Cuyahoga Falls City Council puts proposed charter change on fall ballot


CUYAHOGA FALLS — City residents will see one charter amendment on the ballot in November.

City council voted unanimously July 13 to place an issue on the fall ballot asking voters whether the council member on planning commission should become a non-voting member, a move which would allow another resident to be appointed to the commission.

A city council member currently serves as one of the voting members of the planning commission. Law Director Janet Ciotola noted this means that this individual is able to vote on the same issues twice — once at planning commission and once at council.

The charter review commission proposed that the charter be amended to make the council member a non-voting member of planning commission, and to allow the mayor to appoint another member of the public to serve as a voting member on the commission.

“This change would allow the councilperson to act as a liaison between the two parties and adding a seventh member from the public ... thereby increasing public participation,” said Ciotola.

Ciotola noted the charter review commission reviewed the charters from “several other cities” before it recommended the amendment. 

“A majority of these commissions, their planning commissions were comprised of electors from their particular city,” added Ciotola.

Ciotola said the charter review commission also felt that planning commission appointees should “be from differing backgrounds … thereby making it representative of the public at large.”

City Council member Tim Gorbach (D-At Large) said he agreed it was important to make an effort to appoint people from “various backgrounds” to the planning commission.

If council votes in favor of the legislation, the proposed charter change would appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Council also unanimously approved a charter amendment to delete language that says: “Upon the merger of Northampton Township and the City of Cuyahoga Falls full-time employees lawfully appointed by Northampton Township shall be appointed within the classified service of the City of Cuyahoga Falls pursuant to the conditions of merger approved by the electorate of the City of Cuyahoga Falls and Northampton Township on November 5, 1985.”

Ciotola said this language is “obsolete” because there are no longer any former Northampton Township employees working for the city of Cuyahoga Falls. This change does not require voters’ approval. Ciotola explained the charter allows the law director, with council’s concurrence, to remove obsolete language from the document. 

Phil Keren can be reached at