June 10, 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 2:03 p.m. and the roll call showed a quorum was present.

On a motion by Councilperson Simon, seconded by Director Collier, the minutes for the April 8, 2021, meeting minutes were duly adopted by unanimous vote.

Mr. Mears updated the Board on the Solon Connects plan.  In 2019, the City of Solon was awarded a planning services grant for this project that is aimed at providing safer and stronger pedestrian and bicycle connections between existing civic, commercial, and open space assets to create safe and beneficial active transportation option for everyone. The benefits of connectivity can impact a city’s economics, health, and safety outcomes.  Data from a local survey in 2012 supports the need for connectivity, where 72% of Solon residents agreed that more trails are needed. In a national survey, 50% of US residents say that walkability is a high priority when considering where to live; 63% of millennials would like to live in a place where they do not need to use a car as often, and 57% of Americans agreed that business and homes should be built closer together. Shops and business that are within walking distance and do not require the use of an automobile have helped bicycling become the country’s fastest-growing form of transportation for commuters.

A couple examples of the benefits of connectivity includes houses located in highly walkable neighborhoods command between $4,000 and $34,000 more than similar houses in areas with average walkability levels. The health in neighborhoods with shops and retail within walking distance also have a 35% lower risk of obesity. However, not all bicycle riders are at the same skill and comfort level: 37% surveyed nationwide are physically unable, unwilling, or uncomfortable biking anywhere.  The largest group and the target group of bicyclists include children, beginners, and most adults, at 51%. This group prefers off-street, separated facilities, and/or quiet residential streets. These riders may not bike if facilities do not meet needs for comfort and reduced stress. The last set of bicycle users identified themselves as confident (5%) and expert (7%) riders that have a higher stress tolerance on a bicycle. The Solon Connects project is looking at ways to make riding a bicycle less stressful and safer by implementing multi-use trails with sidepaths and bike boulevards and protected or buffered bike lanes. That County Planning used a planning process that included Discovery & Analysis, Vision & Objectives to arrive at Recommendations, and then ultimately Implementation Strategies. Community engagement was challenging during COVID-19 but included an online survey, virtual town hall meetings that featured a live broadcast, signage that was displayed throughout the community, mailers, recorded presentations, virtual office hours, and a MURAL program to make meeting interactive. In total, community engagement equaled over 650 live broadcast views, 1,250 survey responses, 250 mapped points, and hundreds of individual comments. The conclusion: a better a balance between the needs of car travel and cyclists and pedestrians by allocating and designing the available space to accommodate all users. Proposed new facilities include 26 miles of priority sidewalks, 12 miles of sidepaths, 8 miles of bike boulevards, and 13 miles of additional off-street trails. Proposed updates to the City’s zoning code to increase walkability include:

  • Ensure all building entrances face street / sidewalk;
  • Ensure all building have dedicated access from sidewalk;
  • Remove setbacks and move buildings closer to street;
  • Remove parking minimums or limit number of parking spaces;
  • Parking only on side or rear (not in front between sidewalk);
  • Allow higher density residential (mixed-use) projects with multiple housing types.

The Solon Connects Plan ultimately culminates with a downtown plan that would create a unified vision of a vibrant core that supports active transportation. Mr. Mears is looking forward to finalizing the plan in the next few weeks.

Ms. Ball gave an overview of the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) which was initially created in 1987 under Ohio Revised Code Section 164. OPWC’s mission is to deliver its statutory programs with the greatest efficiency and highest customer satisfaction while maintaining a high level of transparency and accountability to Ohio’s taxpayers.  Programs that they administer include:

  • State Capital Improvement Program
    • Grants
    • Loans
    • Loan Assistance/Credit Enhancement
  • Local Transportation Improvement Program
  • Small Government Program
  • Emergency Program
  • Clean Ohio Conservation Green Space Program

The Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) administers its Infrastructure and Green Space Conservation Grant Programs in conjunction with local partners. In total, there are 19 District Integrating Committees and Natural Resources Assistance Councils in the State of Ohio, and Cuyahoga County is District One and a single county district. Allocations are based on per capita population of the Census.

Some of the duties of a District liaison include:

  • Undertake the work and activities set forth in scope of work defined in Administrative Agreements.
  • Attend any OPWC-sponsored statewide leadership event as necessary to maintain a level of staff proficiency.
  • Provide the District and the OPWC with the transcription of minutes, meeting notices and agendas, and any other necessary support services as required.
  • Travel within the District as requested by the District to assist local subdivisions and attend/conduct meetings as necessary.
  • Under the direction of the District, initiate and develop project selection processes for approval by the District and the OPWC that will ensure that the recommended projects meet the requirements of law, rules, and regulations of the OPWC.
  • Under the direction of the District, notify and assist all political subdivisions within the District of the opportunity to apply for financial assistance and be considered for the SCIP, LTIP, and Clean Ohio programs.


Resolution No. 210610-A requesting the approval of the OPWC Cost Agreement with District One (Cuyahoga County) Public Works Integrating Committee (DOPWIC).

The Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) provides funding for capital improvement (infrastructure) projects through State Infrastructure Programs including the State Capital Improvement Program (SCIP), the Local Transportation Improvement Program (LTIP), and the Revolving Loan Program (RLP). The SCIP is a combined grant/loan program based on funding from general obligation bonds with 10% being loans. SCIP funding is intended for roads, bridges, watermain, sewer, storm water and wastewater treatment plants.  As the SCIP loans are repaid, those funds are set aside for the RPL. The LTIP program is a grant program for roads and bridges based on funding provided from gasoline taxes.  The Small Government Commission is run through the OPWC and provides grants and loans to villages and townships with populations in the unincorporated areas of less than 5,000 in population. The Emergency program is also run through OPWC directly.

The DOPWIC is tasked with evaluating applications, selecting projects through a competitive grant process, and submitting a recommended list of those projects to the OPWC for funding. Cuyahoga County will receive a program allocation of approximately $29 million in the State Fiscal Year 2022.  The Ohio Administrative Code Section 164-1-133 permits the OPWC to contract with an entity to provide the necessary administrative services. The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission has provided administrative services, outlined in the attached Administrative Cost Agreement, to the DOPWIC for the State Infrastructure Programs since 1991.  This Agreement would allow County Planning to continue to provide these administrative services for State Fiscal Year 2022. Cuyahoga County Planning Commission could receive $65,000 in revenue. The estimated costs for fiscal year 2022 are $50,500 for personnel, $500 in operating expenses, $4,000 in staff support and $10,000 in project scoring. Approval of the Program Cost Agreement for Fiscal Year 2022 will allow County Planning to be reimbursed for work from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. Thereafter, County Planning will enter into the Infrastructure Program Administrative Cost Agreement with the OPWC and DOPWIC

On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Councilperson Brown, Resolution No. 210610-A, authorizing the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) to approve of the OPWC Cost Agreement with District One (Cuyahoga County) Public Works Integrating Committee (DOPWIC). With Director Dever and Mayor Sellers abstaining, was duly adopted by a roll call vote.

Resolution No. 210610-B requesting the approval of the OPWC Cost Agreement with Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC).

Ms. Ball continued to give an overview of Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation program that is intended to fund preservation of open spaces, sensitive ecological areas, and stream corridors. Cuyahoga County will receive an allocation of $3.5 million for Fiscal Year 2022 (Round 16), to award to projects in District One. The NRAC is tasked with evaluating applications and selecting projects through a competitive grant program that are then recommended to the Ohio Public Works Committee (OPWC) for funding.

Since 2015, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission has contracted with the District One NRAC to administer the OPWC’s Clean Ohio Program on its behalf. This Agreement would allow County Planning to continue to provide these administrative services for State Fiscal Year 2022.  County Planning estimates $15,000 in revenue for County Planning. Approval of the Program Cost Agreement for State Fiscal Year 2022 will allow County Planning to be reimbursed for work from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

On a motion by Mayor DiCicco, seconded by Councilperson Simon, Resolution No. 210610-B, authorizing the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) to approve the OPWC Cost Agreement with Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC), with Mayor Procuk abstaining, was duly adopted by a roll call vote.

Resolution No. 210610-C requesting the approval of the modification of Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (CCPC) Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual, Section 9.10 to update language of maternity/paternity leave policy.

Director Cierebiej reported on the modification to the language previously used in Section 9.10 of the CCPC Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual. The manual was outdated, especially as it related to pronouns used and that it only referenced pregnancy, not adoption or legal placement of a child. CCPC desires to implement an amendment to its current maternity/paternity leave policy to reflect language in its sister provisions in Section 11.09 of the County Employee Handbook’s 3rd Revision adopted on February 20, 2020 (Ordinance No. 020200-0004) to be effective immediately.

On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Mayor Procuk, Resolution No. 210610-C, authorizing the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) to approve the modification of Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual, Section 9.10 to update language of maternity/paternity leave policy, was duly adopted by unanimous vote.

Director Cierebiej reported on collaboration with Department of Development on several potential projects and development of an inter-agency agreement scope to update the County’s five-year economic development plan.  Recent work included an interview of the Economic Commission and the previous five-year plan that update that was submitted by the Department of Development. In the future Ms. Cierebiej would like to see the Planning Commission taking a bigger role in working with the Department of Development and Baldwin Wallace College for a 2022 update.

The Community Data Book has been published and a team is working on the Regional Data Book to be released later this year. The final draft is complete, but is being reviewed with NOACA, Team NEO, and other entities to make sure that the information is correct. This Data Book takes the Cleveland Metro area and compares it to other similar metropolitan areas.

Current Staffing includes two interns that are full-time this summer. Plans for future staffing are being explored while working with PRC for job descriptions and classifications. The new descriptions and classification will then go before the Council for approval.  County Planning is ramping up to post for a Senior and an Entry Level Planner and looking at a September 1st start date, while looking a budget and the ability to finance the additions.

