Observer Reports

City Planning/Zoning, September 2017

October 1st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

September 5, 2017

Present:   Kevin Dreyfuss-Wells, David Weiss, Rob Zimmerman
Also Present:  Dan Feinstein, Planning Department; William Gruber, Law Director.

The meeting was called to order by Council Member Zimmerman at 7:00 p.m.

The minutes of the August meeting were approved, upon motion of Mr. Weiss, second by Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells.



A Public Hearing was held on the request of Lisa and Jeremy Welsh, Shaker Heights Animal Hospital, for a variance to the number of signs in order to install a second primary sign.  The applicants, as new owners, proposes to install a second primary sign on the front wall of this veterinary care building as part of their façade renovation project.  There is also an existing pole sign, which will be refaced.  Code allows only one primary sign.  The proposed wall sign is a 30 square foot cabinet sign centered above the first floor windows.  The wall sign meets individual size and location requirements.

Mr. Feinstein noted that the Architectural Board had approved a revised sign.

There was no public comment.

As moved by Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells, second by Mr. Weiss, the variance was approved.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

Gail Gibson


Recreation and Health, September 2017

October 1st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Recreation and Health
September 6, 2017

Present:  Sean Malone, Council Member and Chairperson, Julianna Sentura, Council Member, Anne Williams, Council Member, Jennifer Boland,  Timeka Rashid, and Sara Schavroni, Citizen Members, Cydney Johnson Business Manager, Jack Jacko, Special Events and Marketing Coordinator, Magdalena Casals, Administrative Assistant,  and Jeri Chaikin, Chief Administrative Officer

Chairperson Sean Malone called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.

Minutes of the May 3, 2017 meeting were approved as written.

Cydney Johnson, Business Manager and Jeff Jacko, Special Events and Marketing Coordinator did a presentation on the new Recreation Management Software supplied by E-Trak.  Goal was to find a better software to improve business operations, improve and increase customer service, and to operate  a more efficient system.

With this new system, the department can do a better job of data integration.  One well received  new service is auto pay – withdrawals  every month when needed.  There is also a payment plan option now.  In the past the Recreation Department had three separate systems; now they operate with one.  A number of different kinds of reports can be generated.  E-Trak is available 24 – 7 and its staff has come three or four times to help with training.

Jeff and Cydney reviewed some of the components of the program:  the home screen; program navigation; calendars; online registration, and system tools.

Jeff and Cydney then asked for questions.  Sean Malone looks forward to the opportunities  for more comprehensive data analysis, including a better understanding of class enrollment figures.

Timeka Rashid asked about further communication with residents on use of the software .  A campaign was conducted during enrollment  but not since.

Sean Malone noted that marketing through the schools would be a good idea because so many young people use recreation programs.

CAO Jeri Chaikin discussed the future of the city’s health department.    The State of Ohio is requiring accreditation of all local health departments, an expensive and cumbersome process.  The Council at its October meeting will be considering whether to join the County Health Department .  There will be a public presentation.  Cost savings are estimated at $200,000 a year.  The same services would  be provided to our residents.  Some of the Health Department employees will transfer to other departments.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

Jan Devereaux, Observer











City Council, September 2017

October 1st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Shaker Heights City Council
September 25, 2017

The Mayor called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m. and adjourned at 9:10 p.m.   

Present: Mayor Earl Leiken, Council members: Sean Malone, Earl Williams, Rob Zimmerman, Tres Roeder, Juliana Johnston Senturia, Anne Williams, Nancy Moore.
Also present:  Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin; Law Director William M. Ondrey Gruber; Finance Director Robert H. Baker; Director of Neighborhood Revitalization, Kamla Lewis; Shaker Heights Chief of Police Jeffrey N. DeMuth; Director of Communications and Marketing, Vicki Blank; Principle Planner Ann Klavora; Director of Economic Development Tania Menesse.

