Ordinance Review - August 13th 2013

August 13, 2013    

The Ordinance Review Committee met in regular session on Tues, August 13, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center Conference Room. Chairman Bill Marquardt presided. 

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Present: Mr. Bill Marquardt (Chairman), Mrs. Mary Ann Wervey, and Mr. John Marrelli

Also Present: Ms. Diane Calta (Law Department), Ms. Deborah Garbo (Secretary), and Rich Edelman (Chief of Police)

Absent: Mr. Jerry Catalano, Dr. Stephan Parker (Council Alternate), and Mr. Tom Cappello (Village Engineer)

CONSIDERATION OF MEETING MINUTES: July 9, 2013               

Mr. Marrelli, seconded by Mrs. Wervey made a motion to approve the minutes of July 9, 2013.          


Ayes: All                              
Nays: None                          

Motion Carried. Minutes Approved As Written. 


  1. Dangerous, Nuisance & Vicious Dogs (Law & Police Dept)
    Section 505.11
  2. Dangerous, Dead Trees (Bldg & Service Dept)
    Section 1353.07; Exterior Property Areas



Chairman Marquardt called the meeting to order beginning with vicious dogs.

Dangerous, Nuisance & Vicious Dogs

Number of Dogs Permitted

Ms. Calta said two things I was looking at; one was adding a provision in to cap the number of animals you could have. Cleveland Hts has 2 dogs or cats, or a combination of one each. Highland Hts has 3 total (only # of dogs, doesn’t deal with cats). Mayfield Hts has 2 of any species of domestic animals (doesn’t specify dogs or cats). Not more than two dogs, except puppies not over three months old. If we want to limit, there’s a range of 2 to 3.

Mr. Marrelli thinks 3 of either (3 combination). There might be a few families that already have three.  

Chief Edelman suggests excluding prior acquisition. Committee agrees.

Ms. Calta thinks it makes sense to keep it at dogs; 3 dogs. I’ll keep it in the Chapter we have now. I’ll add it in at 505.131. It’ll fit in between “Running at Large” and “Dog Runs”.

Notification to Owners of the Change in Code

Ms. Calta said the second part question was notifying everyone of the changes in the code that has a dog. I called the County and asked for a list of all the dogs that are registered in Mayfield Village. She said she’d send it but she put a little disclaimer that it may not be exact, that there might be a couple in there from Mayfield Hts. We should be able to figure that out.

I thought about putting that in the ordinance, but then I didn’t want to make that a requirement that we notify everyone. You can certainly make it a recommendation that the ordinance is recommended to Council and if passed, copies go out. I think when you do your dog license, I think you put an e-mail on there. Some of these can be notified by e-mail. 

Chief Edelman asked how we notify people for any other ordinance that has changed or amended.

Ms. Calta said we don’t send a copy of the ordinance in the mail. Everyone’s required to be on notice of it. It’s really more of a courtesy to let everyone know. The Voice of the Village is a good place to note it because that goes out to everybody.

Chairman Marquardt states o.k., we’ll limit it to 3 dogs. So the jest of this whole thing is that dogs are no longer vicious until proven guilty.

Chief Edelman said the legislature separated the different levels. They’re letting the local courts decide what the offense is. We can still cite immediately for a dog at large and then that will elevate it to the level of the court.

Chairman Marquardt said but if they attack somebody then they have to be proven guilty.

Chief Edelman said if they attack somebody I think that would be evidence in and of itself.

Mr. Marrelli asked, what if they almost attack somebody?

Chief Edelman replied that would be ‘dangerous’.

Ms. Calta said that’s a charge.

Chief Edelman said vicious means someone was attacked. Dangerous means they threatened attack. Nuisance is peeing on your lawn, excessive barking.

Ms. Calta summarizes.

  1. Changes will be made to 505.11; Dangerous, Nuisance and Vicious Dogs
  2. Changes will be made to ‘Running at Large’ as to the penalties.
  3. We’ll add new Section 505.131; Three dog limit. Prior acquisition not affected.
  4. Recommend with the list of licensed dogs, that they be informed of the ordinance as a courtesy, and an article be put in the Voice of the Village.


