PZ - September 15th 2016

Planning & Zoning Commission
Workshop Meeting Minutes
Mayfield Village
Sept 15, 2016

The Planning and Zoning Commission met in workshop session on Thurs, Sept 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center, Main Conference Room for a meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Chairman Syracuse presided.


Present: Mr. Vetus Syracuse (Chairman), Dr. Sue McGrath (Chairman Pro-Tem), Mr. Bill Marquardt, and Mr. Paul Fikaris

Also Present: Mr. Joseph Diemert (Law Director), Mr. John Marrelli (Building Commissioner), and Ms. Deborah Garbo (Secretary)

Absent: Mr. Garry Regan, Mr. David Hoehnen, Mayor Bodnar, and Mr. Tom Cappello (Village Engineer)


  1. Conditional Use Permit
    Hattie Larlham Community Services
    New Constant Companions Program
    700 Beta Dr. Unit A
    Payto Architects


Chairman Syracuse called the meeting to order. This is a workshop meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission. We have one item on our agenda tonight, a request for a conditional use permit. Whoever is here to make a presentation, I’d like you to state your name for the record;

Jeffery Foster, RA
Payto Architects
1220 W 6th Street #405
Cleveland, 44113

Daniel Warner
Hattie Larlham
Vice President of Operations
9772 Diagonal Rd.
Mantua 44255

Sarah Rager
Hattie Larlham
Assistant Director
1670 Enterprise Pkwy
Twinsburg 44087

Jeffery Foster said, thank you for having us here today. As mentioned, we’re here for a conditional use for a proposed Constant Companions location at 700 Beta Dr.

Sarah Rager states, Constant Companions was established in 2004 as a unique alternative to traditional work or day programs for people with developmental disabilities. In our programs we focus on teaching them life skills to help them be successful in the community, gain personal independence and gain possible employment. One of our big things is the animals and the interaction with them. “Nancy’s Story” tells it the best about the interaction with the animals and how it changes their personality and helps them grow. We also like to give back to the communities which include volunteering at local homeless shelters, food banks and community Senior Centers. We currently have seven locations throughout Ohio, mainly Northeast Ohio. We do have one lonely one down in Cincinnati.

Jeffery Foster said, this video is a story about one of the participants of the program, it kind of sums up the intent of the program pretty well.

Video Presentation
“Nancy’s Story” – Constant Companions

Jeffery Foster states, I assume you’ve had a chance to review our application. Our application goes step by step to address some typical questions. As Sarah mentioned, there are seven of these locations, all but one located in Northeast Ohio. They’re located in typical locations like the one we’re proposing on Beta Dr. In terms of improvements and modifications to the facility, all the work we’re proposing to do only requires minor interior modifications within the building structure. There’ll be changes in plumbing work to some of the restroom facilities. The rest will stay much as it is today. The site location is in a building right behind the Hilton Garden Inn on Beta Dr. The space we’re looking to accommodate is located next to the physical therapy facility, a small gym and the party center here. In terms of traffic and bus traffic, it will be nothing different than what you see with the office tenants.

Mr. Marrelli asked, the Engineering Firm is across the hall?

Jeffery Foster points out CW Courtney Engineering office space. They’d be adjacent to this unit. The nearest locations to this are in Bedford Hts, Middleburg Hts & Twinsburg. 

Mr. Marrelli states, we visited Bedford Hts & Twinsburg yesterday.

Daniel Warner offers a little history on Hattie Larlham. Hattie has a long history in Northeast Ohio spanning over 50 years. We’ve spent those 50 years developing and providing services for developmentally disabled individuals. It primarily started with one person, and that was Hattie Larlham herself with one child. To now we serve over 1800 children in the Northeast Ohio area and Columbus. This nonprofit organization is growing. It’s providing residential services, medical services and job training services and camps & play centers. Constant Companions is one of those programs. We look to bring that into your fine city. We feel that it’s a great fit for us and we really look forward to be working with you. I’d be happy to answer any questions.

Mr. Fikaris asked, can you go through a typical day in how this facility would operate?