The minutes of the August 28, 2017 meeting were approved. Councilmember Robert Zimmerman asked that remarks he made in the minutes be taken out.

Eight out of nine items on the agenda were passed declaring an emergency. Councilmember Tres Roder objected to a motion to pass an agenda item declaring an emergency.

Items on the agenda were unanimously approved:

  • An ordinance amending sections of the Administrative code pertaining to permits and deposits for work performed by contractors. It allows the city to make sure that work is done to approved specifications that meets city standards by requesting work done on public property by any company and its contractors in Shaker Hts., to deposit with the City funds to cover the cost for the City to hire a construction inspector to ensure oversite and protection of the City’s infrastructure.
  • An ordinance authorizing a development and use agreement with Knez Homes for home construction in the southern Moreland neighborhood. Currently, there are 80 vacant lots in Moreland, 170 vacant lots in Shaker as a whole. The starting price for the homes will be $239,000. The objectives are to return city owned vacant lots to productive use, increase the residential tax base, attract new residents, raise housing values and diversify the housing stock in the Moreland neighborhood.
  • An ordinance accepting the recommendations of the City’s Tax Incentive Review Council to continue existing development agreements for tax exemption and payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs).
  • An ordinance authorizing a $90,000.00 one year contract with Shark & Minnow for marketing and public relations services related to promoting the Van Aken District.
  • Authorizing a contract with GPD Group for $197,000 for design and engineering expertise related to the Van Aken District Multi-Purpose path and Streetscape project
  • Two 2017 budget amendments, one appropriating $1,500,000.00 from the NOACCA Transportation Alternatives grant for construction of the Warrensville Multi-purpose path and streetscape. The other for a $320,000.00 transfer of funds appropriated to the Police Department to pay the city’s share of operating costs for the new Heights Hillcrest Communication Center. Both appropriations were transferred to the General Capital Fund.
  • Authorizing a $219,000.00 grant application to and acceptance of a grant from NOACA for funding bicycle and pedestrian facilities and improvements along Warrensville Center Rd.
  • Authorization of Then and Now Certificates; $3,400.00 to Cellebrite, Inc Software and $3,258.11 for Public Officials Liability Insurance.

Public Comment: Dr. Julia Weitz spoke about her concerns and those of other citizens regarding the Van Aken District. She wanted to know what research was done to analyze traffic flow and expressed concerns about budgetary issues related to the necessary upkeep of all the improvements. The Mayor invited her to come speak with him and offered to answer all of her questions. 

-Audrey Morris



Board of Education, August 2017

September 3rd, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Shaker Heights Board of Education

August 15, 2017

Shaker Heights Administration Building


The meeting was called to order by Board Vice President Jeffrey Isaacs at 6:00 p.m.


Present:, Todd Davidson, William Clawson, Annette Sutherland, Jeffrey Isaacs, Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, and Treasurer Bryan Christman.  Board President Alex Dykema was absent.


The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Superintendent Hutchings and the Board Approved the minutes of the July 11, 2017, Board Meeting.



  1. Vice President Isaacs offered the opportunity for public conversation with the Board. Several people spoke on the safety of the wrestling program as indicated by the unfit condition of the wrestling mats at the high school.  Wrestling staff have to come to practice early and daily to clean the mats and still some student athletes have contracted skin issues.  They would like to see a fix to this problem.  Several spoke on having an athletic academic center to help student athletes stay eligible to compete.


  1. Updates were provided by Supplementals Committee lead by Mr. Michael Sears (SMS Social Studies teacher) and Ms. Eileen Sweeney (Pupil Services Supervisor). This committee, established by the strategic plan and started January 2017, was made up of staff from all the school buildings plus administrators.  They evaluated, updated, and aligned the supplemental contracts.  Previously, the collective bargaining agreement was 30 years old and the output of this committee will go into the next collective bargaining effort.  The committee updated the job descriptions of the various supplemental contracts covering a remarkable amount of student clubs and activities throughout the district.  The board passed a resolution to authorize the Superintendent and Treasure to enter in a MOA to approve the new supplemental contracts proposal.


