Dec. 12 – Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals
Covered by Documenters Karima McCree-Wilson and Giorgiana Lascu
What happened: The board denied a business owner’s request to use a West Park building as an event center. Precanna Brown, owner of LeSweets Party LLC, had leased the space to hold meetings, baby showers and retirement parties. Seven nearby residents urged the board to deny the request, as did Ward 17 Council Member Charles Slife. City Planner Shannan Leonard said City Planning supported Brown’s request. Leonard said Brown, who is Black, sought to create a space where everyone — including people who look like her — would feel comfortable. She said the community had not welcomed Brown or her business. Slife and Board Chair Kelley Britt pushed back on that, and Britt asked Leonard to stick to the zoning facts.
Focus on the landlord: Resident Susie Coreno said the community’s resistance has more to do with a permanent zoning change to the neighborhood than with Brown or her business. Rosemary Murdy, of West Park Kamm’s Corner Neighborhood Development, said the crux of the issue rests with a landlord who acts first and seeks forgiveness later, something she sees as a trend in Cleveland. Daniel Packis, representing his mother, who is listed as the property owner, said he did not realize the event space went against the zoning code when he issued the lease.
And also: The board approved Jaishawna Bates’ request to operate a daycare in Ward 6. Bates intends to care for up to 12 children per shift.
You can also read Documenter Giorgiana Lascu’s live Tweet from the meeting:
The zoning case tied to Precanna Brown’s business dates back to 2021. Brown also discussed the issue in a March 4 City Planning Commission meeting.
Want to learn more about zoning? Check out this introduction to Cleveland zoning by City Planning’s Matt Moss.