Garage floor legislation referendum will not be on November ballot in South Euclid

SOUTH EUCLID — Law Director Michael Lograsso said an attempt to reverse a law allowing inspection of garage floors at rental and vacated homes will not go before voters Nov. 8.

Lograsso gave the opinion that recently submitted petitions pertaining to the matter did not conform to existing laws.

Resident Robert Schoenewald of Bayard Road said he saw the recently passed law as a step towards point-of-sale inspections and sought to stop it from being enacted by gathering signatures on a referendum petition.

In 2008, Schoenewald organized a successful referendum against point-of-sale inspections, which he saw as an intrusion on one’s civil liberties.

Lograsso explained that a referendum involves changing legislation passed by City Council. An initiative has voters voting on a new piece of legislation backed by petition circulators.

“(Schoenewald) got a copy of an ordinance passed by council (pertaining to the garage floor legislation) and attached it to an initiative petition,” Lograsso said. “By definition, you can’t do that. An ordinance has to be attached to a referendum petition.”

On July 28, Schoenewald submitted to Clerk of Council Keith Benjamin 14 petitions containing 416 signatures he and others had gathered.

While Lograsso said he is following state laws and the city charter in forming his opinion, Schoenewald said, “He’ll do what he has to do, and I’ll do what I have to do. He’s looking for technicalities to shut out the voice of the people.

Schoenewald did not say exactly what action he might next take regarding the matter.

Building Commissioner Paul Kowalczyk sought the garage floor legislation. He said the city has always inspected garage floors, but that by making it a part of the code, it would help the city.

In a recent case in which a homeowner took the city to court over a garage floor violation, Kowalczyk found that the city had no language specific to garage floors and he was advised by a lawyer to get such language instated in order to better defend the city in future cases.