  1. A preview of the Superintendent’s evaluation and presentation of the 2016-2017 Annual Report Highlights of the annual report include a review of year 4/5 of the strategic plan (full report at October board meeting), new innovations such as the Shaker First Class preschool now in its second site, response to intervention with special education services, truancy intervention plans, Naviance system addition of Woodbury students, facilities planning, IT, phase 2 of IC center, growth of the SELF summer programming, and a discussion on types of change.    There was a brief Q&A to the Senior Executive Team regarding the supporting documents for the Superintendent’s evaluation.  The work on the next strategic plan for 2019-2024 will be started in January 2018 with the goal of adoption by January 2019.


  1. The majority of the items for approval on the published agenda involved action on personnel matters such as new appointments, changes in assignments, temporary employees, special assignments and resignations all of which were approved and are listed in detail on the published agenda. Timothy Kravinko was introduced as the Interim Director of Curriculum and Instruction.


  1. The Middle School roof replacement has been done per the capital plan for the next 3-5 years with immediate needs going first. With heavy rainfall in August 10-11, the roof was tested and the vendor did immediate corrective action on a few resulting leaks. There will be more complete presentation at the September board meeting on the status of building repairs and updates.  Projects are being scheduled to avoid any student displacement and most will be scheduled in the summer weeks.  Design options will be done in the fall; bidding in the spring; building in summer.  Goal to complete $7-10 million dollars of projects during the next 3 years.


  1. The board approved a bid to purchase 3 school buses from Myers Equipment (we have 48-50 buses in our fleet and average bus is rotated every 12 years). Also the board approved annually the school bus stops for the 2017-2018 school year and the annual agreement with the Greater Cleveland RTO for reduced student fares.


  1. The Board Policy Review Committee reviewed and updated all the existing board policies and submitted these for approval by the board. The board waived the second and third reading and adopted them.  Some updates included areas of fiscal accounting and services, food services management polices and reading skills assessments (third grade reading guarantee).


  1. By Ohio Statue, as Dr. Hutchings was entering his 5th year of employment, it was time to re-appoint Dr. Gregory Hutchings as Superintendent upon expiration of his current employment contract on July 31, 2018. The board approved to re-appoint Dr. Hutchings for 5 more years through July 31, 2023.


  1. Treasurer Bryan Christman presented financial monthly, year end reports, and budget reports and highlighted what is happening as far as the state budget and Shaker funding (Details of each financial report are included as exhibits to the published agenda available on line).


  1. Superintendent’s Report: Hutchings welcomed new 48 instructional staff members and 34 new classified employees with a day of orientation.  SHTA President John Morris and Dr. Hutchings toured all the school buildings.  The opening convocation is set for Thursday, August 17 with guest speaker veteran newsman and Shaker parent/grandparent Leon Bibb.  The district is partnering with the American Heart Association this year with a campaign “Shaker has Heart”.


  1. The Board adjourned to Executive Session at about 9:02 p.m.



Holly Wang, Shaker Chapter, LWVGC observer



City Council Regular Meeting, August 2017

August 31st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Shaker Heights City Council
Aug. 28, 2017

Present: Mayor Earl Leiken; Council members Sean Malone, Earl Williams, Rob Zimmerman, Tres Roeder, Juliana Johnston Senturia, Anne Williams. Nancy Moore was absent.
Also present: CAO Jeri Chaikin, Law Director William M. Ondrey Gruber, Finance Director Robert H. Baker, Director of Public Works Patti Speese, Director of Neighborhood Revitalization Kamla Lewis, Shaker Heights Police Commander Michael Rowe, Director of Communications and Marketing Vicki Blank.

