MINUTES OF THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
SEPTEMBER 14, 2023
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) was called to order by Director Dever at 2:01 p.m. and the roll call showed a quorum was present. Director Dever welcomed Mayor Booker and Larry Finch from the Village of Highland Hills.
COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
No requests for public comment.
On a motion by Mayor Dylan Brennan, seconded by Mayor Sellers, the meeting minutes for July 13, 2023 were duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Resolution No. 230914-A Requesting the approval of an of the Inter-Agency Agreement with Cuyahoga County Department of Housing; Community Development to provide agreed upon Professional Planning Services.
James Sonnhalter explained that the Inter-Agency Agreement between County Planning and the Cuyahoga County Department of Housing and Community Development is essentially a continuation of services but with a slightly expanded scope. County Planning will provide Professional Planning Services to support numerous deliverables, and includes:
- Environmental Record Reviews, project lead is Nichole Laird, AICP.
- Competitive Municipal Grant Program Assistance, project lead is Mary Cierebiej, AICP.
- GIS & Planning Technical Assistance, project lead is Dan Meaney, GISP.
- Village of Highland Hills Comprehensive Plan Update, project lead is Laura Mendez Ortiz, AICP.
The total contract amount is $150,000 with $5,000 in-kind work from County Planning the contract term from September 1, 2023, to August 31, 2025.On a motion by Mayor Brennan seconded by Mayor Sellers, Resolution No. 230914-A requesting the approval of the Inter-Agency Agreement with Cuyahoga County Department of Housing & Community Development to provide agreed upon Professional Planning Services was duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Laura Mendez Ortiz explained the Village of Highland Hills Comprehensive Plan Update as a robust and diverse community engagement process which will include six (6) phases: Plan Initiation, Current Conditions, Vision, Recommendations, Implementation, and Final Tasks. The total estimated project budget is $75,000 and the work is slated to be completed by September 30, 2024.
Resolution No. 230914-B Requesting approval of the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program Cost Agreement with the Ohio Public Works Commission and the District One (Cuyahoga County) Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC).
Alison Ball, District One liaison, introduced the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program for FY 2024 – 2025. The Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) was created initially 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. The Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) administers Infrastructure and Green Space Conservation Grant Programs in conjunction with Local Control. In total, there are nineteen (19) District Integrating Committees and Natural Resources Assistance Councils in the State of Ohio.
Alison Ball continued with an explanation that Cuyahoga County is District One for the Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC) and administers the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program which falls under the Ohio Public Works Commission. The Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program helps to fund preservation of open spaces, sensitive ecological areas, and stream corridors. Funding for the Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Program in FY2024 was $3,323,674 with funding recommendations of $1,059,000 leaving a remaining balance of $3,364,674 for FY2025.
Alison Ball as the District One Liaison listed her responsibilities:
- 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.
On a motion by Mayor Welo, seconded Mayor Gallo, Resolution No. 230914-B Requesting approval of the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program Cost Agreement with the Ohio Public Works Commission and the District One (Cuyahoga County) Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC), was duly adopted with a unanimous vote.
Councilperson Conwell joined the meeting replacing Michael King.
BUDGET; BIENNIAL BUDGET UPDATES
Jennifer Karaffa, Business Services Manager, gave a financial report on County Planning’s operations. Ms. Karaffa showed the 2023 approved budget – a total $2,996,837 – and detailed how it was appropriated with 51.2% ($1,535,275) in personnel salaries, 12.9% ($386,257) for personnel benefits, 34.5 % ($1,035,167) for contracts including the Healthy Urban Tree Canopy grants and 1.3% ($40,138) intended for operating and other expenditures. The year-to-date expenses and forecast were presented and showed an overall budget deficit before year end, with higher benefits costs than budgeted. On the other hand, outside revenues for 2023 are forecasted to surpass the OBM estimate.
Jennifer Karaffa explained the next biennial budget process began in mid-July 2023. Base Budgets were prepared by OBM for 2024-2025 and were to include feedback and meetings with County Planning in August. However, County Planning’s 2024-2025 operating budget was advanced in October 2023 as part of the County Executive’s Recommended Budget without any adjustments. On Monday, November 6th County Planning is scheduled for its budget hearing to County Council.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Director Mary Cierebiej spoke about the Congressional Fly-In, Washington, D.C. Event that she will be attending, and noted that before accepting she solicited approval from Commission members and the County Executive’s Office. Director Cierebiej will be one of two Ohio representatives invited to attend meetings and workshops with Senate and Congressional Leaders and their staff. The overarching theme: Support federal action on zoning reform by:
- Supporting reintroduction of bipartisan Housing Supply and Affordability Act
- Funding PRO-Housing Grants in FY24 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Spending bill
- $85 M Available for FY 2023, Cuyahoga County is a lead applicant.
- Addressing Housing Shortages Across the United States, Attainable, Diverse, and Equitable – How Do We Remove Barriers to Production?
Director Cierebiej continued with a report on the APA Ohio State Conference slated for September 28th -29th in Columbus. County Planning will have sessions led by Jim Sonnhalter on the Lakefront Plan, Patrick Hewitt on Single-Family Zoning (SFZ), Laura Mendez Ortiz and Paul Triolo presenting Design Guidelines that were developed as part of our SFZ work with First Suburbs. County Planning submitted four (4) projects for consideration of award and the winners will be announced at the State Conference.
Director Cierebiej updated the Commission on the Bylaws Update which went to the County Council on the September 12th agenda and was referred to Committee. Below is the Resolution:
Resolution O2023-0015: An Ordinance amending Section 206.12 of the Cuyahoga County Code to codify the county’s planning regions represented by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and to clarify the procedures for the designation of alternates and declaring the necessity that this Ordinance become immediately effective.
Director Cierebiej is expecting board action on amended Bylaws by the end of 2023.
A logo & branding RFP was released to a targeted list of MBE/DBE/WBE/SBE firms and on social media in August 2023. Six proposals were received, and scoring is underway. The interviews are expected to be completed by the end of September and the contract with the selected firm should come to the board for action in October. It is expected that a new logo will be selected by the end of 2023.
In conclusion, Director Cierebiej reported on the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Pilot Project in Garfield Heights that is adjacent to GCRTA’s Broadway TOD Study in Cleveland. This is an opportunity to apply best practices identified in County Planning’s TOD work with the goal of improving zoning regulations and policies to attract more TOD to key corridors in Cuyahoga County.
There was no old business.
Director Cierebiej acknowledged that both Jennifer Karaffa and Kevin Leeson are celebrating their 27th year at County Planning.
On a motion by Director Dever, seconded by Mayor Welo, the Planning Commission meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.
Next Meeting is October 12, 2023
CUYAHOGA COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION
SEPTEMBER 14, 2023
Mayor Michael Booker, Village of Highland Hills; Larry Finch, Planning Director, Village of Highland Hills; Wesley Kretch, Law Department, Cuyahoga County; Beth Biggins-Ramer, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District; Jessica Fenos, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District; Michele Wilhelm, Citizen Rep., Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District; Maria Ortiz, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District
|Mayor Bibb/ Director Huang||Yes|
|Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan||Yes|
|Councilperson Yvonne Conwell||Yes Michael King|
|Mayor Dailey Jones||Yes|
|Director Michael Dever||Yes|
|Mayor Brad Sellers||Yes|
|Councilperson Sunny Simon||Yes Joseph Nanni|