  • Typical day @ Constant Companions

Sarah Rager replied, all of our sites are pretty much the same. Our Bedford Hts site is just a little bit different because they’re more medically fragile. The proposal will mirror our Middleburg Hts site. Drop off time for them is between 8:30 am and 10:00 am. During that time they socialize and prepare for the day and interact with the animals. At 10:00 we do stretches to wake everyone up and then we do chores. They do the chores and the staff assists them. The chores range from cleaning the cat boxes to vacuuming. We have lunch at 11:00. At 12:00 we start our daily activities. That’s when we go out to the community or stay inside. We always have a group that leaves the building every single day. A group leaves, a group stays. The group that stays builds their skills to gain independence in the community, employment or just personal independence. The group that goes out volunteers in the community. We have to be back at the facility so they can be picked up between 2:00 & 3:00 pm. That’s about how their day goes.

Mr. Fikaris asked, how many individuals do you envision?

Sarah Rager replied, our goal at all of our locations is 30. The most we have at one site enrolled is 38. However, not all of them come every single day. Some work in the community and attend our program for the social interaction. The most we have a day now is 26.

Mr. Fikaris asked, are the animals stored on site?

Sarah Rager replied, they live on site. They’re all domestic animals; cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, fish. We don’t have dogs. Our sister company has Doggie Day Care and they bring us dogs sometimes.

Mr. Fikaris asked, how many animals total would be there at any given time? 

Sarah Rager replied, 6 plus fish. The cat room is locked up at night.

Chairman Syracuse asked, are the animals free to roam on site or is there a specific location where they interact?

Sarah Rager replied, we have playpens for the bunnies, guinea pigs and chinchillas so they don’t chew the walls.

Chairman Syracuse asked, if you’re going to have this located in Mayfield Village, where would the residents come from?

Sarah Rager replied, from surrounding communities. They live at home, they live in Group Homes, and they live with Foster Parents. They’re assigned through a supporting Administrator through the County Board of Education.

Chairman Syracuse asked, is this to expand what you’re already providing as far as services or is it more because there’s an overflow of traffic in the other locations?

Sarah Rager replied, we do have an overflow of traffic at all our County locations currently. There’s a need. All of the County shelter workshops had to close.

Application for Conditional Use, Chapter 1149; Exhibit B Guidelines

Payto Architects memo response to number 6 of the guidelines;

Q: Is economically feasible based on documentation submitted by the applicant that there is sufficient market demand within the Village and or the surrounding areas to support the use.

A: With changes to CMS regulations county boards are no longer able to be providers of service resulting in the closing of county board run workshops. With this change Cuyahoga County will no longer be placing people into workshops and those currently attending workshops will need placement at other locations. Mayfield Village is within close proximity to the Beachwood workshop and the Constant Companions program will be able to enroll individuals as they exit. The location is also ideal to meet the needs of surrounding counties including Lake and Geauga.

Jeffery Foster said, the one that was located in Beachwood seemed to be the more popular. The Cuyahoga County Board of DD has been encouraging Hattie for some years to get into Geauga and Lake County too.

Mr. Marrelli asked, you have a location in Beachwood?

Jeffery Foster replied, no. It’s a county workshop that’s closing.

Chairman Syracuse asked, are you aware if there’s any Mayfield Village residents who are going to be participating in this program?

Sarah Rager replied, I don’t know that currently. 

Jeffery Foster states, pretty much all throughout the region, we’re full.

Chairman Syracuse asked if there are any further questions.

Mr. Fikaris asked Jeffery to show on the floor plan exactly where the animals will be kept.

Jeffery Foster pointed out, in the Pockets Pet section.

Mr. Fikaris asked, do you have other facilities that support this Pocket Pets program where you have overnight pets?

Jeffery Foster replied, all seven of them.

Daniel Warner said, Hattie also has three Doggie Day Cares. All of them are used for training facilities for the developmentally disabled.

Chairman Syracuse asked about proposed hours of operation. 

Sarah Rager replied, 8 – 4 Monday through Friday. No weekends.

Chairman Syracuse asked, does anybody come in on the weekends to take care of the animals?

Sarah Rager replied yes, someone feeds them on the weekends.

Mr. Marrelli asked, what do you do for training for the severely disabled? How are they trained? When we went to the Bedford Hts location, there was no training going on. They were severely disabled.

Jeffery Foster replied, training is a relative term with that population throughout. As an organization, that’s an alternative to its shelter workshop. It gets those folks into the community center, gets them out with their peers, socially kind of brings them out.

