Common City Ordinances
Common Ordinances You Should Know
This summary of selected Cleveland Heights ordinances includes those areas and issues that are most commonly encountered by citizens on a regular basis. View all City Ordinances and the City Charter.
Animal Control Regulations
- Dogs must be licensed by the county and wear a tag (Ohio R.C.955.05). Licenses are available through the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer. Dogs should also wear an I.D. tag with the owner's address and phone number.
- Only two dogs or cats, or a combination of one each, are allowed per dwelling (505.02).
- Only domestic animals are permitted as pets in the city of Cleveland Heights (505.03).
- Animals are not permitted to make noise (i.e. barking, howling) that disturbs other residents (505.04). At night and during the early morning, barking becomes a greater nuisance. A constantly barking dog signals problems for neighbors and for the animal. Loud and constant barking is disturbing and may mean that your dog is cold, frustrated or lonely.
- Animals (except for guide dogs) may not be brought into stores or malls (505.05).
- Animals are not permitted in Public Parks (505.06).
- Animals must be kept under control and not permitted to run at large (505.07). To protect our pets and neighbors, a pet must always be kept on a leash when going for a walk or any other time the pet leaves its home. This will reduce the chances of the pet wandering away and possibly hurting itself and others. Cats should be kept indoors and provided toys, companionship and a clean litter box. Stray cats may fight noisily and become a nuisance to neighbors.
- Your pet may void excrement and urine only on your own property or between the curbs of city streets. You must pick up and properly dispose of fecal matter left by your pet (505.08).
- Wild animals are prohibited as pets (505.09).
- A vicious dog must be confined on its owner's property. Vicious dogs must be properly leashed and muzzled if off of owner's property. Vicious dogs must be registered with the City and a permit must be obtained (505.091). (See below.)
- Pit bulls and pit bull crosses are considered vicious dogs (505.091). (See below.)
- Animals may be impounded if in violation of Cleveland Heights Animal Control ordinances. A fee and all kennel charges must be paid in order for the animal to be released.
Vicious Dog Ordinance
Cleveland Heights Ordinance #71-1987 added Section 505.091 to the Animal Control section of our Codified Ordinances and deals specifically with vicious dogs and Pit Bull Terriers. The owner of a vicious dog has a great responsibility to neighbors and the public. In order to meet that responsibility, regulations have been established that must be followed. It is believed that dog owners who follow these requirements will reduce the likelihood that their dog will be involved in a bite. In addition, neighbors and people who pass by the dogs when the dogs are in the yard or are being walked will be less likely to feel threatened by the dog.
The city defines a vicious dog in three ways:
- Any dog with a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of other human beings or other domestic animals;
- Any dog which, without provocation, attacks a human being or another domestic animal;
- Any pit bull terrier, which shall herein be defined as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pitbull Terrier as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier by a qualified veterinarian duly licensed as such by the State of Ohio;
If you have a vicious dog, the following is necessary to comply with the law:
The vicious dog must be registered with the City of Cleveland Heights within 10 days of the date the dog is first brought into the city and thereafter on an annual basis on or before January 31 of each calendar year. To register, you must show proof of $100,000.00 liability insurance that insures you against any claim, loss damage, or injury to persons, domestic animals or property resulting from the acts of your dog. Such insurance must be maintained and proof of it may be requested by a law enforcement officer. You must bring a photo of the animal and pay $20 to register.
When your dog is at home, it must be securely confined indoors or, if outside, confined in a securely enclosed and locked pen or dog run area. The pen or dog run must have secure sides and a secure top.
When you take your dog off of your property, you must have it muzzled and it must be securely leashed on a chain no more than three (3) feet long, with at least 300 pounds of tensile strength.
If you do not comply:
- If it is believed that a vicious dog is being kept in violation of Cleveland Heights law, the City will petition the court to seize and impound the dog.
- Those who violate this section are guilty of a second degree misdemeanor (subject to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines). A subsequent violation will be a first degree misdemeanor (subject to six (6) months in jail and $1,000.00 in fines).
