Council moves two rezoning issues to November ballot

by Melissa Martin

July 19 city council meeting

Brecksville voters will have the final say as to whether the owner of Strongsville’s Brew Garden will be able to move forward with plans to build a restaurant/party center on the northeast corner of Miller and South Edgerton Road.

City council voted unanimously July 19 to place a rezoning issue on the Nov. 8 that, if approved, would clear the way for the business, named the Wine Room, to be built on a vacant 9-acre parcel across from Maple Crest Farm. The property is currently zoned as local business, however that zoning does not include event centers such as the one being proposed for the site.

Accordingly, the property would have to be rezoned into a planned development overlay district which would include both restaurants and party centers, said Chief Building Official Scott Packard.

The proposed facility would include both indoor and outdoor bars, an outdoor patio area and gathering spaces both in and outside of the building. Unlike Brew Garden, which features a menu of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, appetizers and more, Wine Room is expected to serve more upscale cuisine, including steaks and seafood.

After receiving pushback from city residents in recent weeks, council also approved legislation that will place rezoning of the former Highland Drive Elementary School property in the hands of voters this fall.

The legislation, which was approved by a 6-1 vote, aims to rezone the 21-acre parcel from C-F community facilities to R-20 residential zoning. The move, city officials contend, would make the property more harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood by allowing developers interested in purchasing the land to construct up to 24 single-family homes on the site.

Mayor Jerry Hruby noted that the city can remove the issue for the ballot before the election in the event the property is sold prior to the November election for another use.

Fire station alert system

City council also approved the $3,300 purchase of an upgraded alert system for the city’s fire department.

According to Fire Chief Nick Zamiska, under its existing dispatch protocols, the fire department receives a notification now whenever it is dispatched for a fire or rescue call. As part of the new system, the department will now receive pre-alerts for every call which keeps the public alert system in the station open to allow firefighters to hear what is happening at the scene as they are putting on their gear.

“This will be beneficial in that it will allow [firefighters] to make additional decisions before they even get to the scene,” Zamiska said.

Council also approved the purchase of 10 tires from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for the department’s ladder truck at a cost of $6,406. The tires, Zamiska said, are a required purchase as they have exceeded their useful life of five years.

Snow and ice removal

Service Director Ron Weidig asked council to approve the $10,000 purchase of a new brine tank for road crews to utilize when preparing for snow and ice storms this winter.

Weidig said the city has not used brine for the past several years to pre-treat roads for ice. However, following recent improvements to the city’s salt barn, where much of the wood has been replaced and a shed roof has been constructed, he said the city will be once again returning to the process and the brine and calcium chloride will be stored under the shed roof.

“We have several pieces of equipment that can be used to pre-wet the roads with brine and it’s a good process that [the Ohio Department of Transportation] uses with good results,” he said. “So this winter we are looking to get back into the salt brine business.”

Agreement with city of Broadview Heights, school district

Council also unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the city of Broadview Heights and the Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District that will allow a Brecksville police officer to serve as the school resource officer at the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School, located in Broadview Heights.

Police Chief Stan Korinek said that when the school district announced its plans to outfit each of its three schools with its own SRO starting this school year, due to manpower shortages, the city of Broadview Heights was unable to allocate another one of its officers for the position.

Rather than having an outside agency fill in, Brecksville opted to fill the position with one of its officers, he said.

“We know how we train our officers. We trust our officers,” Hruby said. “They are already a part of the community and part of our district.”

As part of the agreement, the school district will fund 75% of the officer’s salary and benefits, while the city will assume the other 25% of the cost, which will pay for the officer’s salary and benefits when school is not in session.

Hruby said the school resource officer assigned to the middle school will report to the Broadview Heights Police Department which will oversee security and policing of the school.

“This ends up being a win-win, even though Broadview was unable to provide an officer for the position,” he said. “We and the city of Broadview Heights think having a police presence at our schools is important and needed in the district given what’s going on in the world today.”