Daniel Warner added, there are music programs as well.

Sarah Rager said, although they may not have use of their hands, we have hand over hand assistance. If they’re cleaning a litter box, we’re hand over hand.

Daniel Warner said, Hattie also has a wonderful program called Hattie’s Creative Arts. A studio where people with disabilities interested in art can paint, create ceramic pieces or shoot photos. A staff of art trackers assists program participants in realizing their goals. During each session, residents have one-on-one time with a professional artist. Their art is shown all over the country in art shows. Although the folks don’t look like they’re doing things, it’s through eye contact and facial movements that they’re able to create from pottery to art.

Sarah Rager said, we do have down moments. I’m not sure what time you showed up.

Mr. Marrelli replied, 10:30 in the morning.

Sarah Rager said, that’s usually their down moment, they just got there.

Mr. Marrelli said, we had the same situation in Twinsburg 20 minutes later. People were just gathered. Nobody was being trained for anything, just watching T.V.

Sarah Rager said, they’re also there for the social interaction.

Mr. Marrelli said, if you watch this video, these people are able bodied, walking around, communicating. That wasn’t happening at either of the sites we went to yesterday.

Jeffery Foster said, there’re different levels of physical-

Mr. Marrelli asked, how would we know what level we’re looking at here?

Sarah Rager replied, it would be like our Twinsburg location, it would be mixed.

  • Safety Checks – Fire Protection

Mr. Marrelli said, we asked one of the caretakers how they dealt with fire alarms. The people that were in the Bedford Hts location were not capable of reacting to a fire alarm. They had to be physically taken out.

Daniel Warner states, we conduct fire drills as required by the current standards.

Mr. Marrelli asked, can you explain how that works because we only found 3 caretakers in Bedford Hts and there was probably 30 clients. How would a fire drill work with 3 people taking 30 out?

Sarah Rager replied, there are 10 caregivers altogether. We have a 1-3 ratio for that location.

Jeffery Foster said, this is a $50 million dollar a year organization. We serve folks from severely profound to folks who are just on the Autism scale. In terms of protocol, there are written protocols for training. It’s all very well organized.

Daniel Warner states, we have a 130 bed Assisted Living location in Mantua. Once a year we have to do an evacuation drill. We can dump that building in 10 minutes easy. That’s all employees, records and individuals as well. I also chair the Safety Committee for Hattie Larlham. Every facility we have do monthly safety checks. They submit those safety checks into us. We have an electronic work order system that allows them to put in a safety emergency work order. If they find something on that safety check list, we have protocols that state that that safety work order has to be responded to the same day and completed within two days. At least the same day it has to be responded to and established safe and then completed within two days. We have mobile maintenance technicians throughout that we send out to our sites. Every property has preventative maintenance programs to where emergency lighting & lighting is checked monthly. Emergency lighting once a year gets screened with a ninety minute test. We have electronic records that show all the safety procedures we go through. We look for extension cords, power strips not installed right. Safety is probably one of our top priorities, partly because we are Medicaid. We are held to the Ohio Department of Health Standards which is according to JCAHO with the hospitals. We do that at the main center and we expand that through all of our other locations.

Mr. Marrelli said, I question the lack of alarms on the Exit Doors where somebody can walk out.

Daniel Warner replied, we have not had any instances ever of where somebody has gotten out. We have bells on our doors, not electronic alarms. We don’t lock the doors. We have panic bars. Everything follows the NFPA rules. There’s good visibility on the central activity area. If somebody is in an office, there are windows there that they can always see what’s going on. We take that very seriously.

Mr. Marrelli said, you stated earlier that it’s an I-2 Occupancy because the people aren’t capable of self- exit.

Jeffery Foster replied, no. The I-2 Occupancy is the home we talked to you about. This would be a B-Use Occupancy. The caretakers and staff are there for them. They’re not there beyond 23 hours.

Mr. Marrelli said, but between the hours of 8 & 4 they have to be physically helped out the door.

Jeffery Foster said, for the individuals who need it.

Mr. Marrelli said, all I can go by is the two places we visited. They both needed assistance to evacuate the building. Would you want to go through your 10 points “Guidelines” on how you meet our criteria at this time? 

