After much back and forth between project representatives, community members and one council member, the Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals delayed decisions on two East Side group homes.
Emergent Evolutions LLC proposed a group home for veterans in need of rehabilitation services on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Cleveland City Council Member Deborah Gray said she was told the group home would be for children. The project representative attributed the confusion to a statement he made to Gray about the company also working in childcare. Gray said she would support the project if the community wanted it, as the representative had presented 28 signatures from residents in support.
Zoning Board Chair Alanna Faith suggested postponing the decision so the council member could clarify the purpose of the project and hold a community meeting on the subject. Gray agreed.
BJB Enterprise LLC also proposed a group home, this one for three women over 30 on East 93rd Street. Two neighbors came to the meeting to express concern about ongoing issues of property maintenance and crime that went unaddressed by previous property owners.
One of the neighbors said the street already had three or four group homes, although City Planning’s map only showed one. Chief City Planner Maurice Ruelens said any additional group homes are likely unregistered or are classified as rooming houses.
Ruelens also said he was concerned about operating a group home–which is a business—out of a row house with existing residential tenants. He suggested hosting a community meeting to gather more input from residents. Board members postponed their decision to October 9 so that there would be time to confirm the number of group homes in the area and do a site visit to the property.
Taking it to court
Two Ward 1 residents, upset with the board’s decision regarding the property next to theirs, are appealing the decision to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. The two women had previously argued against the positioning of their neighbor’s proposed garage, but the board determined that their complaint was an aesthetic preference rather than a rights violation.