The View from Ward 2: Issue #5

Updated: Feb 24

Committee of the Whole and City Council Meeting

The remaining five applicants for the vacant at-large Council seat were interviewed at the Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, February 3rd. We are lucky to have so many qualified residents that want to serve our city. Thank you to everyone who applied.

Following the Committee of the Whole Meeting, we began our first City Council Meeting of the month with a resolution honoring the winner of the 2019 Chamber of Commerce "Why I Love Lakewood" Essay Contest, Zenovia Parkanzy. Ms. Parkanzy read her essay to Council and expressed how she loves the parks, restaurants, and how easy it is to meet new people and make new friends. It is worth noting that many of Ms. Parkanzy's favorite things are in Ward 2!

During the meeting I proposed and passed my first resolution: to appoint a Council Liaison to the Youth Advisory Council. The Youth Advisory Council was created to better inform Council and the Administration of issues that are important to Lakewood's youth. I proposed creating the Council Liaison position to foster communication between the members of the Youth Advisory Council and City Council. The resolution was unanimously approved, and I accepted the appointment to the position. I look forward to helping turn the Youth Advisory Council's ideas into policy.

You can watch the council meeting by clicking here.

Bees in Lakewood

Over the past decade, the bee population in Ohio, along with the rest of the nation, has suffered significant losses. The bee-decline is alarming, as bees are important pollinators and play a key role in our agricultural industry. The need for bees has led to the growth of backyard beekeeping in both urban and suburban neighborhoods. The State's Apiary Law regulates the practice of beekeeping in Ohio. However, the Lakewood Municipal Code does not currently permit beekeeping in our city.

I was recently approached by a resident who is interested in backyard beekeeping and would like us to explore whether urban beekeeping is something we can bring to Lakewood. We have a lot of research to do, particularly as it relates to best practices in a dense city like ours. Ultimately, to allow beekeeping in Lakewood, we would need to create a beekeeping ordinance.

We would not be the first city to allow beekeeping. Cleveland, Parma, and Fairview Park all permit their residents to become backyard apiarist.

Do you have any questions or concerns about beekeeping in Lakewood? Do you support or oppose backyard beekeeping in Lakewood? I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

One Community Reads

On Wednesday, I attended a panel discussion about Lakewood's shared spaces as a part of the One Community Reads program. The panel, moderated by LakewoodAlive's Executive Director Ian Andrews, discussed the unique character of Lakewood and how we must continue to work together to ensure that all members of our community can enjoy our shared spaces. Thank you to the panelists for taking the time to participate and share your input and experience: Sean McDermott, from Cleveland Metroparks; Katelyn Milius, from Lakewood's Planning and Development Department; Toni Gelsomino, Director of Lakewood's Human Services Department; and Allison Urbanek, from LakewoodAlive. You can find more information about upcoming programs related to One Community Reads here.

Planning Commission ADU Discussion

At Thursday's Planning Commission meeting, the Planning & Development Department announced that they are going to begin researching Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). ADUs come in many different forms, from permanent structures attached to the main house to fully manufactured cottages that can be placed in your backyard (Elder Cottage Housing Opportunities (ECHO)). The Planning Department will answer questions like: Where should ADUs be permitted? What types of ADUs should we permit? How will ADUs fit into our Lakewood neighborhoods?

At the meeting I learned that I am not the only Ward 2 resident interested in ADUs. Planning Commission Member and St. Charles resident, Kyle Krewson, wrote a research paper in 2012 titled, "Zoning for the Elderly in Lakewood: Proposed Ordinances Changes to Support the Aging Population." Arthur Ave. resident, Richard Peck, is the author of the blog Small Homes for Aging, where he writes and gathers news about Accessory Dwelling Units as an option for seniors to age in place. I welcome any feedback you would like to share.

The Planning Department should complete their research by early Summer. I look forward to reviewing their research and beginning the process of bringing ADUs to Lakewood.