Jeffery Foster asked, did anyone have any questions on any of the responses? We feel that this really is consistent with what you have on Beta. It really helps to enhance that area and provides a well needed service to the area.

Mr. Marrelli said, we have a similar type of occupancy across the street; Koinonia Homes.

Jeffery Foster said yes, they’re our competitor.

Mr. Marrelli said, one of the criteria is that you don’t necessarily tax the uses of the Fire and Police departments. We have a stack of runs at Koinonia.

Daniel Warner said, I’ve been told there’ve been three 911 calls to 3 of our locations in the last 2 years. We have nursing protocol that we do internally before we call 911.

Sarah Rager said, we’re all CPR First Aid certified.

Mr. Marrelli asked, do your clients have their own cell phones?

Sarah Rager replied, some do.

Mr. Marrelli said, that’s what was going on at Koinonia. They couldn’t figure out how to call out so they kept dialing 911. The Fire Chief and I went to Bedford Hts, then Twinsburg and came back to Koinonia on a surprise visit. As we waited in the lobby to talk to the lady behind the desk, the Police showed up because of a 911 call. They said this is a common occurrence. I don’t say that because I’m trying to make an issue, but we sat here three years ago with Koinonia Homes who swore up and down that they never have any calls. I have probably about 60 of them right here from the past 3 years between Fire & Police.

Daniel Warner said, I can get you copies of our records from Bedford Hts & Twinsburg. 

Mr. Marrelli said, I have to ask this question, I hate to ask it but, we called the Fire Chief at Bedford Hts and they weren’t aware that you guys were in their town. Do you have an Occupancy Permit there?

Jeffery Foster replied, absolutely. We’ve been there 3 years.

Daniel Warner said, it’s a Geis building. It was built out with their construction team.

Mr. Marrelli said, you should have seen the Fire Inspector in Bedford Hts at least three times by now.

Mr. Fikaris said, you say your services are similar. Are there any differences between this and Koinonia Homes?

Jeffery Foster replied, big difference. When I say similar, they’re similar providers. They provide services for folks with developmental disabilities. What they provide there from what I understand is occupational training.

Sarah Rager said, we teach them more life skills.

Jeffery Foster said, those folks at Koinonia are higher functioning individuals.

Mr. Marrelli said correct. Everybody at that facility is mobile if you will. They’re capable of responding to alarms, etc without assistance.

Jeffery Foster said, we provide those same services, just not at this location.

  • Funding

Mr. Marrelli asked, do you receive funding from the Federal Government the same as they do or from the County? And how much is that per client?

Jeffery Foster replied, the program will serve people with disabilities from multiple counties resulting in estimated revenue of $542,484 annually for 30 clients.

Mr. Marrelli states, everybody should have received the notes from the Fire Chief, Police Chief and Finance Director. We don’t have to go through those unless you want to.

  • Medical Personnel On Staff

Dr. McGrath asked, you don’t have a medical person on staff at your facility?

Sarah Rager replied, all of our staff are Delegated Nurses under the supervision of an RN. They are CPR trained. At this specific location, they’re not looking to place a Nurse of staff. However, our Twinsburg, Bedford Hts and Middleburg Hts locations all have a Nurse on staff. This one would not, but we always have a nurse available by phone and Bedford is not too far.

Jeffery Foster states, that’s one of the things about the organization, we have this capacity within us. Some other organization would place a 911 call, we’d handle it within the organization.

Dr. McGrath said, but it sounds like many of these 911 calls are coming from the client’s cell phones.

Mr. Marrelli said, they’re calling from their cells and of course the Police are arriving at that address because it’s GPS. We only have three guys on a shift. We can’t tie one guy up for prank calls.

Sarah Rager said, we have seven locations and we have no record of any of these type of calls.

Daniel Warner states, we would want to know if we were having those type of issues so we could deal with it. We would take that very seriously.

Mr. Marrelli said I’m going to ask you a professional question, since we’re having that problem with your competitor, how do you think we should handle it, what channels should we be going through to get this problem solved?

Daniel Warner replied, I believe you should have that conversation with their Regional Directors. Let them know you’re having problems.

Jeffery Foster said, I would make sure that the Regional Director is aware of that, he may not be. I would challenge their conditional use permit.

