November 18, 2021

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.

On a motion by Mayor Brennan, seconded by Mayor Byrne, the minutes for the October 14, 2021, meeting minutes were duly adopted by unanimous vote.

Ms. Rachel Novak reported on the Middleburg Heights Master Plan. The project officially kicked-off in November of 2019. COVID-19 forced County Planning to be proactive and flexible in terms of moving the process forward and how the staff engaged with the project team, stake holders, and the public. The City and County Planning updated their websites regularly and shared the message on social media platforms. The City of Middleburg Heights made community announcements through e-newsletters and created high-quality videos advertising the project and used online community surveys for feedback. Community engagement responses were open for a full month and the 1st had 595 responses; the 2nd had 358 responses with a 3rd coming soon.

County Planning has completed the first three phases of the process: Current Conditions, Community Vision, and Goals and Actions. Middleburg Heights’ Central Park & Municipal Campus area was identified as a Focus Area after hearing from residents, stakeholders and the project team. The location is east of I-71, nearby the Bagley Road interchange area, and County Planning is working with Cleveland Metroparks to advance project. The Greater Southland Shopping area is another Focus Area that County Planning and the City are studying not only at the Southland site but also the roads and areas around the area to extend improvements and continue connectivity. Key land use considerations include:

  • Mixed-Use Target Zones
  • Preservation of Trees/Open Space
  • Single-Family Infill Opportunities
  • Protection of Existing Single-Family Neighborhoods
  • Limit Industrial Use Expansion

The Middleburg Heights’ Master Plan is currently in its 4th phase with County Planning evaluating and organizing priority recommendations and projects, identifying potential partners, and outlining funding opportunities. There will be one more opportunity for community engagement during this phase. County Planning is working with the City of Middleburg Heights to develop an e-newsletter to send to residents and advertise this final engagement period. Upon completion of the previous four phases, the 5th and final phase of the Master Plan will combine all the previous phases into a single, comprehensive document. A final presentation will be made to City Council and the community for adoption of the Master Plan. It is anticipated that the draft document and a presentation to Council will take place early 2022.


Resolution No. 211118-A requesting the approval of the Middleburg Heights Zoning Map Update.

As the result of the current work in Middleburg Hts, the city has asked County Planning for additional assistance. Mr. Sonnhalter reported that the City of Middleburg Heights, by recommendations discussed during the Master Plan process, engaged Stewart Land Use to prepare a complete update to the City of Middleburg Heights Zoning Code. The City of Middleburg Heights has requested that County Planning provide additional professional planning assistance to prepare an update to the Zoning Map to reflect the updated Zoning Code. County Planning requests the approval of a Planning Services Agreement with the City of Middleburg Heights for a fee not to exceed $7,000.00 to perform this work. On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Mayor Byrne, Resolution No. 211118-A requesting the approval of the Middleburg Heights Zoning Map Update, was duly adopted by unanimous vote.

Director Cierebiej gave an overview of all active projects. Several projects will be wrapping up 4th Quarter, 2021 and others in Q2/Q3 next year. She reported that there were too many to go through each one individually, but provided a sample of some of the larger projects that County Planning is currently working on including:

  • Lakefront Public Access Plan – Draft Final Report Received; Actively seeking funding and coordinating with several local partners;
  • Community Confluence Preliminary Engineering – Recommendations, Next Steps;
  • Department of Development Inter-Agency Agreement;
  • Parma Parking Analysis which includes some in-kind work now, but will be seeking approval in December 2021 to enter into a contract with the City of Parma for that work;
  • Second Phase of Single-Family Zoning for the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium – working on the scope and fee for that contract work and likely seek Board approval in January, 2022;
  • Transit-Oriented Development Study, in partnership with GCRTA – an overall initiative/strategy vs a specific project – which can benefit many communities;
  • Working closely with Aerozone Alliance leadership to determine how best to support their efforts;
  • Complete & Green Streets – a good example of work that benefits many and is in line with the goal of providing a wider array of potential planning projects, as well as in line with a regional strategy with a focus on equitable distribution.

Councilperson Sunny Simon joined the meeting.

Staff & Capacity
Current Intern Sara Tengen’s last day with County Planning is December 17th, 2021. She has participated in a variety of projects and has been a tremendous help. County Planning is coordinating with Cleveland State University for a graduate Student Intern in Winter Semester, 2022. County Planning will also be pursuing a Fellow for a yearlong placement funded by the Cleveland Foundation.

PRC Update
Director Cierebiej reported on a scheduled meeting with the Personnel Review Commission (PRC) to review Job Descriptions and Pay Grade Recommendations. County Planning has been working with the Personnel Review Commission for quite some time to establish job classifications for the work the team does, as well as to align staff salaries with established Cuyahoga County pay grades.