The mayor called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m. and adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

The minutes of the June 26, 2017, meeting were approved with one addition. Mr. Roeder asked that his request at that meeting be added to the minutes: that the Finance Department’s regular reports explain the costs associated with long-term interest payments.

Items on the agenda unanimously approved:

  • An ordinance authorizing a three-year contract ($36,000 per year) with John H. Moore & Associates for advertising management services for Shaker Life Ms. Blank noted that while there were many inquiries, Moore was the only proposal received. Moore has been the advertising manager for 13 years and has an understanding of the kind of advertising that suits Shaker Life. Mr. Zimmerman (speaking for the Finance Committee) said the committee had explored whether outsourcing the service would be more cost-effective, but felt the publication would end up looking too generic and not suitable for Shaker.
  • An ordinance authorizing the acceptance of a $12,000 Juvenile Diversion Program grant from Cuyahoga County for 2018-19. Commander Rowe said the program presented no cost to the city and was widely respected.
  • An ordinance authorizing the city to apply for and accept a Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) grant of $400,000 for the Fernway Sanitary Sewer Overflow Elimination Project. The Dept. of Public Works has estimated it will cost between $1.8 million to $4 million to fully address all of the city’s sanitary sewer overflows and this grant would help. Addressing this issue is proactive; Shaker doesn’t want to end up like Cleveland Heights, which is under an E.P.A. consent decree.
  • An ordinance amending a prior ordinance appropriating funds ($625,000) for sewer capital repairs; the additional funds will pay for the relocation of the storm sewer to Farnsleigh Road from Warrensville Center Road and for the redirection of the Van Aken District sanitary sewer flow to NEORSD’s deep tunnel shaft at Helen and Farnsleigh roads.
  • Determining to proceed with the lighting of streets and levying assessments of a portion of the expense.
  • Authorization to contract with Cleveland Festival of Art and Technology, Inc. (dba Ingenuity) for the provision of arts programming services for the Moreland Rising Project for $75,000. The city received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for $50,000 for Aug. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018.
  • Amendment of an ordinance by the Finance Committee to amend the 2017 operating budget to provide adequate appropriations for all expected expenditures: $1,614 for the Health Department to pay the “mosquito intern” (out of the 2017 $6,500 mosquito grant); $217 Neighborhood Revitalization costs; and $3,000 for Public Works for the lease/purchase of a new street sweeper.
  • Approval of a request, required by the state, for real property tax revenue from the county.
  • The execution of Then and Now certificates by the Director of Finance and the payments of amounts due for various purchase orders.
  • Renewal of all liquor permits.

Items on the agenda approved, but not unanimously:

  • Authorization for a tax-exempt lease/purchase agreement with U.S. Bank for a street sweeper. The cost is $256,250 and the lease structure would require five annual payments of $40,961 based on a five-year term, with a trade-in value of $70,000. The Finance Committee approved the request, and due to changes in regulations, views leasing as a viable option. Mr. Roeder voted against this, saying that while he has full confidence in the recommendation by the Finance Department, he thinks Council has to take more responsibility for the city’s cash flow and is concerned about what future payments would look like given that the city has issued bonds and taken out loans. Mayor Leiken noted that the details of the city’s finances (while they are still working on projections), show that for 2017, the city is in good financial shape and noted a recent article on to substantiate that claim.

There was no Public Comment.
Audrey Morris

Safety and Public Works, August 2017

August 31st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Safety & Public Works Committee
Aug. 4, 2017

Present: Council members Nancy Moore (acting chair) and Anne Williams; citizen members Brian Gleisser, Austin McGuan and Jeremy Paris; Mayor Earl Leiken, CAO Jeri Chaikin, Director of Public Works Patricia Speese, Chief of Fire Patrick Sweeney and Chief of Police Jeffrey DeMuth

Ms. Moore called the meeting to order at 7:32 a.m.

