Council Meeting Highlights (5-9-2022)

May 09, 2022

Cleveland (May 9, 2022) – City Council held its regular Monday meeting tonight, both in person in Council Chambers and through live streaming. The next council meeting is May 16. Here are highlights:

Police Jurisdiction Expansion: Council approved legislation allowing Case Western Reserve University and University Circle police forces to expand their territorial jurisdictions within the City of Cleveland and outside the property of the university and east of University Circle.

The aim is to increase public safety presence in the vicinity. For CWRU it will include Little Italy and a portion of the police Fifth District from East 105th Street to East 120th Street between Wade Park Avenue and Ashbury Avenue. And for UCI police it will expand to East 123rd Street and Edge Hill Road in Cleveland.  Ord. No. 210 and 211-2022

City Creates Home Repair Program: Council approved legislation authorizing the city’s Director of Community Development to enter into contracts with various entities to implement a Residential Repair and Rehabilitation Revolving Loan Fund Program.

The program will provide loans to owner-occupied and/or rental housing that is occupied by households at or less than 80 percent Area Median Income. The aggregate costs of the contracts are not to exceed $4.1 million. Ord No. 289-2022.

Healthy Homes Initiative: Council approved legislation authorizing the city to enter into contracts with various non-profit community development corporations for the purpose of hiring “community engagement specialists,” by neighborhood, to improve the quality of life for residents and the city’s housing stock. Council instituted this program several years ago.

The program, funded at $1 million from the city’s General Fund, focuses on healthy homes, linking residents and landlords to resources, education and training. The program offers repairs and support for housing fix-up projects. Applicants are required to attend lead-safe practices training. Ord. No. 346-2022.

Council Supports Refrigerated Warehouse Project: Council authorized the city to vacate portions of streets in the area off Rawlings Avenue between East 71st Street and East 79th Street for the purpose of supporting the building of a refrigerated warehouse by the Orlando Baking Co.

Orlando, which is adjacent to the project, employs over 300 people. The cold storage warehouse, which will be located at the Opportunity Corridor and East 77th Street, will employ 70 workers. Legislation for the warehouse passed last year.

The city is hoping the project will attract food processing companies seeking cold storage, as well as future projects and developments along the corridor. Ord. No. 471-2022

Introduced:

Eviction Defense by Paying Back Rent and Fees – Council introduced legislation that “codifies” what is already available to renters as an “existing equitable defense to eviction” under Ohio case law. If passed, a tenant (or someone on the tenant’s behalf), tenders (pays) all past due rent with late fees and court costs to the landlord prior to an (eviction) judgment and if the landlord refuses to accept the payment … it is an affirmative defense to the eviction action filed for nonpayment of rent. Ord. No. 484-2022 would enact a new Section 375.13. The legislation will go to first to Directors of Building and Housing, Finance, and Law; before going to Council Committees on Development, Planning and Sustainability and Finance, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion before a full council vote.

Tax Abatement for New Construction and Major Renovations to Change: Cleveland has offered a generous tax abatement program for new build and for major renovation projects. Council introduced legislation that would change the program and would establish three “Community Reinvestment Areas that would designate a “Strong Market Area, a Middle Market Area, and an Opportunity Area.”  The area would dictate the abatement offered.  The current abatement - 100% for 15 years – would stay in effect until May 2023 (as well as the current abatements for remodeling).

Starting June 1, 2023, the possible abatements are 85%, 90% or 100% for 15 years. There is a June 4th deadline that must be met to submit the information to the state.

The legislation will go to Directors of Community Development, Finance, and Law; then to Committees on Development Planning and Sustainability, Finance, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion before going to the full council for a vote. Council could amend the legislation and abatement levels during the committee process. Ord. No. 482-2022