Council President Martin Sweeney under the microscope again

Submitted by Henry Senyak on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 13:59.


Two Links of interest.

Henry Gomez's PD City Hall Blog entry for today.


The Cleveland Scene Expose from Yesterday.


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  Henry...this mess will never go away will it??  We have to talk and get our mission together.  In the meantime, I only hope that the people who just keep doing their thing to fix storefronts and improve the city avoid the political morass around here.  Stay focused on the real issue--having to fight the crimes committed day-in and day-out with our money. 

I know the block clubs in Tremont can easily get sidetracked with restaurant and business issues, but if the parties involved in new development are NOT using public funds and PROVIDE for the local economy, don't, as they say, sweat the small stuff. This probably directed more to Jerleen than to you Henry, but we need to stay focused.

Focus on the misuse of public dollars and abuse of political power that destroyed Frank Giglio's house and threatens to take out other private properties in Tremont.  Stay focused on demanding accountability from TWDC and our elected representatives.  Has any one seen the plans for Grace Hospital and the proposal for the lots recently cleared? Eikona Gallery was recently sold and is apparently being deconstructed.  This is a historic building.  What protection is afforded to your neighborhood through the historic district designation.  Please stay focused in Tremont. 

Historic District

Hi, that gallery building does not sit in the local landmark historic district. The local disctrict is the the four sides of Lincoln Park and West 14th from Fairfield to Branch Ave. Thats why they bulldozed that property on Fairfield without needing the Landmarks Commision's approval.

Other areas of Tremont sit in National District, which does not afford the same protection and rights/restrictions than a local district.


As far as restaurant stuff, their is a issue brewing in Jerleen's block club, and it merits attention. The residents down there do not want to oppose a new restaurant, what they oppose is the use of a parking lot that is in a two-family residential district for a church being leased for commercial purposes. Primarily all the residents that surround that lot are not in support, and its against code to use it or make a profit from it. Check-out 349.13. The Co-Chair along with many others that live in my block club belong to that church too from the Ukrainian Community.

I would ask for Jerleen to step in on this, I am only going to provide technical assistance upon her request for the residents at her next block club. It is just like certain other restaurants charging to provide valet parking, charging for it and then parking the cars in front of peoples houses two blocks away this is totally illegal.

Title VII — Zoning Code
Chapter 349 — Off-Street Parking and Loading

349.13 Permitted Garages and Parking Space in Residence Districts
(a) Commercial Vehicles. No commercial vehicle shall be stored on any premises in a Limited One-Family District and not more than one commercial vehicle weighing unloaded not more than one and one-half tons may be stored on any premises in any other Residence District unless for farming, truck gardening or a related and similar activity if a permitted accessory use of the premises.

(b) Rented Space. In a Residence District, space for two noncommercial motor vehicles may be rented to persons not residents on the same lot, provided such rented space is within the area in which accessory uses are permitted.

(c) Parking Lots. The Board of Zoning Appeals may permit, temporarily or permanently, the use of land in a Residence District, other than a Limited One-Family District, for a parking lot when the best interests of the community will be served, and provided that:

(1) The lot is to be used only for the parking of passenger automobiles of employees, customers or guests of the person or firm controlling and operating the lot, who shall be responsible for its maintenance.

(2) No charge is to be made for parking on the lot.

(3) The lot is not to be used for sales, repair work or servicing of any kind.

(4) Entrance to and exit from the lot are to be located so as to do the least harm to the Residence District.

(5) No advertising sign or material is to be located on the lot.

(6) All parking is to be kept back of the setback building line by barrier unless specifically authorized otherwise by the Board.

(7) The parking lot and that portion of the driveway back of the building line are to be adequately screened from the street and from adjoining property in a Residence District by a hedge, sightly fence or wall not less than four feet six inches high and not more than five feet high located back of the setback building line. All lighting is to be arranged so that there will be no glare that is annoying to the occupants of adjoining property in a Residence District, and the surface of the parking lot is to be smoothly graded, hard surfaced and adequately drained.

(8) The building permit number under which the lot is established is to be posted.

(9) Such other and further conditions may be imposed as the Board may deem necessary in any specific case to reduce the adverse effect of the proximity of a parking lot upon the character, development and maintenance of the Residence District in which the parking lot is to be located.

(d) Public Parking Lots and One-Story Garages. The Board may, after public notice and hearing and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, permit the location of a public parking lot or one-story public garage in a Residence District provided the Board finds there is need for such facility to serve the permitted uses in the District.
(Ord. No. 2440-03. Passed 8-3-05, eff. 8-9-05)



  From what you have outlined, it looks like there is much room for a peaceful resolution of this issue.  The valet service part of the parking is where the charge comes into play, not a charge for the individual patrons of the restaurant to use the lot.  If the owner of the restaurant leases the lot, he actually benefits the community by supporting the church.  The physical issues you have highlighted can be easily addressed. 

You have done a lot of work here Henry and you deserve appreciation from your neighbors for staying on top of the written word.  As for the historic district designation, it is a shame that Tremont's pioneering rehabbers did not get the local district designation for the area that encompasses the mystery development project slated for the Fairfield area.  Most of the brick structures on the block date back to the Civil War era.  We are destroying our tangible history in Cleveland and no one seems to care.  St. Andrews Church was torn down in St. Clair Superior neighborhood.  Another day in Gotham City.

Location Location Location

What you are not taking into consideration is the folks that live adjacent to that parking lot do not want that traffic, noise of even valet traffic. The Compromise is another location in the general retail district must be attained by this operator. What is going to happen and its already unfortunately in play with TWDC committees is the overall parking issue.

Everyone that has attained a zoning variance because of lack of parking has not maintained the leases etc. They are double dipping, converting off-street lots into patios etc. This is a major concern.

