HUNTING VALLEY — Mayor Bruce Mavec took office in January and has already begun to tackle several goals in his first four-year term, including updating the zoning code, informing residents about recycling and acting as a good neighbor and member of the Orange school community.
Mayor Mavec, a 31-year resident of the village, said that Hunting Valley operations have continued to run smoothly throughout the coronavirus pandemic that began to surge in March and there are no budget cuts on the horizon. Council controls the pocketbook and plans to keep a lean budget, he said. As mayor, he described himself as the “point person” between village employees and residents.
“We’re doing our best to keep things on the straight and narrow, keep our budget in line and be good neighbors,” Mayor Mavec said.
One of the goals that Mayor Mavec mentioned during his campaign last fall was his plan to update the zoning code. Although he said that it does not have any glaring issues, there are minor items that could be revised to fit modern standards.
For example, the code did not permit ventless fireplaces. In June, council passed an ordinance to amend the zoning code so ventless fireplaces are permitted. Service Director Don Cunningham and Village Engineer Joe Ciuni said that technology has improved so these fireplaces do not release harmful gases.
Council also discussed the village lighting ordinance earlier this year. Many people in the community want low lighting, the mayor said, adding that they chose to live in the woods for a reason. The village has received complaints about floodlights on garages, for example. The mayor said that village officials can review the lumen ordinance and see where they can make changes.
Mayor Mavec also said that the residents need to have a better understanding of what is recyclable. The mayor said that he wants to find a way to improve communication with the residents about recycling. The village website, huntingvalley.net/recycling, has that information.
“It’s been confusing for so many people because it’s changed the last couple years, and I think quite a few people don’t know what you can and can’t do,” he said of recycling rules.
Mayor Mavec also talked about how the village plans to be a good neighbor to the surrounding communities. Hunting Valley is part of the Orange City School District, along with Moreland Hills, Pepper Pike, Woodmere, Orange Village and parts of Solon, Bedford Heights and Warrensville Heights. The Orange Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library also serves Hunting Valley residents.
When an anonymous letter began to circulate within the Orange schools community in March against the Orange recreation levy renewal, the mayor wrote a letter stating that Hunting Valley would not join any criticism of the school district. Orange Community Education and Recreation is a branch of the school district and the levy passed during this year’s primary election.
“The school board runs the schools and we run Hunting Valley and we respect them,” Mayor Mavec said. “The village is not really in the middle of trying to do anything to the Orange schools. People pay taxes, the taxes go to the schools, the schools operate. That’s how it works.”
One year ago, state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, introduced an amendment to the state budget bill that would have cut Hunting Valley’s property taxes to the Orange schools by $3 million to $6 million, but not any other community. Gov. Mike DeWine line-item vetoed the amendment. Some Hunting Valley residents had complained that the village has few children attending the public school district yet pays a major amount of property taxes to the Orange district.
Mayor Mavec said that the initiative to lower the village’s property taxes was not brought forward by council. “We’re not trying to undermine the Orange schools,” he said. “We want everyone to be successful and happy.”
Moving forward, the mayor said that village officials continue to manage the budget, repair roads and conserve land in Hunting Valley.