MINUTES OF THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
FEBRUARY 9, 2023
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) was called to order by Director Dever at 2:00 p.m. and the roll call showed a quorum was present.
2023 Meeting Schedule
The 2023 meeting schedule was reviewed and on a Motion by Councilperson Simon to accept the schedule, seconded by Director Dever, the vote was unanimous.
Election of Officers
The floor was opened for nomination of Planning Commission Chair. Director Dever was nominated to continue as Chair. Director Dever accepted the nomination. With no other nominations for Board Chairperson, Mayor Brennan made a motion which was seconded by Mayor Sellers to close the nominations. Then on a motion by Councilperson Simon, and seconded by Mayor Sellers, the vote was unanimous to re-elect Director Dever as Chair.
Director Dever continued chairing the meeting.
The floor was opened for nomination of Planning Commission Vice-Chair. Councilperson Sunny Simon was nominated to continue as Vice-Chair. Councilperson Simon accepted the nomination. With no other nominations for Board Vice-Chair, Mayor Sellers made a motion which was seconded by Mayor Brennan to close the nominations. Then on a motion by Mayor Brennan, seconded by Mayor Sellers, the vote was unanimous to re-elect Councilperson Simon as Vice-Chair.
COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
No requests for public comment.
On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Councilperson Simon, with Mayor Sellers abstaining, the meeting minutes for the November 9, 2022 were duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Director Huang joined the meeting at 2:09 p.m.
Resolution No. 230209-A Requesting the approval of a Modification to the Master Subdivision Plan and the approval of the Preliminary Plan for the Newly Proposed Phase 2A of the Sanctuary of Olmsted and the Preserve of Olmsted.
Ms. Meghan Chaney introduced Trustee Jeanene Kress from Olmsted Township, Anthony Valore from Valore Homes, and Jim O’Connor from Pulte Homes in attendance. Ms. Chaney continued that Valore Homes is requesting approval for a modification to the Master Subdivision Plan and approval of the Preliminary Plan for newly proposed Phase 2A. Phase 2A proposes the creation of nine (9) and Phase 2B proposes the creation of 18 sublots, both for detached single-family homes. Modification to the design of the intersection of the Grandview, Morning Side, and Summer Place Drives from the a round-about to a traditional T-shaped intersection. Minor modification to the lot size and shape on 4 sublots, 1 of which is Phase 2A, with No changes to the number of lots, layout of lots, or location of roadway was included in these proposed modifications.
The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission circulated the Modified Master Subdivision Plan and Phase 2A Preliminary Plan to reviewing entities for feedback and recommendation. Reviewing entities recommended approval, subject to conditions. Only after all above conditions have been met may the applicant begin construction of improvements in Phase 2A of The Sanctuary & Preserve PRD Subdivision. Mr. Valore spoke that this change will give a secondary access that is necessary for Pulte Homes to continue building. Trustee Kress spoke in support of this resolution without objections.
On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Councilperson Simon, Resolution No. 230209-A requesting the approval of a Modification to the Master Subdivision Plan and the approval of the Preliminary Plan for the Newly Proposed Phase 2A of the Sanctuary of Olmsted and the Preserve of Olmsted, was duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Resolution No. 230209-B Requesting the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement between Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the City of Euclid for a Citywide Active Transportation Plan.
Ms. Rachel Novak spoke about Euclid beginning the process to create a Citywide Active Transportation Plan that seeks to address several key issues such as connecting numerous assets with neighboring communities making them more meaningful for residents and the region. The City of Euclid has seen consistent growth in the percentage of people who commute by public transportation or walking, and the Master Plan calls for expansion of safe, non-motorized connections throughout the city. This could be vital to the city’s commitment to addressing racism as a public health crisis and creating an equitable quality of life for all residents. This resolution is a request for approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement with the City of Euclid with a total estimated project budget $105,000 with a City of Euclid contribution not to exceed $10,000 and the work estimated to be completed by December 31, 2023.
On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Director Huang, Resolution No. 230209-B requesting the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement between Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the City of Euclid for a Citywide Active Transportation Plan, was duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Resolution No. 230209-C Requesting the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement between Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the City of Fairview Park for the Lorain Road Corridor Revitalization Plan.