The committee approved a request from Chief DeMuth that the city re-enter the Inter-Agency Agreement with Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court for the operation of the Community Diversion Program for 2018-19. The $12,000 two-year grant, added to $17,000 already in the fund, will cover costs of police overtime and supplies for this program for first-time juvenile offenders diverted from official court action.

Also approved was a request from Ms. Speese to enter into a five-year tax-exempt lease-purchase agreement with US Bank to finance the cost of a street sweeper. The lease would require five annual payments of $40,961; the total purchase price is $256,250. Trade-in value will be $70,000 at the end of five years. Sweepers are in use 10 months of the year to reduce the amount of street debris entering the catch basins.

Ms. Speese received approval to apply for and accept a $400,000 Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) Member Community Infrastructure grant for the Fernway Sanitary Sewer Overflow Elimination project. The city would fund what the grant doesn’t cover in order to complete the multi-pronged project. The goal is to dramatically reduce the amount of sanitary sewer infiltration and overflow into Doan Brook and, ultimately, Lake Erie. The targeted area for repairs and relining comprises Norwood and Maynard roads (from Lynton to Parkland) and a portion of Parkland Drive.
Linda Lissauer

Library Board of Trustees, August 2017

August 31st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Library Board of Trustees
Aug. 28, 2017

Present: Board Members Brian Gleisser, Michael Bertsch, Troy Meinhart, Melissa Garrett, Doreen Katz, Carmella Williams
Absent: Thomas Cicarella

The board approved the minutes of the July meeting and the fiscal officer’s report.

Library Director Amy Switzer reported a September push, countywide, to ensure every student has access to a library card (program: Three for Teen, which allows independent sign-up for borrowing three items at a time). She also noted improved software in place for reserving meeting rooms, and ongoing meetings with school officials (both private and public schools) to facilitate communication and coordination.

The distribution agreement among the nine Cuyahoga County library systems is soon to expire and requires re-adoption. State funds are divided, with the Shaker Heights Public Library receiving 2.8352 percent of the total for the county, based on the funding level of 2007, and 2.52 percent of any funds above that 2007 level. The board approved re-authorization of the agreement. It is expected the distribution ratio will be renegotiated after the 2020 census. The board also approved two changes in personnel policies, one regarding life insurance and the other, off-the-books work (the latter prohibited for non-exempt employees).

Ms. Switzer presented a timeline for an upcoming levy on next year’s ballot. The bulk of the meeting was devoted to discussion about how to proceed: the scope of the project, timing of steps needed to proceed, political considerations, and communication with the community and city and school officials. The board approved proceeding with work with architects and planning for a project that would require a 1.9-mill property tax increase (yielding $12.4 million) for repairs, renovations, and also operating funds. It was noted that the Library had not been on the ballot for 10 years, and it has been 21 years since millage was last raised, despite dwindling state financial support. It is estimated there would be no further levy request for an additional 10 years. The levy and project as outlined would result in an increase of $67 per 100,000 home valuation. The levy timeline calls for the board to request certification from the city auditor at the October meeting and, at the November meeting, a resolution to request the Board of Education to place the measure on the ballot. It is expected the School Board would act on that request at its January meeting.

Next meeting of the Library Board is Sept. 26. Agenda includes time for community comment.
Kathleen Hickman

Library Board of Trustees, July 2017

July 31st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Present: Gleisser, Bertsch, Cicarella, Hendon, Williams
Also, Library Director Amy Switzer and library staff members
President Gleisser reported on receiving letters (6/14 and 7/14) from concerned citizens about the Shaker Heights library system becoming part of the Cuyahoga County system and the response. There was no discussion at this meeting.
The fiscal officer’s report was approved (no major surprises, in income or outflow).
The State of Ohio has notified the library about an upcoming audit, with which the library is cooperating.
The Director’s report noted a forum on the subject of Shaker Square (sponsored by the LWV), anticipating a good turnout. She discussed Ohio’s Public Library Fund financial matters, conveyed the usage report and community engagement activities. A September library fine amnesty and effort to get library cards to all children in the county was approved by the Board. This program, to be supported by all 9 libraries in the county, will follow a similar program which was deemed successful last year. The Director also spoke about the Spring cell tower lease and request to update equipment. The Board decided to defer action on the matter, pending some clarifying language for the agreement.
The Board voted to accept a number of gifts (detailed in the minutes).
A Teen Fun Day August 19 at Chelton Park was announced.
Kathleen Hickman