Return to work and Remote Work policy will be introduced to this commission at the next meeting. The staff is currently required to report to the office once a week, still using safety protocols. Many of the planning meetings being held are still virtual but County Planning will be working through those as it shifts to in-person meetings.

County Planning will not solicit proposals for Capacity & Planning Grants in 2021. The goal for 2022 is to provide a wider array of potential planning projects, in line with a regional strategy, with a focus on equitable distribution.

Director Cierebiej presented the following report on current projects:

Project% CompleteAssigned or Target End Date
Brooklyn Heights Master Plan50%9/30/2021
Maple Heights Zoning Update60%7/30/2021
Broadview Heights Master Plan95%5/30/2021
Garfield Heights Master Plan20%3/1/2022
Regional Data Book85%7/25/2021
Single-Family Zoning Project: Phase 115%12/31/2021
COVID-19 Memorial5%
Rocky River Zoning Update: Phase 340%12/31/2021
Economic Development 5 Year Plan60%6/27/2021
Brookpark Road Corridor Plan30%10/20/2021
Lakefront Public Access Plan70%10/1/2021
East Cleveland Park Plan60%11/30/2021
Center Ridge Road Corridor Plan70%9/30/2021
Middleburg Heights Master Plan70%9/30/2021
Community Confluence TLCI95%12/31/2021
Community Confluence PE35%12/31/2022
Solon Connectivity Plan90%6/30/2021

For the remainder of 2021, County Planning will work to complete active projects, publish the Regional Databook, develop an Inter-Agency Agreement with County DOD for the update of the five-year Economic Development plan for 2022, and assist County DOD with community and Investment Target Area Strategies. In addition, it is County Planning’s goal to develop best practices guidebooks that advance the recommendations of Vibrant NEO and can be a resource for all the municipalities that it serves in Cuyahoga County.

A congratulations was given to intern Laura Mendez Ortiz who passed her AICP Candidates exam. The Candidate Pilot Program allows student without the Professional Planning Experience to sit for the exam first, before gaining the experience necessary to become a certified AICP. Director Cierebiej also welcomed a new intern – Emily Pietrantone – from University of Cincinnati who is joining County Planning through the summer.

Director Cierebiej provided a brief fiscal update on the 2021 budget: Of the total operating budget $3,669,496, year-to-date expenses are 27% at $998,980 with a remaining budget for 2021 at $2.67M. Deposits to date are $96,887.19 and expected to total $133,372.60 with anticipated 1st Quarter, 2021 revenues.

No old business


Resolution No. 210610-D requesting the approval of the addition of a modification of Section 6.08 of the Cuyahoga County Planning Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual Adding Juneteenth as a Holiday.

 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all enslaved people in the Confederate States to “be then, thenceforward, and forever free” on January 1, 1863, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 (aka, Juneteenth), two-and-a-half years after signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, to ensure that all enslaved people were freed. On May 25th, the Cuyahoga County Executive and County Council passed Ordinance No. O2021-0005 to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for County workers. This year the County will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 18, 2021. All Executive Agencies and majority of Non-Executive Agencies will observe this holiday. Section 7.04 [a] of County Planning’s bylaws state that a CCPC member may request that a matter be added to the agenda at, or prior to a Regular Meeting.   Given the timing of this County Council Ordinance and the holiday being next week, County Planning added Resolution 210610-D and requested a vote to approve CCPC observing Juneteenth on June 18, 2021, and add Juneteenth as a holiday in Section 6.08 in CCPC Personnel Policies and Procedures.

There were questions, concerns, and a discussion on voting on a resolution that is walked on. Mr. Wesley Kretch from the County Law Department stated that under the Bylaws section 7.04A there is a provision that allows a member to bring up a matter at or prior to a regular meeting. Mayor Bobst asked if the resolution could also be voted on and Mr. Kretch stated that the bylaws are broad enough to allow a vote. Mr. Dever explained that the County went through lengthy process the past month and all the departments and offices located within the County Administrative building, where County Planning is also housed, will be closed. Councilperson Simon announced that the County will be sponsoring many events around Northeast Ohio to educate and engage the public on the significance of the date.

On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Mayor Sellers, Resolution No. 210610-D, authorizing the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) to approve the addition of a modification of Section 6.08 of the Cuyahoga County Planning Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual adding Juneteenth as a Holiday, was duly adopted by unanimous vote.

No emails were received for public comment.

On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Councilperson Brown, the meeting was adjourned at 3:13 p.m.


June 10, 2021

Mayor Pamela BobstYes
Mayor Michael Dylan BrennanYes
Councilperson Shontel BrownYes
Mayor Michael ByrneYes
Director Freddie CollierYes
Director Michael DeverYes
Mayor Anthony DiCiccoYes
Mayor Michael GammellaNo – technical difficulties
Mayor Michael ProcukYes
Mayor Brad SellersYes
Councilperson Sunny SimonYes