April 8, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cuyahoga County Administration Building was closed for public meetings at the time of the meeting. As a result, this meeting was conducted remotely in accordance with State of Ohio HB 197. Interested persons could access the meeting by using the following link found at:  www.countyplanning.us

The meeting of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) was called to order by Director Michael Dever at 2:02 p.m. and the roll call showed a quorum was present.

On a motion by Mayor Brennan, seconded by Mayor Bobst, the minutes for the February 11, 2021 meeting minutes were duly adopted by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 210408-A Lakefront Public Access Plan Contract Modification.
County Planning asked for approval of a Resolution authorizing the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) to amend its contracts to provide professional planning services with the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works and SmithGroup in support of the Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan.

Mr. Sonnhalter gave a PowerPoint presentation including the following update:

  • Lakefront Public Access Plan Contract Modification, Additional Planning Services Required including:
    • Funding Strategy & Grant Support
    • Supplementary Meeting Participation
    • Mobility Planning & Design Support
    • Focus Area Planning & Design Support
    • State & Federal Funding Applications

The contract modification extends SmithGroup and County Planning’s master contract through December 31, 2022 and provides $300,000 of additional funding from Public Works; $250,000 for SmithGroup and $50,000 for County Planning. The project location is the Lake Erie shoreline within Cuyahoga County and includes public and private lakefront properties. On the eastside that extends to Lakeshore Boulevard and the westside extends to Lake Road. The primary focus of the project is to improve public access to Lake Erie but also to address erosion, ecology, and stormwater management. Multi-Modal transportation options for public access to the Lake will be reviewed and include active transportation recommendations from the Greenway plan, mass transit, and other means to get people from the neighborhoods to the shoreline. Incorporating larger plans such at the Regional Lakefront TLCI, a study which include three (3) counties by NOACA, the CHEERS project with the City of Cleveland, Vision for the Valley, the Cuyahoga River and waterfront, the Cleveland Downtown Connectivity TLCI, and the Community Confluence TLCI which is the partnership of County Planning, the cities of Lakewood, Rocky River, and the Cleveland Metroparks.

The goals are clear to create a connected network of lakefront access opportunities and assets, leverage the Lake as county-wide asset, address shoreline erosion and protect private property, and enhance the health and safety of the lake. This is seen to connect people to thirty (30) miles of lakefront with the recognition that the lakefront is an asset to the entire region. The key outcomes are to address coastal erosion at scale (not parcel-by-parcel), to link restoration, recreation, mobility, and ecology to attract funding partners, to respect private property rights and build partnerships where there is interest, and to simplify regulatory reviews and the approval process.

This process is the beginning of something bigger and it will take continued support and investment to get things built.  The project is well on its way and has begun building the partnerships needed to continue the progress. Information has been gathered on existing shoreline conditions and plans are ongoing to compile data such as coastal conditions, access & mobility, ecological resources, green infrastructure & stormwater, recreational & community assets, and regional infrastructure.

Lakefront landowners have been engaged with 35% of lakefront property surveys returned (individual & association), two formal letters of interest: 12 requests for more information, a 70% positive response to allowing public access in exchange for shoreline protection (yes or maybe), and 25% of property owners recognizing loss or potential loss of house/building, among 150-200 meeting participants. The top-rated lakefront park connections are Lakewood Park to Edgewater Park and Edgewater Park to Wendy Park. 46% of those surveyed identify better/clearer connections as being key to increasing lakefront park visitation of the 309 public survey responses (only 10% lakefront landowners).

In terms of identifying both lakefront access opportunities and the routes while seeking new opportunities and continuing to develop the plan, there is a plan in place to leverage annual funding sources. The progress is clear and so is the need to leverage opportunities as they arise to be able to continue both developing the plan while looking ahead for opportunities.

Mayor Sellers joined the meeting.

Director Dever spoke in support of Resolution No 210408-A with Director Cierebiej speaking of the collaboration with Cuyahoga County Public Works and SmithGroup. He summarized by saying that the contract modifications are to extend the work through December 31, 2022 and to provide addition funding of $300,000 from Public works with $250,000 for SmithGroup and $50,000 for County Planning for the Lakefront Public Access Plan. Mayor Procuk asked if the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad had been explored to bring people up from Akron; Director Cierebiej stated that it would be looked into.

On a motion by Mayor Procuk, seconded by Councilperson Simon, Resolution No. 210408-A, authorizing the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) to amend its contracts to provide professional planning services with the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works and SmithGroup in support of the Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan, was duly adopted by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 210408-B OHM Advisors Planning Services Contract Modification.
Director Cierebiej explained the OHM Advisors Planning Services Contract Modification, Additional Professional Consulting Services in Support of the Community Confluence TLCI Plan include:

  • Continued professional consulting services, supplemented by planning and technical services provided by County Planning.
  • Preliminary Engineering for recommended bicycle and pedestrian improvements for the segment of Lake Road between West Clifton Boulevard in Lakewood and the Marion Ramp in Rocky River, as well as the Lake Road bridge crossing the Rocky River.

The contract modification extends OHM contract with County Planning through December 31, 2022 and provides $200,000 of additional funding from Public Works to County Planning to support the additional work of OHM. Director Dever voiced support of Resolution No. 210408-B with the continuation of the planning as recommended in the Community Confluence report.