- Any vicious dog which attacks a human being or another domestic animal may be ordered destroyed if the court feels the dog represents a continuing threat.
- Section 505.091 (Vicious Dogs) of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Cleveland Heights will be strictly enforced. Strict criminal liability is contemplated.
Bicycles & Skateboards
The City requires licenses and registration for all bicycles operated within the city. Cyclists can buy their permits at the Treasury Window on the entry level of City Hall. They need to supply the color, make and model/serial number of the bike. The registration fee may be waived by the City if, at the time of registration, the applicant offers a satisfactory proof of ownership of a bicycle helmet and signs a pledge agreeing to wear the helmet at all times when riding the registered bike. Bikers should, of course, follow traffic safety rules. Bicycles and skateboards should not be ridden on sidewalks in areas that have posted signs prohibiting it. Skateboarders and rollerbladers can use the Skate Park in Cain Park.
Parents and guardians shoulder the responsibility for enforcing curfew violations. All persons charged with curfew violations will be referred to Juvenile Court.
- Children under 12 cannot be out on public streets, highways, sidewalks, public parks or public grounds from the onset of darkness until 6 a.m.
- Young people 12 or older, but under 16 years of age, cannot be out on public streets, highways, sidewalks, public parks or public grounds from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- No one 16 years of age or older, but under 18 years of age, can be out between 12 midnight and 6 a.m.
Exceptions to these rules are when:
- children and teens are accompanied by parents, guardians, or members of the family who are 18 years or older;
- they are on errands or other legitimate business under the parents' direction; or
- they are engaged in gainful and lawful employment during curfew hours.
In addition, no unsupervised persons under the age of 18 may be on public streets in the Coventry business district, the Cedar Lee business district and Severance Town Center between the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Those who sell door-to-door must first apply in person for a license from the City Manager's Office. Persons who volunteer to solicit on behalf of and for any public, religious, educational, civic or charitable organization are exempt from obtaining a license. No person, whether licensed or not, shall engage in any profit or nonprofit solicitation before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m., or on Sundays or any legal holiday. Peddlers or solicitors are prohibited from knocking at the door or ringing the doorbell when a sign is posted at the home's entrance which reads 'No Peddlers or Solicitors Allowed'.
A permit is required for estate sales or liquidation of household property conducted by a liquidator. The permit may be obtained from Community Relations, upper level of City Hall. For more information, contact Community Relations at 216-291-2323 or email.
For a complete list of Codified Ordinances, click here.
No one is permitted to have fireworks for sale within the city, nor is it legal to discharge, ignite, or explode any fireworks. Fireworks-display permits for fairs or other celebrations may be obtained from the Fire Chief and Police Chief.
Garage sales are popular in the community, and although no permit is required, there are some regulations (Ordinance No. 168-2008 Section 1165.021) to follow:
- Items offered for sale should not be displayed in the front of the property.
- No more than two garage or yard sales per calendar year may be conducted ay any one property.
- Each garage or yard sale may run for no more more than three consecutive calendar days.
- Hours for such sales shall be no earlier than 8 a.m. and no later than 6 p.m.
- Garage and yard sales must be conducted by the owner(s) of the personal items to be sold.
Grass & Weed Removal
Most Cleveland Heights residents pride themselves on their lovely lawns; when someone neglects their yard or lot, it is unfair to neighbors. Grass and weeds should not be allowed to grow higher than six inches, or be allowed to go to seed and spread pollen, which may be harmful to human health. If this happens, the owner, occupant or manager of any lot or parcel in the city may be given two days' written or oral notice to cut or destroy grass or weeds higher than six inches. If there is no compliance, the City Manager is authorized to have the grass cut at the owner's expense. The cost for grass and weed removal will be a $200 minimum charge.