Board of Education, July 2017

July 31st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Shaker Heights Board of Education

July 11, 2017

Shaker Heights Administration Building


The meeting was called to order by Board President Alex Dykema at 6:00 p.m.


Present: Board President Alex Dykema, Todd Davidson, William Clawson, Annette Sutherland, Jeffrey Isaacs, Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, and Treasurer Bryan Christman.


The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Superintendent Hutchings and the Board Approved the minutes of the June 13, 2017, Board Meeting.


  1. Superintendent Hutchings acknowledged staff and students for special recognition, honors and awards. He introduced some new staff members and highlighted two female track athletes who placed at states in the 3200 meters:  Sophie Carrier, 2nd  and Mimi Reimers, 6th.  He also recognized the success of Shaker students at National History Day and that former Shakerite Nora Spodani, a June grad heading off to the U. of Chicago, was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with this year’s Philip W. Porter Scholarship (he was a Plain Dealer editor and Shaker resident).  The self-coached members of the Shaker National Academic Challenge team placed among the top 8 out of 29 in their first year of competition.  Thirty-one elementary teachers attended a Primary Years Programme Workshop last month at the High School to learn more about enriching students through inquiry (hallmark International Baccalaureate teaching strategy).


  1. President Dykema offered the opportunity for public conversation with the Board. Ellen Roberts, a SMS language teacher, commented that none of the SMS language teachers had their own classrooms and offered an idea of 2 external classrooms.


  1. Updates were provided by Shaker Schools Foundation ED Holly Coughlin and Dr. Jill Korbin, Director of Schubert Center for Child Studies at CWRU, on Shaker Schools and CWRU grant collaboration on equity in education based on a grant by the WT Grant Foundation. The proposal, due in September, will look at sources of inequality and identify areas to start institutional change.  It is hoped this collaboration will be a partnership over time and is an incredible opportunity for both Shaker and CWRU.


  1. Scott Stephens, Executive Director of Communications, gave an update on communications with 5 areas of focus – internal, external, reputation building, emergency, and media in a power point presentation:


  1. Cost savings in this department were highlighted and reviewed. District calendar will not be mailed out to all school families but will be available at all schools for pick up.


  1. Positive relationship with the city of Shaker Heights – including a recent successful marketing meeting with realtors. Communication specialists from inner ring districts meet regularly and share ideas.


  1. A communications advisory council made up of 10 members of the community 2 years ago has been meeting regularly and has helped extend capacity with their combined expertise and advice.


  1. This year’s initiatives include: enhanced outreach, setting up a new Teachers advisory council, Student Ambassador Program, refining of emergency communication procedures and  bond money communications to the Shaker public.


  1. The majority of the items for approval on the published agenda involved action on personnel matters such as new appointments, changes in assignments, temporary employees, special assignments and resignations all of which were approved and are listed in detail on the published agenda. Some of the new employees were in attendance and were introduced at the meeting.


  1. Business items reported, recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the Board follow. Also updated board policies had its 3rd
  2. Upgrading the phone system as part of the strategic plan. Current system is 12 years old.


  1. Treasurer Bryan Christman presented financial and budget reports and highlighted what is happening as far as the state budget and Shaker funding (Details of each financial report are included as exhibits to the published agenda available on line).