Mr. Micah Stryker explained that the City of Fairview Park desires a cohesive plan to guide the revitalization of the Lorain Road Corridor. The 3-mile-long corridor serves the City’s main commercial district and substantial multi-family residential developments. This study will build upon previous studies along Lorain Avenue in the City and concurrent studies of the corridor in neighboring North Olmsted and the City of Cleveland. As well, the City of Fairview Park has been active in the Planning Commission’s current Transit Oriented Development Study. The City of Fairview Park has a desire for community engagement, especially with the local business community to support economic development the creation of a local TIF District. The resolution is a request for the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement with the City of Fairview Park with a total estimated project budget of $95,000 with a City of Fairview Park contribution not to exceed $10,000 and the work estimated to be completed by December 31, 2023.
On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Mayor Sellers, Resolution No. 230209-C Requesting the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement between Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the City of Fairview Park for the Lorain Road Corridor Revitalization Plan, was duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Resolution No. 230209-D Requesting the approval of a Professional Services Agreement between Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the City of Lakewood for a Madison Park Master Plan.
Ms. Meghan Chaney explained that the City of Lakewood submitted an application that was accepted for developing a Master Plan for Madison Park in response to the evolving needs and values of the community. The Madison Park Master Plan will assess the needs of existing facilities and infrastructure through a lens of equity and community wellness. This Plan will reflect the current values and needs of Lakewood’s diverse population, tailor recommendations to address the needs of surrounding residents, which include low- to moderate-income families and residents that rely on alternative forms of transportation.
Finally, the plan will align findings and recommendations with Lakewood’s previous planning efforts, including Lakewood’s Climate Action Plan and the Community Needs Assessment. The staff is requesting the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement with the City of Lakewood with a total estimated project budget of $85,000 with a City of Lakewood contribution not to exceed $10,000 and the work estimated to be completed by December 31, 2023.
On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Mayor Brennan, Resolution No. 230209-D requesting the approval of a Professional Services Agreement between Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the City of Lakewood for a Madison Park Master Plan, was duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Resolution No. 230209-E Requesting the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement between Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the City of Warrensville Heights for a Parks and Greenspace Plan.
Ms. Nichole Laird explained that Warrensville Heights is developing a new park at 23401 Emery Road, the site of the former John Dewey Elementary School. The Plan is in response to the community’s need to bridge the gap for more green space, parks and recreational areas as three elementary schools and their playgrounds and open spaces go offline. The Warrensville Heights Parks and Greenspace Plan will be a guide for the community to develop and build an intergeneration green space. Health and wellness will be a major component of the Plan with a focus on developing walking trails for all ages and promoting physical activity. The staff requests the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement with the City of Warrensville Heights with a total estimated project budget $85,000 with a City of Warrensville Heights contribution not to exceed $10,000 and the work estimated to be completed by December 31, 2023.
On a motion by Mayor Procuk, seconded by Mayor Orcutt, Resolution No. 230209-E requesting the approval of a Professional Planning Services Agreement between Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the City of Warrensville Heights for a Parks and Greenspace Plan, with Mayor Sellers abstaining, was duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Ms. Jennifer Karaffa gave a financial update on County Planning and addressed both a review of 2022 and 2023 operating budget because the County authorizes a 2-year or biennial budget. The final 2022 budget included additional funds for increased healthcare costs and additional appropriation to its contracts account which was intended to cover a balance of encumbered but not issued reimbursements from the 2021 Healthy Urban Tree Grants and for the Lakefront Project.
The 2022 year-end totals were lower than the final approved budget and were attributed to unanticipated turnover of staff and unfilled vacancies in 2022. Ms. Karaffa explained however, that County Planning had the biggest variance in spending was in its contracts account. More than half of these unspent dollars were from the 2021 Healthy Urban Tree Grant awards from the previous round of funding whose contract balances remained from reimbursements either not requested or substantiated before year end. Other unspent contract dollars were from either operational contracts such as Brickpath or with SmithGroup, a contract administered on behalf of the Lakefront Public Access Plan project.