The real solution is, and everyone one of the players at TWDC knows it, is St. John Cantius. But they will not play ball and it sits in the district right on Professor Ave. You can get over 100 cars into that lot. St. John's had some bad experiences. If that lot could be used it would solve almost every restaurants parking and compliance problems.

Laura, as you know I lived these experiences first hand. I can tell you the people that originally supported this at TWDC didn't know about usage restrictions on a parking lot in a residential district. They never tried to push this before.

Every player needs to look at the obvious, and figure out a way for St. John's to come to the table. We do not need to get a whole group of residents upset with hearing valets running down the street and slamming car doors to 3AM , car alarms etc.

Plus another zoning code stipulates the lot must be 400ft. from the restaurant, which it is not, also in a retail district, and the lease has to be five year renewable to satisfy BOZA.

BOZA cannot grant a commercial use for the lot, but only can grant the use of a parking lot in a residential district to be used by the person that is in control of the lot (The Church), plus the lot is already granfathered to be used in the district by the Church. It would be a easy argument that BOZA does not have the power or authority to convert it to commerical use. The Planning Department would have to change the district, then go to zoning, I think that would start a war.

Should this guy suffer because several before him are not complying with agreements. No not at all, but the players need to understand the real problem (location, location, location) This is simple to try to fix.

I trust that the TWDC ED/LRP Committee will take this on, and I will help.

I hope this clarifies this issue.


Very much

  You are so sane and rational Henry...this really goes back more to the bar crowd (closing at 2:30 a.m.) not the restaurant crowd (most close at 11:30) and I don't want to go least not tonight :)

SOS. Compromise, Location, Location, Location


This is a copy of the correspondence sent to the Long Range Planning Committee.  I do believe that it covers just about everything.  Also, more so, I am a neighbor/resident of the church in question and myself, block club or not, do not want the added grief of having all this extra traffic and the problems that go with it in my door.

I was informed that Henry was well versed on this subject and having learned he had a good deal of experience with some of the same issues, I did seek his counsel and have found his rational to be quite beneficial.

 My purpose for stepping into the position as co-chair of the Central Tremont Block Club is to not only unite the community, but to empower the people of this little section of Tremont to speak up for their rights, to have a more independent voice as well as aid and support the NEEDS of the people and not the rubber stamping that has gone on the the past.

The "house of cards" surrounding the inadequate parking requirements has begun to tremble.  I have been researching this issue for a Plain Press article for months and the documented facts are astonishing.  As far as being focused, I am and you can read all about it in the April issue of the Plain Press.  I won't be posting anything further on this subject.

Dear Sandy and David

In Re:  TWDC Economic Development
           Long Range Planning Committee
As you know, our block club met on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, and we did have Dante as a guest orator wherein he introduced his business proposal to our members.
However, it came to light that  Mr. Buccozzi could not verify adequate parking to support the seating capacity of his new venture.  He also alluded to the fact that, not included in his mentioned seating capacity, part of his proposal is to have additional bar, banquet facilities in the basement, which as I am sure you are aware is calculated as square footage and will require additional parking facilities. 
The local church you mentioned happens to be the Ukrainian Church located at 2290 West 7th Street, corner of West 7th and College, with only a College Avenue ingress and egress. I believe that you and your committee would be aware this location is in a residential area.
This is not acceptable due the fact that inhabitants in close proximity do not wish to have their lives disrupted at all hours with the hubbub of car doors, alarms, engine sounds and/or the influx of additional traffic in and out on a regular basis, not to mention an increase of crime and safety issues.
We recognize that Dante's ideas are good and may very well be an asset to the neighborhood but with the lack of parking space and the non-compliance of other establishments running rampant, especially the Professor Avenue gamut, is cause for grave concern. 
Mr. Buccozzi could only infer that his landlord was in control of the parking machinations and based on that the decision was made to have Dante return at our March assembly and bring along Mr. Calicchia to possibly assist in providing alternative parking arrangements. 
I will also be presenting the Sts. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church Parish Priest and Parish Counsel with a copy of Chapter 349  Zoning Code which includes 349.02 - 349.13, covering the off street parking requirements and parking spaces in residential districts along with a brief syllabus of possible financial responsibilities.
I will also provide your committees with a copy of this material as I do believe it should be made a part of any consideration for endorsement in the future to alleviate further unnecessary taxation on resident constituents.
You must keep in mind that there are many turf denizens, choosing not to be members of the block club fraternity, that will have a resounding voice in this matter as well.
Once again, I do appreciate your time and attention herein.
Jerleen Justus
Central Tremont Block Club

Citizen action

  Good work all around Jerleen and Henry...I will pick up my Plain Press and encourage all businesses to support the Plain Press with their advertising dollars.  The parties involved are all good people and I trust you will find resolution here.  Unfortunately, as Jerleen alludes to in her post...too many other institutions have skirted under the radar on the parking issue.  In many ways, I am humming to myself, because my neighborhood has none of these issues AND we have a grocery store and drug store within walking distance.  Maybe, we don't want restaurants, afterall.  Just a coffee shop that serves PIE :)

Hidden Secrets

I said I wouldn't post anything else, however, what's good for the goose should be good for the gander.  These establishments do not spill that not only do they have large seating capacities, but most of them also have non-mentioned basement facilities that require more parking facilities than noted on their original proposals. 

If the residents are being put under the gun and called up to muster on housing code violations, shouldn't the business establishments, who are benefitting from this areas profit making advantages have to toe the line as well.  Instead they get away with not even marginal compliance and TWDC is right in the middle of the machinations.

Again, read the April issue - you will nod and shake your head in wonder at the number of  parking spaces needed to adequately service Professor Avenue alone.