  1. Superintendent’s Report on the status of the Shaker Heights Schools’ Strategic Plan: Our Equity Task Force held its second meeting last night, Monday, July 10, 2017, and we had another outstanding session. This month’s guests were Ms. Mary Lynne McGovern, our academic advisor for the MAC Scholars Program at our High School, and Mr. Reuben Harris, a former member of this Board. Ms. McGovern and her family participated in the Shaker Schools Plan, a voluntary integration plan in the 1960s and 1970s. They lived in Fernway but sent their children to Moreland Elementary School. Mr. Harris was co-founder of the advocacy group Caring Communities Organized for Education, has served on the Project Achieve committees, and helped establish the Sankofa celebration. He was instrumental in having such noted researchers as the late Dr. John Ogbu of Berkeley and Dr. Ronald Ferguson of Harvard analyze Shaker’s black-white achievement gap.


  1. The Board adjourned to Executive Session at about 7:41 p.m.



Holly Wang



City Planning/Board of Zoning Appeals, July 2017

July 31st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports


July 5, 2017


Present:  Jack Boyle, Kevin Dreyfuss-Wells, Rob Zimmerman, Mayor Leiken.
Also Present:  Joyce Braverman, Dan Feinstein, Planning Department; William Gruber, Law Director.


The meeting was called to order by Mayor Leiken at 7:00 p.m.







A Public Hearing was held on the request of Jeffery Barker, J. Barker Landscaping, on behalf of Jeremy and Lisa Handel, for a variance to the front yard pavement regulations.  The applicant proposes to construct a front yard circular driveway on their 100 foot property.  The 12 foot wide circular driveway will replace the driveway in the front yard.  The proposed driveway comprises 26.7 percent of the front yard.  Code only allows 25 percent of the front yard to be covered in driveway.  The proposed driveway will relocate the apron to the middle of the lot necessitating the removal of a street tree.  Boxwood shrubs and evergreen trees are proposed to be planted to screen the circular driveway.


The applicant and their architect stated that the additional size of the driveway was necessary to allow a proper turning radius.


After some discussion, it was noted that the removal of a street tree falls under the purview of the Department of Public Works, not the BZA.  Mr. Feinstein will assist the applicant in presenting their request to the proper department.


There were no comments at the public hearing.


It was moved by Mr. Boyle, second by Mr. Zimmerman, that the request for additional driveway coverage be approved, subject to staff approval of the final plan.  Adopted unanimously.





A Public Hearing was held on the request of David Maddux, The Arcus Group, representing Alfred Buescher, 17001 Shaker Boulevard, for a variance to the side yard setback requirements.  The homeowner proposes to construct a new side yard addition for an indoor pool that is 11 feet 6 inches from the side property line.  Code requires a 15 foot wide side yard setback in the SF1Single Family Residential district.  The addition extends into the side yard 2 feet 8 inches beyond the existing house and into the required side yard setback.  An existing 6 foot tall wood fence screens the neighbor’s view of the addition.


There were no comments at the public hearing.


As moved by Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells, second by Mr. Zimmerman, the request was approved unanimously.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.





( I did not attend the June 6 meeting.  These are notes from the approved minutes of that meeting.)


A variance to the fence location and heights regulations on a corner lot was granted to Kyle and Samantha Beattie, 15706 Chadbourne Road with the following conditions:

  1. The portion of the fence requiring a variance may only be 4 feet tall.
  2. The existing landscaping is maintained along the Ashby Road sidewalk
  3. Additional arborvitae bushes are planted to screen the fence from view of Ashby Road as approved by staff.
  4. Additional landscaping is installed to screen the fence return in the Chadbourne Road side yard as approved by staff.


A request was granted to the City of Shaker Heights for a resubdivision of land in order to dedicate right-of-way at the northeast corner of Warrensville Center and Farnsleigh Road.  This is needed to accommodate the future Van Aken District multi-Purpose Path.  The Planning Commission will recommend the right-of-way dedication to City Council for approval.


Gail Gibson