CAC: November 28th 2016

Mayfield Village Citizens Advisory Committee
Meeting Minutes
Nov 28, 2016

The Citizens Advisory Committee met on Monday, Nov 28, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Room.

Present: Bob Haycox (Chair), Lorry Nadeau, Rosemarie Fabrizio, Merv Singer, Allen Meyers, Mary Singer, Mary Salomon, Loretta Williams, Joanna McNally, Sara Calo, and Marilyn-LaRiche Goldstein

Absent: Kay Phillips, Sandy Batcheller, and Patricia Russo

Also Present
Mayor Brenda T. Bodnar
George Williams, Council Representative
Steve Jerome, Council Representative
Richard Edelman, Chief of Police
Michael Cicero, Prosecutor, of Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper
Diane Wolgamuth, Director of Administration
Residents Ron Lear, Steve Schutt and Dustin Graef

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Haycox opened the meeting and asked if there were any additions or changes to the minutes of Oct 24, 2016, previously provided to the Committee.  There were none and the minutes were approved as written.

Gun Laws in the State of Ohio

Mr. Haycox introduced Prosecutor Michael Cicero and thanked him for coming to speak to the Committee about gun laws in the State of Ohio.  Mr. Cicero thanked the Committee for inviting him to speak and advised that he was the long-time assistant to former Prosecutor Vince Feudo.  Mr. Cicero stated that he is also a resident of Mayfield Village, residing on Foxboro Drive.

Mr. Cicero described the incident at the Village’s soccer fields that prompted the recent discussion about gun laws.  The incident involved a couple that had been divorced about six years who both attended their son’s soccer game sponsored by Mayfield Soccer which is a private organization that uses the Village’s soccer fields.  The wife’s boyfriend was also there and the husband did not like the manner in which the boyfriend was cheering.  The husband and boyfriend had words, bumped chests and the Mayfield Village Police Dept. responded to a call about the altercation.  The PD checked for any existing warrants through the LEEDS system where CCW (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) permits show up.  Initially, the police officer asked the husband if he had a gun and the husband said no.  The officer asked again and the husband admitted to having a gun in his possession.  Mr. Cicero explained that failure by a CCW holder to advise an officer that he or she is carrying a weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor.  The husband pled to the charge and was given a sentence of six months in jail.  He was required to turn over all weapons and submit to a drug, alcohol and mental health assessment.  The husband is also banned from attending events at any Village facilities.

Mr. Cicero described that in recent years the Ohio legislature has cut into the home rule ability of municipalities.  He provided several examples and stated that the latest example is gun laws.  Mr. Cicero stated that carrying a concealed weapon was not permitted before 2008 and the laws regarding CCW have been changed by the Ohio legislature six times since 2008.  He added that this is the same legislature that raised the allowable amount of window tint on motor vehicles to 80%.  

Mr. Cicero explained that, under current Ohio open carry laws, a person can openly carry a shotgun while walking down SOM Center Road.  Law-abiding citizens can also carry a weapon in a concealed fashion and can have a gun in their car.  Mr. Cicero stated that there are not many places where guns are prohibited.  “Currently, guns are not allowed in government buildings, houses of worship, and airports.  In 2011, the law was changed to allow guns in Class D establishments, which includes bars, restaurants and nightclubs.  The law provides that a gun holder can consume alcohol as long as they are not drunk.”  Mr. Cicero added that various groups were upset by the new law and tried to pass local laws, however, the City of Clyde lost at the Ohio Supreme Court last year and the court held that cities cannot pass ordinances to try to restrict the carrying of weapons.

Mr. Cicero stated that guns are also prohibited in School Safety Zones which includes buildings, premises or property leased by the local School District, however, Ohio and federal laws allow a citizen to bring a gun to a public park.  As a government building, a local library is off limits.  Private property owners, like Progressive, can also prohibit guns on their property. 

Mrs. McNally asked about prohibiting weapons at Parkview Pool.  Mr. Cicero responded that the pool is considered a government building meaning guns can be prohibited there.  Mr. Jerome asked about the school’s playground and Mr. Cicero responded that school playgrounds are included in the School Safety Zone.  Mr. Cicero said that the best way for the public to try to change laws regarding where guns are permitted is to contact public officials about their concerns.  He added that the current President-Elect has stated that he plans to abolish all gun-free zones.  Mr. Cicero suggested that concerned residents encourage their representatives to make public parks a prohibited area. 

Mr. Jerome asked about the possibility of giving the soccer field property to the schools to make them a School Safety Zone.  Mr. Cicero agreed that School Safety Zones include property that the School District leases, however, if the Village tries to enter into a long-term lease with the School District, he suspects the first thing the District will say is they don’t want to deal with the maintenance or insurance issues.  The Village could agree to maintain and insure and the only other requirement is that the School District must use the property at least once a year.  Mr. Cicero cautioned that such an arrangement could get attention from the media and could be challenged by gun groups.  The School District might also be fearful of lawsuits and might want the Village to cover any associated legal costs.  Mr. Cicero added that whenever the schools use the Village’s fields, they automatically become a Safety Zone.

