MINUTES OF THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

June 11, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cuyahoga County Administration Building was closed to the public 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 via livestream by using the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZUNlgDm4d

No emails were received for public comment.

CALL TO ORDER
The meeting of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) was called to order by Co-Chairperson Councilperson Sunny Simon at 2:00 p.m. and the roll call showed a quorum was present.

MINUTES
On a motion by Councilperson Brown, seconded by Mayor Sellers, the minutes for May 14, 2020, with the correction of Mayor Gammella being in attendance at the Planning Commission Meeting, were duly adopted by unanimous vote.

OLD BUSINESS

Resolution No. 200514-C
A Resolution Approving Various Amendments to the Bylaws of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission.

Mayor Procuk joined the meeting at 2:10p.m.

On a motion by Mayor Brennan, seconded by Councilperson Simon, the foregoing resolution

200514-C was removed from being tabled at the last meeting by unanimous vote.

Mr. Shawn Leininger gave an update from the May 14, 2020 meeting and proposed changes made to the bylaws.

There was a consensus of the Planning Commission to amend Section 7.10 Conduct of Persons Appearing Before the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission. As it was proposed at the May, 2020 meeting, the amount of time an individual is permitted to address the Planning Commission was at the discretion of the Chairperson. It has been amended in the bylaws to establish a time limit of three (3) minutes for individuals addressing the Planning Commission and the Chairperson has discretion to extend the time limit as changed on page 6 of the Bylaws. No other changes suggested or made by the Planning Commission

The staff finds that all requirements for approval have been met and recommends the Planning Commission approve proposed amendments to the Bylaws of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission including additional amendments to Section 7.10 presented by Staff and as suggested by a consensus of the Planning Commission at their meeting on May 14, 2020.

On a motion by Mayor Byrne, seconded Mayor Gammella, the forgoing resolution was duly adopted by unanimous vote.

NEW BUSINESS
No new business

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. Leininger reported on wetland mitigation in Cuyahoga County, an issue that was raised at the last meeting after discussing a subdivision being proposed in Olmsted Township where the wetlands were being disturbed but the mitigation was happening outside of Cuyahoga County. The question was asked whether to require mitigation within Cuyahoga County; that wetlands disturbed in Cuyahoga County are often mitigated outside of the county in outlying, headwater areas. Investigation of this potential requirement revealed that mitigation of a disturbed wetland must be completed only within the watershed boundary, not within jurisdictional boundaries. In Cuyahoga County there are three (3) HUC-8 watersheds, the Black Rocky on the westside, the Cuyahoga in the center, and the Ashtabula-Chagrin on the eastside.

Mitigation can be in the form of restoration or preservation, and there are three (3) types of wetland mitigation:

  • Fee-in-lieu of mitigation to a sponsor (i.e., The Nature Conservancy);
  • Purchase of credits from a mitigation bank (i.e., North Coast Regional Council of Park Districts); or
  • It is the responsibility of the person/agency disturbing the wetland (permittee) to complete project specific mitigation – includes the permittee contracting with an organization such (i.e., West Creek Conservancy) to complete mitigation on the permittee’s behalf

Mr. Leininger reported that he reached out and discussed wetland mitigation with the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District and West Creek Conservancy for additional understanding why if wetlands are disturbed in Cuyahoga County, they are not mitigated in the County. The primary reasons are the lack of availability of large amounts of land and cost of that land in Cuyahoga County for mitigation.

Potentially there are two methods to address wetlands mitigation– regulatory and proactive, as in identifying the sites, understanding the problems associated with them, and then find ways to take away barriers and reverse the current course and make the wetland mitigation within the County.

Regulatory actions include enacting a County Ordinance requiring mitigation within Cuyahoga County. The only tool for County Planning to use is the Subdivision Regulations, and they have limited applicability and only apply to Olmsted Township and Chagrin Falls Township. Legal and other concerns related to this approach – would need vetted with Law Department.

A proactive approach for wetlands mitigation would be to utilize GIS resources to identify potential parcels that are suitable for creating a local wetland mitigation inventory:

  • 20+ acres in size
  • Natural land cover
  • Significant area with hydric soils

The ideal site would be publicly owned; however, all types of land ownership could be considered.  A preliminary search of just publicly owned land results in over 200 sites that may be eligible to help mitigate wetlands in Cuyahoga County.

The next steps are to continue to verify and evaluate sites and search parameters in each of the three HUC-8 watersheds; determine barriers and how to eliminate them for potential use as a mitigation site; and identify and determine how to engage the Cuyahoga County wetland mitigation community. Councilperson Simon thanked Mr. Leininger for his work and feels that it is important in Cuyahoga County to maintain the balance between wildlife and natural space and development. Councilperson Simon feels that there are opportunities with the Land Bank to nurture what is available.