Other factors impacted both County Planning’s year-end 2022 budget and influenced its 2023 Budget. County Planning’s positions officially became classified, and many salaries were adjusted up to be in line with the salary thresholds of those classifications. There was also a market wage Increase for most all full-time, permanent positions in Fourth Quarter, 2022. The 2023 budget was then also adjusted to include 3% COLA beginning in 2023, and higher employer-healthcare costs in 2023, all factors that were not part of the original adopted biennial budget. In total, an adjustment of approximately $132,200 was added to County Planning’s operating budget for 2023. However, County Planning understands this adjustment was calculated to reflect salary and benefits costs for occupied positions, and not vacancies such as the Senior Planner vacancy.
County Planning’s authorized 2023 Operating Budget as approved by County Council is funded at just under $3 million for 2023. Its largest expense is its people -with both salaries and benefits comprising the largest component of the approved budget. The 2023 operating budget was originally built with another round of HUTC funding, but which will be transferred to a non-operating account, one with a Lifetime Budget. The remainder of its funded budget covers operating expenses such as supplies, employee expenses, and other expenditures which have remained flat in recent years.
While County Planning’s Operating budget is funded exclusively from the County General Fund, this Agency generates revenues from outside sources and departments served. County Planning invoices for professional planning and zoning services and deposits those revenue collections back to the County General Fund at year end. In 2022, County Planning recognized total revenues of about $285,400. The Office of Budget & Management (OBM) is forecasting $178,000 in outside revenues in 2023 and given that County Planning’s annual outside revenue collections have averaged about $200K annually over the last four years, it’s likely that County Planning will deposit about the same in outside revenue.
Councilperson Simon noted that because there were fourteen (14) applications received for Community planning work, and we only awarded three (3), it demonstrates that there is a greater need for planning than the County Planning Commission has capacity for at this time. Councilwoman Simon suggested that if County Planning kept [some of] the outside revenues, it may be possible to address more of those needs of the communities.
COUNTY PLANNING BYLAWS – RECOMMENDED MODIFICATIONS, DISCUSSION ONLY
Director Cierebiej introduced a red-lined version of County Planning Bylaws to be reviewed for a vote at Next Board Meeting. The Bylaws were originally adopted in 1989; amended in 2013, and in 2015, clarified some language and recently added potential additional language. Director Cierebiej noted this is a discussion item only, there will be no approval of any changes at this time.
One of the potential additions included in the red-line version was whether or not term limits should be something that is included in the Bylaws. Some members of the board did not feel that term limits were necessary given the change of County Executives over the years which provides opportunities for new members to be appointed.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS REPORT
Director Cierebiej began her Executive Director’s report with the outcomes from the County Planning strategic planning retreat, including a new vision statement and a revised mission statement.
New Vision Statement:
Inspiring all of our communities to thrive.
Revised Mission Statement:
To advance Cuyahoga County’s social, economic, and environmental health through equitable community planning.
On a motion by Councilperson Simon, seconded by Mayor Sellers, the new Vision Statement and Revised Mission Statement were approved and duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Director Cierebiej noted that strategic Initiatives, or specific actions, are being developed for each of these imperatives in 2023. Future initiative ideas were generated at the inaugural Staff Retreat that will be advanced in the next 2-5years.
- Cultivate Employees
- Enhance Product and Service Delivery
- Advance Education and Awareness
- Influence Policy, Advocacy, and Innovation
- Incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Director Cierebiej announced that the County Council President Jones has renewed board the seats of Councilperson Simon and Councilperson Conwell as well as their alternates. The County Executive’s recommendations for Mayoral appointments will be introduced to County Council on February 14, 2023.
Policy Updates Needed
Director Cierebiej noted the updated Bylaws are to be voted on at the next Board Meeting. Also to be reviewed and voted on by the Board are the Agency’s compensation, probation period, vacation, sick time, and remote work policies.
There was no old business.
There was no new business.
On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Mayor Orcutt, the Planning Commission meeting was adjourned at 3:04 p.m.
Next Tentative Meeting is March 9, 2023.
CUYAHOGA COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION
FEBRUARY 9, 2023
|Mayor Bibb/ Director Huang
|Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan
|Councilperson Yvonne Conwell
|Yes/ Mr. Michael King
|Director Michael Dever
|Mayor Michael Procuk
|Mayor Brad Sellers
|Councilperson Sunny Simon