Councilman Slife has a front-row seat to Cleveland’s future

By Jerry Masek

    There are 17 members on Cleveland City Council, but only one, Charles Slife, has a front-row seat to Cleveland’s future.

    Since taking office in November, Slife has served as City Council’s representative on the seven-member City Planning Commission. The other six members are appointed by the Mayor.

    The Commission meets at City Hall at 9 a.m. on the first and third Fridays of each month. They review and approve plans for major new buildings. Here is how reported on the  Aug. 22 meeting.

    “The Cleveland City Planning Commission on Friday approved several apartment projects, including a new 23-story building that would replace a downtown parking lot. The projects come as demand for higher-rent apartments in downtown Cleveland has started to soften, along with the rest of the economy. However, developers think there is enough demand to keep building.”


    The Planning Commission plays a key role in keeping growth projects on track, Slife said.

    “As members, we deliberate proposed zoning changes, public art, and large construction projects. We help to ensure that Cleveland neighborhoods benefit from development, and that new buildings enhance quality of life and encourage additional investment.”

    Friday meetings can take up to four hours. Members also spend time preparing for agenda items.

    “Developers and contractors are often eager to see a new building, or meet a construction timeline,” Sllife said. “What’s most important is that we get the best possible project for the city, and not something that has been rushed through.”

    Projects west of West 85th Street are first reviewed by the Far West Design Review Committee. Members send their recommendation to the Planning Commission, Slife said.

    “The projects we review create jobs for West Park and the entire city,” Slife said. “Even a project in University Circle affects the tax base for all city residents.”


The Planning Commission prepares plans to guide the development of the city and its neighborhoods. Duties include:

  • Zoning
  • Design Review
  • Historic Preservation
  • Public Art
  • Maps and Data
  • Development Planning
  • Neighborhood Planning
  • Special Purpose Plans

      There are 17 members on Cleveland City Council, but only one, Charles Slife, has a front-row seat to Cleveland's future.

  Slife’s background made him an ideal candidate for a seat on the Planning Commission. From Cleveland State University, he has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, focusing on Economic Development. He previously worked for Mayor Jackson, as a special assistant for Regional Development.

    Slife was formerly a location consultant for corporate clients of The Austin Company. He was also a trustee for West Park Kamm’s Neighborhood Development, formerly known as KCDC.

For more information

Jerry Masek worked for The City of Cleveland from 1985-1990.

Leave a Reply