Mr. Leininger spoke of the proposed FY2020/2021 Biennial Budget Amendments due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Office of Budget Management requested a target of a 15% reduction in each fiscal year plus a 10-day furlough for non-bargaining unit employees (all of County Planning staff). County Planning is continuing to monitor the CARES Act and County General Fund; to help offset some of the revenue losses with supplemental contract income. County Planning is also watching whether the 15% target reduction will be eliminated in whole or in part and whether the mandatory furlough will be canceled.

County Planning submitted the following reductions to the budget which result in a 13.6% reduction this fiscal year and a 11.9% for the following year. Given that 93% of County Planning’s operating budget is personnel, that is where the reductions were made. Reductions submitted included:

  • Hold open budgeted, vacant positions (3 FTEs)
    • Convert Contract Planner to Senior Planner, Planner (new), and HR/Payroll Assistant (new)
    • Hiring cannot occur until Classification & Compensation Study is complete with the Personal Review Commission
  • Suspend / Reduce Co-Op Program (2 FTEs)
    • Suspended FY2020 Program and retained 50% of FY2021 Program (one Co-Op per semester). Given current remote work environment practically difficult to administer a summer semester program. A change in this environment would need to be announced soon to administer a Fall, 2020 semester program
    • Ability to amend Contract Planner contract scope to assist in non-Township projects and help offset reduction of paid interns
  • Suspend / Reduce Performance Based Pay Program
    • Suspended FY2020 Program and retain 50% of FY2021 Program
    • 2% COLA is still in FY2021 Budget
  • 10-day furlough effective April 26, 2020 continuing for next 21 pay periods
  • Hold release of 2020 Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program (coordinated with Department of Sustainability and County Executive)

Councilperson Brown asked if there was a change in our workload due to the impacts of COVID-19. Mr. Leininger answered that the workload has stayed the same with projects that had been started being closed out and replaced by new projects. The new community planning grants will bring in new work as other plans are finished. Conversations with the CARES Funds has not begun but expected in the future to help offset the furloughs. Councilperson Simon followed up by asking what the plan is to maintain the workload given the furlough requirement. Mr. Leininger answered that the work would be finished even if the timeline is moved further out. Even though there will be delays, it is not expected that they will be significant. Amending the scope of the experienced contract planner can assist in the workload. Councilperson Simon is concerned about the morale of the employees and the actual necessity of cutting this small agency’s staffing budget that directly serves communities, suggesting that it may be necessary to shorten the furlough period. She stated that she would like to have Mr. Leininger talk with OBM and County Council about this issue and would like to see the furlough removed or cut significantly because of the important work this small agency does with all the communities.

 COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
No comments from the public

ADJOURNMENT

On a motion by Councilperson Simon, seconded by Mayor Procuk, the meeting was adjourned with unanimous vote at 2:30 p.m.

Next Scheduled Meeting: Thursday, July 9, 2020

CUYAHOGA COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION

MEETING ATTENDANCE

June 11, 2020

MEMBER PRESENT
Mayor Pamela Bobst Yes
Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan Yes
Councilperson Shontel Brown Yes
Mayor Michael Byrne Yes
Mr. Freddie Collier Yes, alternate Ms. Marka Fields
Mr. Michael Dever No
Mayor Anthony DiCicco No
Mayor Michael Gammella Yes
Mayor Michael Procuk Yes
Mayor Brad Sellers Yes
Councilperson Sunny Simon Yes

CUYAHOGA COUNTY SOLID WASTE DISTRICT – SOLID WASTE POLICY COMMITTEE 

Call to Order and Roll Call

The meeting of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District-Solid Waste Policy Committee was called to order by Co-Chairperson Councilperson Sunny Simon at 2:31 p.m. and the roll call showed a quorum was present.

Approval of Minutes of February 13, 2020 Meeting

On a motion by Councilperson Brown, seconded by Councilperson Simon, the minutes for February 13, 2020 were duly adopted by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 200611-A
A Resolution Appointing Mr. Cary Mathias to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Policy Committee as a Member Representing Industrial, Commercial, or Institutional Generators of Solid Wastes within the District Pursuant to Section 3734.54 (B) of the Ohio Revised Code.

Ms. Diane Bickett stated that Mr. Mathias was originally appointed in February 2017 and is the Regional Waste Manager for Arcelor Mittal USA. Mr. Mathias worked with the Solid Waste District through the preparation of the most recent Solid Waste Plan Update and has agreed to continue with the Solid Waste Policy Committee. Ms. Bickett recommended him for another three (3) year term.