Mr. Marrelli said, that may very well happen. They’re up for renewal. We sat in the same room with people just like you telling us; we’ll never have an issue, we won’t have Police problems, we won’t have to use the Fire Dept for anything, we’ll be quiet and handle everything internally.

Daniel Warner said, I’m not going to say that would never ever happen, but I would definitely want to know about it, that you would reach out to us and let us know. Hattie Larlham takes their word and reputation very seriously and has for over 50 some years. We want to have excellent working relationships with the cities, landlords and folks we work with.

Mr. Fikaris states, there’re a number of specific safety concerns outlined by the Fire Dept concerning the kitchenette and the system at 700 Beta. Lt. Girbino specifically addresses it in his letter.

Mr. Marrelli said, they’re having issues with the fire alarms. The owners of the building are out of state. There’s a person or persons that check on the building now and again. But there’s nobody there at the site unless they get called and asked to meet on the site. There’s not a lot of oversite on this building. It went from local ownership / management to out of state ownership / management.

Mr. Marquardt asked, we don’t have any conditions like this on their permit?

Mr. Marrelli replied, we do not.

Daniel Warner requested a copy of Lt. Girbino’s letter and received one. We’d like to bring that up to our representative before we sign a lease. If there’re reoccurring problems, we’d be equally concerned.

Mr. Marrelli said, as a tenant, you should know that the management company may not be very reachable. I think somebody comes from Downtown.

Daniel Warner said, the fellow’s first name I’ve talked to is Elliott, he’s with a real estate company that represents them. In the lease there was something about Jewish Holidays and during certain times of the year it would be difficult to get a hold of him.

  • Caring of Pets

Mr. Fikaris asked, would we require the same level of safety that we required with the facility across the street? At least because it was mentioned that these folks are less ambulatory. Another question is the keeping of pets overnight and over the weekend. I’m surprised in this day in age with the level of concern we have for our pets that somebody might think that reflects poorly. I think it’s a great program with the pet & individual companionship. There’s a concern there for the safety of the pets. Would the Village allow a pet store?

Mr. Marrelli replied, in a retail zone we would.

Mr. Fikaris said, I suppose it’s no different.

Dr. McGrath states, but it’s also next to a banquet center.

Mr. Marrelli added, and next to an Engineering office.

Dr. McGrath said, but they’re not serving food in the Engineering office.

Jeffery Foster said, it’s a separate ventilation system altogether.

Dr. McGrath said, I just wondered if there would be any restrictions.

Mr. Marrelli said, if you make the restrictions, then there’ll be some.

Sarah Rager states, our one site in Twinsburg used to be in the same building as the Humane Society. That’s actually where we got all of our animals. All our animals are rescue animals.

Mr. Marrelli said, right now in your Twinsburg facility you have nobody next door or behind you.

Sarah Rager replied, that’s correct. But in our Middleburg Hts location we have a construction zone next to us and Bedford Hts has an office building right next to us.

Jeffery Foster notes that the locations in Green have an office next door.

Daniel Warner said, that Bedford Hts location was recently purchased. It was an empty building when we came to them. Geis owns that building now and have done quite a bit in there, i.e. sprinkler systems, etc. All of our Constant Companions we require that they have sprinkler systems in that facility. That’s an extra step of safety that we’re not required to do unless the Township or city requires it, but we do it.

Mr. Marrelli asked, what do you do with these big storefront windows that are in front of the building? There’s no drapes or shades.

Daniel Warner replied, the more openness the better. It’s not a home. It’s a place to go to have fun and see what’s going on in the outside world.

Mr. Marrelli asked, do you ever soundproof the tenant walls in between you and somebody else?

Daniel Warner replied, in Middleburg a request came up that it was a little loud, the landlord went ahead and put in additional insulation. We work with the landlords, we understand that.


Chairman Syracuse states, we’ll take a vote at our next regularly scheduled meeting on Mon, Oct 3rd @ 7:00 p.m. I recommend that you be there to answer any questions anyone might have.

Mr. Marrelli suggests anybody that can shake loose during the day to take a ride to the Bedford Hts and Twinsburg facilities to get a feel for how the operation works.

Sarah Rager offered to set up a tour. Please feel free to call me at 330-405-0924. This proposed location will mirror our Middleburg Hts site, not our Bedford site, so Middleburg Hts would be the best site to visit.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.