Mrs. Wervey comments it’s not making it more, it’s making it consistent with the State.


Mrs. Wervey, seconded by Mr. Marrelli made a motion to approve changes to Chapter 505 as recommended by Ordinance Review Committee.


Ayes: Mr. Marquardt, Mrs. Wervey, Mr. Marrelli     

Nays: None                                       

Motion Carried. Recommendation to Council.


Dangerous, Dead Trees

Mr. Marrelli said we should have an Arborist, but we have some resistance to that.

Ms. Calta states I’m open to ideas. John put together good information from other communities last meeting. We didn’t want to create a Village Arborist position with duties and obligations, but we wanted to give you the authority to do what a lot of those ordinances placed in the hands of an Arborist and knowing we do have a Certified Arborist on Staff.

The first thing I looked at is liability. John, when you go out and do an inspection, you have immunity, and so would the Arborist.

I put together Section 1353.075; Dangerous trees. I also added Trimming and Preservation of trees. Preservation is more pruning. This can be added into the Chapter we already have on Unsafe & Unsanitary Structures because there’s a section in here that is Exterior Property Areas; 1353.07.

(b) The Building Commissioner (insert; and/or Service Director), in consult with the Village’s on staff certified arborist, shall, from time to time, inspect the trees and shrubs located upon the exterior property areas and tree lawn. 

Chairman Marquardt said the ‘staff certified arborist’ is assuming the current condition. What if you didn’t have one?

Mr. Marrelli said we’d have to have a consultant come in. Maybe we’d use our Landscape Architect.

Ms. Calta gave reason why she did this There’s a long case about a tree that fell and injured somebody and whether there was municipal liability. The defense tried to argue that the municipality hired all of their pruning and maintenance out. They hired an independent contractor and that independent contractor doesn’t have immunity. The court didn’t agree with that argument. If we have somebody on staff, they’re an employee so they’re covered under the immunity.

Chairman Marquardt asked how that works with our dog catcher.

Ms. Calta said we have a Dog Warden Ordinance. We’re not creating an Arborist.

Mr. Marrelli suggests deleting ‘on staff’ because we may have to hire somebody on occasion.  

Ms. Calta agreed. You’d get the consultant but you’d still be reviewing it and making the determination.

(c) Upon finding that any tree or part thereof constitutes a nuisance and an immediate danger exists to persons, neighboring property or public thoroughfares, property or other vegetation, the Building Commissioner shall direct, by written notice, the property owner to trim, preserve and/or remove the tree. Note: Since we don’t define immediate danger, consensus is to strike it.

(2) The notice shall set forth in (insert; the) time limit for compliance, (insert; which in no instance shall be longer than two weeks.

Mr. Marrelli asked how we’d handle a situation if they don’t do it and we hire somebody to do it and they won’t let that person on their property.

Ms. Calta replied we’d have to get a court order to do that. 

Mrs. Wervey asked, once the Village hires a contractor to do it, then all liability falls with the contractor, right? Then the Village should be out of it?

Ms. Calta said right. The contractor will be insured, should something happen.


Ms. Calta will make revisions for Sept 10th meeting.


Chairman Marquardt asked if any other business.

Mr. Marrelli said while we’re speaking of trees, we’re going to have a Zoning Board hearing next week which is the procedure that’s required to cut down more than 25% of your live trees that are more than 9” in circumference on your lot. We have an ordinance that says that. I think the ordinance was written for when they were building the town so that guys didn’t come in and clear cut the lot. I have a situation where a homeowner wants to put in a pool and clear cut his backyard. He’s cut down 10 huge trees. He has to go to the Zoning Board for permission now after the fact. 

Ms. Calta said obviously he can’t replant all those trees but if there’s any way there can be a buffer.

Mr. Marrelli said he’s planning on a 6’ high board on board fence, but their Homeowners Association doesn’t allow it.


Mr. Marrelli, seconded by Mrs. Wervey made a motion for adjournment. 


Ayes: All                                                        
Nays: None                             

Motion Carried. Meeting adjourned at 5:32 p.m. 

Respectfully Submitted,

Deborah Garbo
Executive Assistant
Building Department