New Council President & VP; Renewed Priorities For Council

I want to start by saying how great it was to serve on Council with our outgoing President Dan O'Malley, most recently as Vice President. We came onto Council together in 2016, but he impressed me by coming right out of the gate with much needed human rights legislation for LGBTQ city employees. Dan has operated as though he fast forwarded through more than 20 years of experience and served as a person of great conscience and character. He will be missed on Lakewood City Council and I congratulate him on his new role on the Port Authority Board.

I'd also like to congratulate our new Council Vice President Sarah Kepple. I am very excited about working with her in leadership for the betterment of our city. Councilman Tom Bullock was also kind enough to nominate Sarah and I for our respective roles on May 2nd, so I am thankful to him and for the unanimous support of our colleagues.  

Coming into the role was no foregone conclusion, but I was able to spend much of the month of April as chair of our "Committee of the Whole" which afforded me the opportunity to oversee several important meetings related to the redevelopment of the former Lakewood Hospital site. This issue, along with a few others I will mention, constitutes what I believe to be City Council's #1 priorities during my tenure as president. 

As council ushered in new leadership on May 2nd, we also unanimously approved of Mayor George continuing negotiations on a development agreement with both Casto and North Pointe Realty. In doing so we added an addendum to our resolution outlining city council's priorities. It is important to point out that my colleagues and I sought to bring together shared ideas for the project, acknowledging much of what was shared with us over the month of April. Additionally, these priorities are not an "all or nothing" proposition. We acknowledge the give and take that occurs in negotiations, and wanted to give a roadmap for what we hope to see in an eventual agreement. Many of the priorities already align closely with aspects of what the developer and George Administration discussed in our meetings. 

A quick summary of our priorities, which can be seen in full on the city website, include:

  • Maximizing housing density with opportunities for future growth
  • Create as many affordable opportunities as possible for families, people with disabilities and seniors to rent or own in Lakewood
  • Prioritize and support public use of the proposed community space/plaza through design, management and programming
  • On sustainability, seek LEED quality design and performance, modeling best practices
  • Ensure that retail development supports existing local businesses and the commercial corridor
  • Preserve the Curtis Block building to the greatest extent possible, prioritizing the four corner "street car" facade
  • Maintain Council's ability to perform oversight and stewardship of public finances throughout the duration of the development process

I look forward to working with my colleagues, the George Administration, Architectural Board of Review, Planning Commission, our residents, and what I feel are a really good developer and office anchor tenant for the "highest and best" use of this once in a generation development opportunity. Said another way, I have a strong desire to fill a gaping hole in our city and Ward 3!

Other upcoming priorities for Council include:

  • Filling the Ward 4 Council vacancy, for which we will have completed ten interviews of qualified candidates by the time of publication
  • Working with Mayor George as Public Safety Director, Police Chief Kaucheck and our Public Safety Committee to keep our parks, homes and streets as safe as possible for ALL residents
  • Working with the George Administration on how best to provide dispatch services for the residents of Lakewood
  • Working with Lakewood Public Schools and Recreation Department to have and maintain high level ball fields and pools
  • Working to be as responsive and caring as possible to the residents we serve, which in my case continues to include the fine residents of Ward 3!
  • I would be remiss if I didn't also mention a June Pride Month resolution and Pride Flag at City Hall

Residents wishing to get ahold of me can do so by emailing john.litten@lakewoodoh.net or calling/texting 216-302-8333. You can also call our Council Office to speak with our excellent staff, including Clerk Maureen Bach and Assistant Clerk Nick Lascu at 216-529-6053.  

John Litten is President of Lakewood City Council, also representing the residents of Ward 3.

John Litten

John Litten is President of Lakewood City Council, also representing the residents of Ward 3.

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Volume 18, Issue 12, Posted 12:40 PM, 06.01.2022