Potential December Board Meeting Items

  • Parma Parking & Transportation Analysis
  • Pepper Pike Community Survey (tentative)
  • Solid Waste Policy Committee Appointment


Board Appointments/Terms of Office
The meeting packet included the list of upcoming appointments necessary for 2022. The new Planning Region/Mayoral Appointments are made by the County Executive and new Council/Alternate Appointments are made by the County Council President. A big thank you was given to Mayor Byrne and Mayor Gammella whom Director Cierebiej acknowledged that County Planning truly appreciated their support and commitment and who will be missed next year. Earlier this morning, County Council President Pernel Jones appointed Councilwoman Yvonne Conwell to the County Planning Board to fill former Councilwoman Shontel Brown’s seat. Director Cierebiej reported that County Planning is thrilled to have Councilwoman on its Governing Board and will be getting her onboarded before the December 9, 2021 Board meeting. Joe Nanni will be Councilwoman Conwell’s alternate, and County Planning is happy to have him as well! The Cleveland transition team has been notified that there is a seat to fill for County Planning Cleveland Region given the new Mayor. Director Cierebiej spoke with Michele Pomerantz about the Board appointments and the County Executive will be reviewing the upcoming term expirations and 2022 vacancies that need to be filled. The County Executive will bring appointment recommendations before County Council for approval. The Organizational Meeting is scheduled for February 10, 2022, when open positions will be filled, and the selection of Officers will occur.

Budget Hearing Update
On November 4th, 2021 County Planning presented to County Council on the Agency’s proposed 2022-2023 Biennial Budget. County Planning requested additional appropriation to fully fund open positions, two of which had been filled during 3rd Quarter 2021. The budget amendments will be discussed at the Monday, November 22nd County Council meeting and considered for adoption at its December 7th, 2021 meeting.

Mr. Patrick Hewitt presented on the upcoming Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Zoning Study. The study is one of three different prongs of future work that includes parking, “Complete and Green Streets”, and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and how all of this work can benefit the communities in Cuyahoga County. Mr. Hewitt reported that County Planning is working on the TOD project in coordination with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) because the project encourages development that is in close proximity to mass transit, whether bus or train. Characteristics of successful transit-oriented developments include a mix of land uses- both residential and commercial; nearby buildings that have higher densities; and have little to no parking in the front but have parking strategically located in the rear or as underground garages.

Mr. Hewitt explained there’s a “Go, Grow, and Green” value from Transit-Oriented Developments. Go, because it lets you take the bus easily; Grow, because it encourages denser development along transit lines in built-out communities; and Green, because taking transit is more environmentally friendly. Mr. Hewitt reported that while there are many positive outcomes to TOD developments, they can be difficult to coordinate especially along corridors that span different community borders and zoning districts. Often the zoning codes of neighboring communities don’t have the same transit-friendly requirements to support or enable this kind of development and so, this study is aimed at studying these issues. The Study will also build on the work of TOD studies in the past including:

  • GCRTA: TOD Guidelines (2007) – Design criteria for good transit-oriented development.
  • GCRTA: TOD Best Practices (2007) – Lessons learned from other regions.
  • NOACA: Regional TOD Scorecard & Implementation Plan (2016) – Land use typologies along major transit lines.
  • GCRTA: Priority Corridor Update (2021) – Updated priority corridors for rapid transit improvements.
  • GCRTA and Cleveland: 25 Connects (2021) – BRT plan and zoning review for West 25th corridor.

Based on these and other existing TOD studies, County Planning has identified the need for corridor-wide land use strategies, coordinated zoning, and incentive and investment strategies to support Transit-Oriented Development.

Mr. Hewitt then introduced a proposed TOD zoning study with the first phase examining the state of TOD in Cuyahoga County and identifying/quantifying local TOD. The second phase is an analysis of TOD zoning along transit lines to determine where TOD is allowed and identify target areas. The third phase is developing a model zoning overlay for TOD that can be adopted by individual municipalities. The final phase involves evaluating financing strategies and incentives used in other communities.

The next step for County Planning is to convene a TOD Coalition/Working Group and start the first phase. The TOD Study will define what Transit-Oriented Development is, confirm candidate corridors, showcase the benefits of TOD, give an overview of previous work, explore current TOD projects in Cuyahoga County, and identify prime opportunity sites for TOD. There will also be the development of a TOD webpage and outreach efforts.

No requests for public comment.

On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Councilperson Simon, the meeting was adjourned at 2:39 p.m.

Next meeting, December 9, 2021


November 18, 2021

Mayor Pamela BobstNo
Mayor Michael Dylan BrennanYes
Councilperson Shontel BrownYes, Mr. Kahlil Seren
Mayor Michael ByrneYes
Director Freddie CollierNo
Director Michael DeverYes
Mayor Anthony DiCiccoNo
Mayor Michael GammellaNo
Mayor Michael ProcukYes
Mayor Brad SellersNo
Councilperson Sunny SimonYes, Mr. Brendan Doyle