Charter review process completed

by Dan Holland

The Broadview Heights Charter Review Commission completed the last of its four scheduled meetings on April 5. Once approved by city council, the seven final items from the 2022 Charter Review will be placed on the November ballot for voter approval.

The nine-person resident commission, which consists of a select group of individuals representing Wards 1-4, city council, planning commission, board of zoning appeals, parks and recreation and one mayoral appointee, meets once every four years to review the city charter to suggest additions, changes and updates. Public input at the meetings was also taken into consideration.

This year’s commission consisted of Robert Boldt (council representative), Ken Emling (planning commission), Scott Maitland (board of zoning appeals), Suzanne Lambert (parks and recreation), Aaron Cantu (Ward 1), Lisa Galek (Ward 2), Eugene Orynycz (Ward 3), Billy Bisco (Ward 4) and Andrea Diedrick (mayoral appointee). Maitland served as lead on the committee.

“We’re not experts at all, not even novices in looking at legal language, but it’s our take on what can be improved,” said Maitland, who served on the commission in 2014. “The group of people I thought was very good because we all come from different areas and backgrounds, and we all had different inputs. Everyone had input; there wasn’t anyone who was just going along for the ride. We all had different roles and we kind of applied different thought processes along the way.”

The commission relied on City Law Director Vince Ruffa to provide the legal wording on the seven final items.

“I think it was done right; they did a thorough job of going through and evaluating and also getting everyone’s opinion on the board to come up with the verbiage of the amendments, “said Boldt, who served as lead on the commission in 2018. “There were some ideas that others would add onto to take it from a good idea to a great idea. Scott [Maitland] made sure everyone got to add input so that no one was afraid to do that. He was generous with his time and made sure everyone was heard.”

A dozen items up for consideration were whittled down to seven, said Boldt. Inclusion in the final list required a simple majority vote among the commission.

“There weren’t any items that were really close – maybe two or three didn’t like an idea – but the majority did, and a couple of items were completely voted down by everyone,” Boldt said. “Most of the time, the consensus was at least 75 percent of the people voting for it.”

The seven final items (in summary) consist of:

  1. Article III – City Council; identifies the process for removing a member of city council for misconduct under specified circumstances.
  2. Article IV – The Mayor; a mayoral candidate must have resided in the city for no less than four years preceding the election date (changed from two years).
  3. Article V, Sec. 7 – Planning Commission; no amendment, repeal or adoption of a zoning ordinance may be passed by city council without first giving at least 14 days notice of the time and place of a public hearing on the matter in a local newspaper and on the city’s website (changed from posted at city hall).
  4. Article V, Sec. 8 – Board of Zoning Appeals; The BZA shall not be filled exclusively all from one ward.
  5. Article V, Sec. 8 – Board of Zoning Appeals; written notice of a variance to be considered by the BZA shall be mailed to all property owners within 1,000 feet from the edge of the property line (changed from 500 feet).
  6. Article V, Sec. 9 – Civil Service Commission; amends and updates the general duties of the civil service commission.
  7. Article XIV – Miscellaneous Provisions; upon adoption of the city charter, the provision allows the city clerk to make updates in regard to numbers, titles and arrangement of articles and sections of the charter and also perform typographical corrections as long as it does not change the substance or meaning.

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