The View From Council

Happy New Year! In 2024, I look forward to continuing my monthly newsletter to bring you updates from City Council. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns. Your input helps shape the future of our great City.

Election and Leadership Positions

Thank you, Lakewood, for re-electing me as your Ward 2 Councilmember! On January 3rd, I was sworn in for a second term at the first council meeting of the year. I appreciate your support over the last four years, and look forward to continuing to work with residents, City Council and the Administration to build off of the progress we made during my first term in office. I also want to congratulate my colleagues, Kyle Baker (Ward 1), Cindy Strebig (Ward 3), and Cindy Marx (Ward 4).

During our first meeting, we also held elections fort President and Vice President of Council. At-Large Councilmember Sarah Kepple was elected President of Council making Lakewood the largest city in Ohio where all three branches of government are led by women. I am proud and honored to announce that I was elected Vice President of Council. Thank you to my Council colleagues for entrusting me with this position.

Accessory Dwelling Unit Legislation

After four years of research and collaboration with the Department of Planning & Development and the Planning Commission, residents in Single- and Two-Family Residential Districts (R2) can now build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) on their property. ADUs are independent dwelling units, with facilities for sleeping and a kitchen and full bath, that are on the same property as a larger, primary dwelling unit.

The legislation defines accessory dwelling units, establishes maximum lot coverage, and designates ADUs as a Conditional Use in the R2 District. “Conditional Use” means that if you would like to add an ADU to your property, you would first need to get approval from the Planning Commission. Both attached and detached units are permitted, meaning residents can build an ADU over a garage. The legislation also makes it easier to build a first-floor primary bedroom addition or add a first-floor bathroom to your home by increasing the maximum lot area coverage of your home from 25% to 35% of the lot area.

I am looking forward to seeing how residents take advantage of this legislation and am hopeful that this will help folks make their homes more accessible and allow more homeowners to stay in Lakewood.

Charter Review Commission

Every ten years the City convenes a Charter Review Commission made up of nine registered Lakewood voters. The Charter is Lakewood’s constitution and establishes such things as our form of government, our government’s branches, the duties and eligibility criteria of elected and cabinet officials, and much more. The Commission has the important responsibility of reviewing the Charter and recommending revisions to Council. Council may then submit the recommended revisions to residents for a vote.

We interviewed many impressive candidates, and we are proud to announce that Council has appointed Dean Jackson, Angelina Steiner, Donna Taylor-Kolis, Sean Koran, and Martha Woerner to serve on the Charter Review Commission. Join me in thanking them for volunteering their time and please consider attending a Commission meeting, all will be open to the public.

Marijuana Legislation

Following the passage of Issue 2 in November, Council agreed to the Mayor's and Law Director's request to institute a temporary moratorium on the issuing of any permits for adult use marijuana dispensaries in Lakewood until we knew what changes were going to be made by the General Assembly. There was a lot of confusion over this decision.

My colleagues and I have been paying close attention to the committee hearings in Columbus and I believe that it is unlikely that there will be significant changes to the amount of marijuana a person can possess or changes that would impact how we would zone and permit dispensaries.

One development that got our attention was the willingness of the Governor to provide licenses for adult use marijuana dispensaries prior to the nine-month waiting period in Issue 2 (the Division of Cannabis Control has 9 months to establish its rules and licensing guidelines). That is why I, with the support of my colleagues, drafted three ordinances that were introduced in December and will be heard in committees in February. The first ordinance amends our criminal code to be in line with Issue 2. Additionally, it prohibits the imposition of fines and court costs for anyone 21 or over convicted of possessing greater than 2.5 grams of marijuana but less than 200 grams. The second ordinance allows for the permitting of adult use marijuana dispensaries in addition to medical marijuana dispensaries. The third ordinance amends our zoning ordinances to allow for adult use marijuana dispensaries in commercial districts with the same regulations as medical marijuana dispensaries, such as dispensaries cannot be within 1,000 ft of each other and must be at least 500 feet from a public park, library, or school.

One benefit of having a couple of attorneys on Council is that we do not have to wait for the Mayor's staff or the Law Department to act. As demonstrated by Issue 2 passing with 81% of the vote in Lakewood, this is too important to our community to wait.

Jason Shachner is the Vice President of Lakewood City Council and the Ward 2 Councilmember. He is currently serving as an Assistant Law Director for the City of Cleveland. He can be reached at Jason.Shachner@lakewoodoh.gov or at (216) 714-2150.

Jason Shachner

Jason Shachner is the Vice President of Lakewood City Council and the Ward 2 Councilmember. He is currently serving as an Assistant Law Director for the City of Cleveland. He can be reached at Jason.Shachner@lakewoodoh.gov or at (216) 714-2150. If you are interested in subscribing to the View from Ward 2 Newsletter please visit https://mailchi.mp/shachnerforlakewood/the-view-from-ward-2-newsletter.

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Volume 20, Issue 2, Posted 1:15 PM, 01.24.2024