Mr. Meyers asked if guns are permitted in the Metroparks.  Mr. Cicero advised that they are.  Mr. Jerome asked if installing a gate at the fields would make it a government building.  Mr. Cicero said maybe, but that could also be subject to challenge.  Mr. Meyers asked if many incidents occur at the fields.  Mr. Cicero responded that this was an isolated incident and he could not remember any others. 

Mrs. McNally stated that she was at the fields that day and advised that there were about 200 children in the area.  The man never threatened anyone but she thought it was clear that the situation was unsafe.  “You don’t usually see police on the soccer field.”  She added that she thought no one should come to a soccer game with a loaded weapon. 

Mr. Cicero stated that there are people who carry guns wherever they go.  “There are many gun enthusiasts.  Cuyahoga County is different from most other counties where people go sport hunting in their yard.  In other parts of the State, people don’t care about carrying guns.  Kids shoot free at ranges.  Weapons are a way of life in rural areas.”  Mrs. McNally responded that the scary part was the crowded field of children.

Mr. Haycox asked if the result would have been different if the two men had gotten into a physical fight.  Chief Edelman responded that it wouldn’t have changed anything except the man would have been charged with assault in addition to failure to report the gun. 

Mr. Cicero stated that the man’s permit has been suspended, but he is able to go buy another gun because he was not charged with a felony.  If he were found mentally incapacitated or addicted to drugs or alcohol, he would not be able to purchase a gun.

Mayor Bodnar noted that the School District does not need to enter into an agreement with the Village since the School Safety Zone goes with them when using the fields.  Mr. Cicero agreed and reiterated that such an agreement would likely draw the ire of gun groups, making such an arrangement difficult from a public relations standpoint.

Mr. Haycox stated that it sounds like the best course is to contact our State representatives.  Mr. Cicero agreed and suggested writing or calling State Senator Matt Dolan and/or State Representative Marlene Anielski.  Mr. Haycox added that gas drilling was another example of losing local control.  Mr. Cicero stated that tragedies can happen anywhere.  “Paris is an example of a city with strict gun laws.  The best way to address the issue is to go through the legislature.  This is not about partisan politics, it is about being parents and protecting our children.”  Mayor Bodnar suggested that she would contact the SPAN cities to see about sending a letter together. 

Mr. Haycox thanked Mr. Cicero and Chief Edelman for coming to the meeting to discuss this important issue.

Council Update / Zoning Issue at 730 SOM Center Road

Mr. Williams advised that Council had convened a recent public hearing to discuss a zoning change at 730 SOM Center Road from residential to office/lab.  He asked if Committee members attended, if they had any questions, and if they wanted to provide their feedback as this issue is coming before Council in the near future.  Council must vote to place it on the ballot.

Mrs. Fabrizio stated that she attended the hearing where the assisted living proposal was discussed.  She believes the important issue is how this change impacts the community and whether building an assisted living facility there will change that part of SOM Center Road.  She believes that adding a building there may cause flooding issues and impact other properties.  Mr. Meyers stated that the water issue is Village-wide.  Any change or added development affects runoff and can cause flooding, affecting other properties. 

Mrs. Nadeau stated that the Fire Chief brought up a concern about the gas well.  If evacuation is required, moving so many people would be difficult.  Mayor Bodnar explained that even if Council declines to send the issue to the ballot, it could still be placed there by petition.  If the ballot issue passes, the property owner still needs to obtain a variance and a conditional use permit.  There are several additional steps before an assisted living facility could be built.  Mrs. Fabrizio stated that she was also concerned about the distance of the structure from the well.  Mrs. McNally asked if just that specific parcel would be rezoned.  Mayor Bodnar responded that others might want to rezone their properties too as rezoning would make the properties more valuable. 

The Committee discussed that the assisted living facility is currently intended to be privately owned, but that there is nothing to prevent it from being sold to a chain in the future.  The Committee also discussed that the room sizes presented were very small. 

Band Shell at The Grove Amphitheatre

Mr. Williams advised the Committee that a public hearing was also held regarding the band shell for The Grove.  Ms. Wolgamuth shared a copy of the updated renderings for the proposed structure.  She explained that the Village is currently out to bid for Phase I which would include the band shell and the south wall.  If Council approves the bid, the band shell should be completed in time for the 2017 summer season.  The green room/storage room is part of Phase II, which will not be built until 2018.  Mrs. LaRiche-Goldstein asked about the cost and Ms. Wolgamuth advised that the cost estimate for Phase I is $290,000.  The cost for Phase II should be between $200,000 and $225,000.  The Village is currently seeking a $50,000 grant from Cuyahoga County to help defray the cost. 

Upcoming Events

Ms. Wolgamuth shared the program for the Cleveland Institute of Music concert scheduled for Thursday, Dec 1.  She also provided information about the other holiday programs and reminded the Committee that all dates and times are included in the Voice of the Village and on the Village’s website. 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.