Chagrin buys new chipper

When Chagrin Falls’ 25-year-old chipper and winch became unusable, last year, the village rented one at a cost of almost $7,000 for the year 2020 and added a new chipper and winch to the 2021 budget.

On Monday, council unanimously authorized the mayor to accept a contract with Vermeer All Road Corp. which rebates the rental cost off the price of a new chipper and includes a $3,969 winch.

Total cost for the BC 1800XL Brush Chipper plus inch is $55,359. The Chipper that is not offered on the State of Ohio Department of Administrative Services Cooperative Purchasing Program.

The cost is $10,000 less than what was budgeted, according to Councilwoman Angela DeBernardo, who heads the Streets and Sidewalks Committee.

Owner wants space for barber shop

On Jan. 5, the Chagrin Falls Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously granted a use variance to Bell Street Properties, which allows a barber shop to occupy space in an office building at 139 Bell St.

Andrew Shibley presented the variance request for his father Lawrence Shibley owner of the building who explained that the 295-square-foot office suite on the main floor had been used for the same purpose in the past.

Additionally, the office building is in the midst of retail, another hair salon is located across the street and there is no parking issue as the building has its own lot that is shared with a twin building next door, also owned by Bell Street Properties.

Christopher “Dutch” Swanson, proprietor of the Mug and Brush barbershop down the street in the shopping plaza spoke in opposition of granting the variance saying the office space is not prohibited from being used as office space and barber shops are specifically prohibited by the zoning code.

In the end, board members found the barber shop had a history of the use and office space was becoming economically unviable in the current economic climate.

Village council has 15 days to decide whether there is cause to rehear the evidence toward a final vote for or against the variance request.

Synagogue rezoning on May ballot

Pepper Pike City Council passed an ordinance in December to place a rezoning issue on the May ballot. Park Synagogue sits on a parcel at the corner of Brainard Road and Shaker Boulevard that is zoned U-2 for public buildings, which includes religious institutions. The synagogue also owns two adjacent, undeveloped parcels that are zoned U-1 for single family residential dwellings. Park’s legal counsel, Dale Markowitz of Thrasher, Dinsmore and Dolan, has explained a plan for expansion at several previous public meetings.

Plans call for building a 10,000-square-foot addition to serve as a community hall, veranda and patio for events such as lectures, weddings and religious observances. South of the parking lot, Mr. Markowitz said that synagogue members would like to add a nature trail open to the public. Six council members voted in favor of placing the rezoning issue on the May ballot and Councilman Bob Freed abstained due to a conflict of interest. Mayor Richard Bain thanked Park Synagogue’s leaders for their partnership during this process. He said that he appreciates their willingness to share private lands with the public for the nature trail.

Donor gives $25,000 for cameras

Gates Mills Village Council passed a resolution in December to accept an anonymous donation of $25,000 to the safety fund. The safety fund is dedicated to the police and fire departments and other safety purposes of the village. Police Chief Gregg Minichello said that he and Mayor Karen Schneider met with the man, who said that he wanted the donation to be used for the new camera system in the village. The chief said that five cameras will be installed in a few months at a cost of $12,500 per year. The Flock safety cameras read license plate numbers and notify officers of stolen vehicles. They can also be used retroactively, such as after a theft is reported, and police can check which cars were in the area at the time.

Falls charter commission named

Chagrin Falls Mayor William Tomko on Monday named five residents to the Charter Review Commission called every five years to recommend changes to the village’s basic document, which defines its organization, powers, functions and essential procedures. 

The members include Kathryn Gaydos, Anne Griffiths, Justin Herdman, Emily Hicks and former council member John Mitchell. The mayor said they “represent the community and its demographics.” Mr. Mitchell will serve as chairman.

Council unanimously confirmed the appointments. Any changes the commission may recommend will go before voters in November.

The commission’s first meeting date was not immediately announced. With few exceptions, village meetings are being held virtually.

Line easement approved

With RiverHaus Chagrin residential development’s groundbreaking due by spring, Chagrin Falls Village Council on Monday passed sanitary sewer and waterline easement legislation permitting the village entry to the Cleveland Street property for the purpose of building, repairing and servicing village operated systems.

Council’s vote was unanimous. A groundbreaking date for the six-townhome development has not been announced.

Drone to aid in flooding study

Residents need not be concerned if they see a drone hovering over Chagrin Falls this week. A drone-over was scheduled above the village to review areas where flooding has been a problem, Mayor William Tomko reported during a council meeting on Monday.

This week was chosen for its best visibility days, the snow has melted and leaves are off the trees, the mayor said.

When completed, the flood areas will be applied to a topographic map for further study and decisions on flood management.

During the Dec. 14 council meeting, the mayor said there had been a call by some residents asking to expand the storm sewer system so they could drain their yards into the village sewer system.

That, he noted, would likely overwhelm the aging sanitary sewer system.

The village administration has been watchful of saving its sewer capacity through a system of smoke testing private lines for illegal gutter, rooftop and other ground run-off connections.

The council Streets and Sidewalks Committee is expected to take up the question and look for alternate solutions in coming weeks.

Mayor Tomko had suggested rain gardens as one possible solution for homeowners. Village Engineer Tim Lannon of CT Consultants and Chagrin River Watershed Partners will work with the council committee as advisers.

Communities make mutual aid pact

Police and fire departments have mutual aid agreements and now the service departments of Chagrin Falls, South Russell, Bainbridge and Russell have a pact which will allow, but not obligate, them to answer the needs of the other in the case of an emergency.

On Monday, Chagrin Falls Village Council adopted a reciprocal agreement through which departments can help one another should a department be impacted by an isolated storm, a need for emergency snowplowing, COVID-19 situation, mechanical breakdowns and other unforeseen emergencies.

Foundation elects new officers

The Berkshire Education Foundation got the new year off to a good star by electing new officials to the foundation for 2021 during a recent organizational meeting.

The official appointments were made by the Foundation for the positions of president and vice president.

“It was pretty much a boiler plate reorganization meeting,” said Superintendent John Stoddard. “Linda Stone was named the president and Mary Hipp was named the vice president.”

Both Mrs. Stone and Mrs. Hipp have been members of the foundation since 2019 and will serve in their respective positions for a one-year term.

Mr. Stoddard indicated that yearly new appointments are made during the annual reorganization meeting.

“We are very confident in their leadership abilities,” said Mr. Stoddard.

In other business, foundation members approved a motion to hold regular meetings for the Berkshire Educational Foundation on the first Thursday of each month at 7 a.m.

The meeting was held on Jan 7. The next Berkshire Educational Foundation meeting is scheduled for Feb. 4 at 7 a.m.

Berkshire BOE elects leadership

Following a well-earned winter break, Berkshire students, teachers and staff have returned to start the second half of the school year and the Berkshire Board of Education wasted no time in electing new officials to the board for 2021. 

During its meeting Tuesday night, board members have appointed John Manfredi as president and Jody Miller as vice president for 2021.

“John has served on our board for over a decade and this is the start of Jody’s second year on our board,” said Superintendent John Stoddard.” We are extremely confident in the leadership ability of our board members.”

Both Mr. Manfredi and Mrs. Miller will be serving a one-year term in their respective positions.

In other business, board members discussed and approved the board’s meeting schedule for 2021.

Board of Education business meetings and special meetings, if needed, will take place on the second Monday of each month at the Board of Education offices at 14259 Claridon Troy Road in Burton.

The Jan. 11 meeting was held via Zoom. The next regular Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Feb.8 at 6 p.m.

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