor dining. This will provide bars and restaurants greater flexibility in creating safe dining experiences that comply with social distancing requirements. I anticipate that this resolution will pass and go into effect prior to Memorial Day.
Face Mask Requirements
The Rules & Ordinances Committee discussed whether Lakewood should mandate the wearing of face masks at local businesses. Patty Ryan, President of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, shared that the local business community is split on this issue. We debated if we should create an ordinance that would subject people to a fine if they refuse to wear a mask after a business owner notifies them that masks are required in the store. We concluded that each individual business owner should decide whether they will require their customers to wear a face covering. There is not, and will most likely not be, a face covering mandate in Lakewood. Additionally, no specific ordinance needs to be developed because a customer that does not comply with a business owner’s face covering requirement can be charged with criminal trespass.
Finance Committee Meeting
At the Finance Committee meeting held on April 27th, the City provided an update on its rental relief program for small businesses. We learned that, as of April 27th, 97 checks have been sent out totaling approximately $155,000. The City has stopped accepting applications and hopes to be able to provide additional relief in the future if necessary.
Jewish Elected Officials of Cuyahoga County Meeting
I recently had the privilege of joining the Jewish Elected Officials of Cuyahoga County. This group was created to provide educational opportunities, to foster regional collaboration, and to share experiences and issues that are important to members’ constituencies. You may be interested to know that I am the only member that is representing the Westside! We discussed the challenges that our communities are facing during this pandemic and how each city is handling them. I look forward to attending more meetings in the future.
The 2020 Census is still happening! However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau's field operations are postponed and the deadline for counting is extended. I highly encourage you to complete the census now to avoid having someone knocking on your door to follow-up and to make sure that everyone in Lakewood is counted. The Census is important for our community and relies on your participation. For more information or to respond to the Census, please visit https://2020census.gov/.
Jason Shachner is the Ward 2 Lakewood City Councilmember. He is currently serving as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Lake County Prosecutor's Offices' Criminal Division. He makes his home in Lakewood with his wife, Michelle, and their 13-year-old shepherd mix, Tessie.
Jason Shachner is the Ward 2 Lakewood City Councilmember. He is currently serving as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Lake County Prosecutor's Offices' Criminal Division. He lives on Cook Ave. with his wife, Michelle, and their 13-year-old shepherd mix, Tessie.