Nothing can be displayed on the exterior to indicate that the home is being used for any purpose other than residential. No merchandise can be manufactured or processed for sale, bought, sold, exchanged or traded in or on the premises. Home occupations involving individual works of art are permitted, however, provided it meets all other criteria stipulated in the ordinance. No mechanical, electrical or chemical equipment may be used except such as causes no disturbances beyond the premises where the home business is located. Home-based businesses are permitted to have one employee who is not a resident of the home where the business is based. No motor vehicles can bring customers to the place of the home business other than for the period from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. All such vehicles need to be parked on private property.
Home Improvement/New Construction
For all structures, the plans submission, procedure and approval, permit issuance, fees and conditions, enforcement, inspections and appeals shall be as provided for in the Regional Dwelling House code and City ordinances. A complete copy of the Regional Dwelling House code is on file with the Clerk of Council's Office (216-291-3925), and the Cuyahoga County Library. There will be no excavation, grading or paving on any property, or construction, alteration, repair, moving or demolishing any building without first obtaining a building permit from the Building Commissioner. A separate permit shall be obtained for paving, electrical work, plumbing work, heating, air conditioning, appliance and all equipment installations. Construction work needs to occur only on weekdays and Saturdays, other than legal holidays, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Jogging, Walking & Playing in the Street
For safety's sake, where a sidewalk is provided, no pedestrian shall walk in the street. If a sidewalk is unavailable, pedestrians should walk close to the curb on the left side of the road. Joggers, runners, and walkers are a common sight in Cleveland Heights, and they, too, need to remember to run/walk as close as they can to the edge of the road on the left side only. At night, they should wear reflective clothing. Pedestrians also shall not cross the street at any place, except at a marked crosswalk. At no time should children or adults play in the street.
For a complete list of Codified Ordinances, click here.
In the interest of not disturbing the peace of neighbors, residents should remember not to operate any lawn mower within 300 feet of any dwelling before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. It is also not permitted to make unreasonably loud or disturbing noise (by voice, musical instrument, amplification, television, etc.) of such intensity as to disturb the neighbors. This constitutes disorderly conduct when the sound is plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the building, structure or vehicle from where it is emanating between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.; or at a distance of 100 feet between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. If the Police are called to a property on a noise complaint, they can issue a citation.
Parking is not allowed on Cleveland Heights streets between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. If you have an overnight visitor, or have just paved or sealed your driveway, and must park in the street, call the Police Department non-emergency number (216-321-1234) and ask for the officer-in-charge. A motor vehicle cannot be parked in a landscaped front, side or rear yard. Residents with pick-up trucks, vans or panel trucks must park them in a garage with the garage doors closed. Those residents who park their vehicles in the City's municipal lots must purchase a permit that is available at City Hall.
Paint Removal Ordinance
A permit must be obtained from the Building Commissioner for removal of paint, stain or similar coatings from the exterior surface of a home by any means other than hand scraping. Permit fees are $20 for 5,000 square feet or less and $40 for over 5,000 square feet. A permit is not necessary for cleaning operations, such as high pressure cleaning; however, a mesh fabric that allows water to drain yet captures paint chips needs to cover the premises. In the process of renovating, remodeling or painting our homes, we may inadvertently increase the lead content in our home environments, which can be hazardous to our health. Virtually all paints manufactured prior to 1978 contained lead in amounts ranging up to 50% of their total content. Since most of Cleveland Heights' housing stock was built prior to 1970, an ordinance has been put into effect regulating paint removal from home exteriors. A complete copy of the ordinance may be obtained from the Building Department at City Hall (291-4900). The following paint removal methods are prohibited:
- Open Flame Burning (Although heating element guns are permitted to loosen old paint.)
- Abrasive Blasting and Power Sanding (Exceptions: the use of sanders to 'feather edges' of remaining paint once a surface has been scraped; "vacuum blasting" with proper filtration; and abrasive blasting of non-lead-containing surfaces as established by an independent lab test.)
The ordinance also requires the use of tarping to capture all removed paint, even when hand scraping, and the closing of openings through which dust might enter the home. No such operation shall take place outside the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., nor during rains, snowfalls or when wind speed exceed 20 miles per hour.