On a motion by Councilperson Simon, seconded by Mayor Sellers, Resolution No. 210408-B, approving the OHM Advisors planning services contract modification, additional professional consulting services in support of the Community Confluence TLCI, was duly adopted by unanimous vote. 

Resolution No. 210408-C requesting the approval of the Professional Planning Services Agreement with the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium to prepare a Single-Family Zoning Analysis Phase 1.
Mr. Patrick Hewitt explained the Single-Family Zoning Analysis is an attempt to identify deficiencies in single-family zoning regulations within inner ring suburban communities, such as setbacks, minimum lot sizes, height restrictions, and approval processes.

Phase One of the Study will:

  • Initiate Project and Review Existing Housing
  • Identify, Review, and Categorize Zoning Districts
  • Analyze Single-Family Lots and Compare to Regulations
  • Identify Single-Family Infill Opportunities
  • Close Out Project

Resolution 210408-C Single-Family Zoning Analysis covers Phase 1, which is Review and Analysis and is the only work authorized at this time. Future work and additional analysis would be included in potential later phases including Phase 2: Best Practices and Outreach, Phase 3: Code Updates, and Phase 4: Metrics and Tracking.

The impacts of this project include a six-month time commitment with $35,000 generated in revenue for County Planning with funding provided by the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. County Planning expects to continue to partner with First Suburbs on future phases of this project.

There was some discussion on whether the members of the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium should be allowed to vote in support of this Resolution.  Mr. Jared Zibiritosky from County Law indicated that Board members are allowed to vote as long as they do not hold a place on the Executive Committee.

On a motion by Councilperson Simon, seconded by Mayor Bobst, Resolution No. 210408-C, approving the Professional Planning Services Agreement with the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium to prepare a Single-Family Zoning Analysis: Phase 1, with Mayor Sellers and Mayor Byrne abstaining, the motion was duly adopted by unanimous vote.

Mr. Hewitt continued with a report on the second in an annual series of data books that County Planning has compiled.  Titled Our Communities: The 2021 Data Book contains insights into the communities that comprise Cuyahoga County. The purpose of the Data Book is to assists communities in understanding their metrics, providing recent data in an accessible format, and updated regularly (annually).  There are thirty-nine (39) metrics across five (5) topic areas:

  • Demographics
  • Economy
  • Housing
  • Land Use
  • Transportation

The data is available in six geographies:

  • State of Ohio
  • Cleveland Metro Area
  • Cuyahoga County
  • Cuyahoga Communities
  • Inner Ring Suburbs
  • Outer Ring Suburbs

There is an interactive Online Version of the Data Book at www.CountyPlanning.us/Databook

Ms. Cierebiej reported that heading into 2nd Quarter, 2021 County Planning has two major accomplishments:  staff photos have been taken and will be posted on the website. A press release was issued on the Data Book today and the Ideastream interview County Planning did on the Data Baook is scheduled for release today.

Ms. Cierebiej also reported that the 2021 Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grants were announced this week and expected to result in the planting of 4,000 trees! Twenty-Five (25) of the forty (40) applications will receive funding with five (5) tree planning and planting projects, twenty (20) tree planting projects, and one (1) startup of a county tree nursery.

Director Cierebiej announced another kudos corner with the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan having been recently featured as one of five transportation case studies that embodies America Society of Landscape Architecture smart policies for a changing climate. She also reported that Mr. Patrick Hewitt has been promoted to Manager of Planning Services.

Director Cierebiej’s fiscal updates include a contract extension with County Department of Public Safety & Justice Services, where a balance of $3,047 remains from original contract. An order has been placed for three (3) laptops to replace some of County Planning’s 2014 equipment and funded through a budget line-item reallocation request for $5,000, which is on County Council’s April 13, 2021 agenda. County Planning is waiting for an update from the County Department of Information Technology (IT) to determine the timing of additional replacements on County Planning’s remaining 2014 computer equipment. A strategy for future funding requests for technology investments and professional development opportunities to further strengthen our team is being explored. Ideally, any request for additional funding for County Planning that needs to go to Council would be categorized as a percentage of the revenues County Planning generated vs a request for additional dollars from the County’s General Funds.

No old business

No new business

No emails were received for public comment.

On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Mayor Bobst, the meeting was adjourned at 2:57 p.m.

Next Scheduled Meeting

Originally announced for Thursday, May 13, 2021, however agenda item for subdivision presentation has been pulled. Next meeting will be held on Thursday, June 10, 2021

Errors were found in the April 8, 2021 Board packet with the title page of the second Resolution page needing to be changed to 210408-C, Single Family Zoning Practices. The OHM Advisor contract dates were also incorrect in the contract and should reflect April 8, 2021 as the effective start date. Acceptance of these minutes at the June 10, 2021 meeting will consider these corrections as approved and final.


April 8, 2021

Mayor Pamela BobstYes
Mayor Michael Dylan BrennanYes
Councilperson Shontel BrownYes, alternate Mr. Doyle
Mayor Michael ByrneYes
Director Freddie CollierNo
Director Michael DeverYes
Mayor Anthony DiCiccoNo
Mayor Michael GammellaNo
Mayor Michael ProcukYes
Mayor Brad SellersYes
Councilperson Sunny SimonYes