Last night’s council meeting

Here are my notes from last night’s meeting:

Meeting on a Monday? We met on a Monday because we couldn’t get a quorum last Thursday (council members were sick or out of town). It used to be that City Council would meet on Mondays and Thursdays. It was inefficient. It consumed staff time, without any commensurate benefit. As Presidents of Council, Matt Riehl and I did away with the Monday meetings. We haven’t missed them.

Law Director Shakeup – In case you hadn’t heard, Stow’s law director is now Stow’s clerk of courts. Amber Zibritosky was appointed by the Summit County Democrats to fill the spot of Diana Colavacchio, who left the clerk job to work in the administration of Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters. Amber’s deputy, Brendan Mackin, will assume the role of law director for the remainder of 2019. That job will be up for grabs in the November election (no, I’m not running for it).

More on the 2019 budget – Council heard from the Stow Municipal Court judges and its new clerk about their budgets. The court does not project a deficit in 2019, although it’s possible the judges will need to hire a new magistrate if state law changes to push more drug cases from common pleas courts down to Ohio’s municipal courts. The clerk enjoyed a 2.5% increase in revenue last year.

Route 8 – Watch for Route 8 to be limited to two lanes in the coming weeks. It will remain that way until late fall. Kenmore Construction will be undertaking a complete rebuild of this critical artery of Northeast Ohio for the next few years.

Duplex vote – For the second time in two years, council heard a proposal for construction of a duplex, to take the place of a vacant home at the corner of Hibbard and Sunnyside. Last year, the planning commission approved it, but council denied it by a 3-3 vote. At that time, I stated my belief that the man was entitled to build the duplex, pursuant to our zoning code, and that council was violating his rights by listening to the mob of people who insisted a duplex would devalue their homes. Shortly after that vote, I made a proposal to change the law, limiting the construction of duplexes in the future. My take is this: You have two options as a legislative body, 1) Follow the law, or 2) Change the law. … In the weeks that followed, it was clear that council wasn’t interested in changing the law. So be it. But when this man asked for his proposal to be revisited last night, I made a plea to my colleagues to follow the law. They did, and the proposal was approved by a 6-0 vote. A small victory for the rule of law.

Next meeting – Council will meet next on March 28.