On a motion by Councilperson Simon, seconded by Councilperson Brown, the foregoing resolution was duly adopted by unanimous vote.

District Update
Ms. Jessica Fenos gave updates on the Ohio EPA Annual District Report. At the end of May 2020, the District informed the Ohio EPA that more time was needed to complete the 2019 Annual District Report (ADR), which is due on June 1st each year.  This is due to numerous setbacks incurred because of the pandemic, which hindered their ability to collect the necessary survey data from some businesses and municipalities in a timely manner. The District expects to submit the completed ADR by the end of June 2020.

Preliminary results of the 2019 data show the China National Sword’s effect on recycling. The District’s residential recycling rate overall was down 3% from 2018, while the amount of waste landfilled increased by 5%.  Residential curbside recycling alone declined by nearly 15%.  While the residential, commercial, and industrial recycling data is still being analyzed, it is anticipated that the District will still exceed Ohio EPA’s waste diversion goal of 25% for the residential/commercial sector and 66% for the industrial sector.

Ms. Fenos reported on the CCSWD Annual Report & Residential Recycling Report. The District’s 2019 Annual Report and Residential Recycling Report is in the process of being prepared and will be mailed out in a few weeks.

Lastly, Ms. Fenos reported on community contracts, of which the Solid Waste District was aware of 6 communities that went out to bid for solid waste services so far this year.  The contract pricing they reviewed is increasing but had not increased more than what had been anticipated last Fall.  The current average for all-inclusive pricing is around $15 – $16 per household per month.

Ms. Bickett reported on the Consortium Bids. The District issued an Invitation to Bid for its Solid Waste and Recycling consortiums on June 1, 2020. The consortium consists of ten municipal waste collectors located mainly in east side communities. The consortium bid helps communities get better pricing than they could on their own. The District opens bids for solid waste disposal and for recycling processing services on June 26, 2020. New contracts will be in place on October 1.

Ms. Bickett also announced that the District has a new staff member – Matthew Walters bringing the staff total to seven (7). Hired in March 2020 as a Recycling Programs Coordinator, Mr. Walters will be managing the Household Hazardous Waste program, special waste programs, and will be developing new recycling programs for the Special Waste Convenience Center.

Programming Changes Due to COVID-19
Ms. Bickett reported that staff has been mostly working remotely since the end of March 2020. The District recently reopened the office to the public for recycling drop-offs. Throughout this time, the District has continued to operate the household hazardous waste program, accepting municipal deliveries. The education programming had to be adjusted. The month of April which is typically the busiest month for the District was slow with Earth Day events across the County being canceled. However, the recycling presentations, compost seminars and businesses seminars were continued on-line. Carin Miller, the Education Director, started doing webinars in May 2020 and has done 12 and reached 437 people. There are now two (2) no-contact compost bin sales and there are plans to continue these events monthly for now.

Recycling update – Cleveland
Ms. Bickett updated the Committee on Cleveland’s curbside recycling program that was suspended after its most recent contract expired on March 3, 2020. Because of its contamination problems, the first time the City of Cleveland went out to bid for a new contract there were no bidders. The second time, after removing the not-to-exceed limit, there was one bid, from Rumpke Waste. The high price includes the cost of around $100 per ton to process and about $75 to transport to Cincinnati. Cleveland City Council has been holding hearings about the recycling program and Ms. Bickett spoke at one of their meetings. A consultant was hired to redesign the program. It will probably be 2021 before there is a new contract in place. In the meantime, the District is referring Cleveland residents to the ACBC, Aluminum Cans for Burned Children drop-offs and the many paper and cardboard drop offs operated by River Valley Paper and Royal Oak recycling. The District will likely be working with the City of Cleveland and their consultant as they develop solutions.

Questions / Discussion

The next Solid Waste District meeting is scheduled for August 13,2020.

Adjourn

On a motion by Councilperson Simon, seconded by Mayor Byrne, the meeting was adjourned at 2:45p.m.

SOLID WASTE POLICY COMMITTEE

MEETING ATTENDANCE

June 11, 2020

MEMBER PRESENT
Mayor Pamela Bobst Yes
Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan Yes
Councilperson Shontel Brown Yes
Mayor Michael Byrne Yes
Mr. Freddie Collier Yes, alternate Ms. Marka Fields
Mr. Michael Dever No
Mayor Anthony DiCicco No
Mayor Michael Gammella Yes
Mayor Michael Procuk Yes
Mayor Brad Sellers Yes
Councilperson Sunny Simon Yes
Mr. Cory Mathias Yes