For a complete list of Codified Ordinances, click here.
Satellite dishes up to a meter in diameter are not subject to local regulations, but the City recommends not locating the dish in the front or side yard of any house or building or on the roof. Recommended location for satellite dishes up to a meter in size is in the rear yard, as long as they are well anchored and screened or landscaped, so as not to interfere with the neighbors' enjoyment of their own property. A conditional use permit is required for any dish larger than a meter before it can be installed.
Temporary signs can be displayed to express an opinion on an election, political issue or other subject; to notify the public of the availability of the premises for sale or viewing ('For Sale' or 'Open House'); and to notify the public of the location of a residential personal property sale ('garage' sale-see Garage & Estate Sales for sign specifics). One 'For Sale' sign is allowed and it can be displayed only on the premises which are for sale. In addition to the one 'For Sale' sign, one 'Garage Sale' and one 'Open House' sign may be displayed at the same premises. Signs are permitted inside windows, inside the glass portion of doors, and/or in yards. Yard signs must be supported by a solid structure, firmly anchored into the ground; hanging signs are not permitted. All yard signs must be placed parallel to the street adjoining the yard upon which they are placed and must be set back at least 20 feet from the nearest edge of the sidewalk.
All temporary signs must be removed or replaced within 45 days. Any temporary sign related to a specific event (primary, general or special election, sporting event, sale of house, etc.) shall be removed within five business days after the event has concluded. 'Open House' signs can be displayed only during the times the premises are actually open to the public for viewing. Regarding the removal of a 'For Sale' sign, the sale of a property is considered to be 'concluded' when the title transfers or when the property is withdrawn from the market, whichever comes first. Religious and other holiday lights and decorations containing no commercial message are exempt from the above regulations and shall be permitted during the appropriate time of year.
In addition, a brief statement relating to the physical safety and security of the occupants, such as 'Block Watch,' 'Beware of Dog,' or 'Protected by Electronic Security System,' may constitute one sign that is no larger than 175 square inches in area and positioned on the inside of a window, on the glass portion of a door, or in the front yard of a dwelling. No security sign that is placed within the front yard of a dwelling shall have heights, including the supporting stake or pole that exceeds three feet. Another sign of not more than 16 inches in area relating to the physical safety and security of the occupants can additionally be placed on the inside of a window or the glass portion of a door.
Every dwelling unit shall have one approved smoke detector installed outside each sleeping area, in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms, and an additional detector on each additional story of the family living unit, including basements and finished attics, but excluding unfinished attics and crawl spaces. In split-level homes, the installation of a smoke detector on an upper level is sufficient for next adjoining lower level unless there is a door between those levels in which case a smoke detector needs to be installed on each level. The Fire Department recommends U.L. or F.M. approved models.
For safety's sake, residents and merchants should keep their walks free of snow, ice, and debris.
Certain trees-poplar, box elder, basswood or willow-are considered a public nuisance and will not be planted on any tree lawns. If any of these trees are found growing on private property close enough to a public place to be invasive, the owner of the private property will be notified in writing to remove the tree at his/her expense.
A permit is required in order to plant, prune or remove a tree on public property. If you want a tree planted on your tree lawn, call Forestry at 216-691-7300.
All trees standing on private property and having branches projecting into public streets or other public places must be trimmed by the owner or occupant so that the lowest branches of such trees will not come within nine feet of the ground where they overhang any public property or driveway. When the City deems any tree located on private property has become diseased and threatens to infect trees standing in any public place, or when a tree on private property is apt to fall in whole or in part across any public or private property because of decay or other condition, the owner or occupant of the private property will be ordered, in writing, to spray or otherwise treat the tree or to remove it. If the order is not complied with, the City is authorized to enter the private property and to spray or otherwise treat or remove the tree or infected/dangerous parts at the expense of the owner.
For a complete list of Codified Ordinances, click here.