While University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan told city council June 21 the Aleksander Shul will no longer operate as a synagogue at 4380 University Parkway as of July 29, a lawyer for the congregation cast doubt on Brennan’s words.
“It is not a foregone conclusion as the mayor seemed to want to indicate at the meeting the other night,” Dale H. Markowitz of Thrasher Dinsmore & Dolan in Chardon told the Cleveland Jewish News June 24. “I did watch the YouTube of his speech, and his indication that this property can never be used for a shul is just not in accordance with either their ordinances or federal law. So there’s a lot more to talk about in this case before we get to July 29, and we’ll talk to the city and see what we can work out.”
Markowitz said Aleksander Shul has submitted architectural drawings to the University Heights architectural review board and intends to present them at a July 15 meeting.
“…Come July 29, 2021, this temporary new home cannot be where it is now, nor can it be in another residential property zoned U-1 on a residential side street,” Brennan said at the June 21 council meeting. “Otherwise, on July 29, 2021, the city will seek a preliminary and then permanent injunction to shut down operations at 4380 University Parkway, as it did at 4464 Churchill Boulevard at the request of the residents of that street earlier this year.
“I am saying this publicly, and on the record, so that there is no question as to where the city stands on the enforcement of its laws, or on its position in this matter. Come July 29, 2021, 4380 University Parkway may be a residence and nothing more,” Brennan said.
Brennan said the residence at the corner of Milton Road and University Parkway does not meet code to operate as a synagogue. He said neighbors have complained about parking and that the building can be used for services on Shabbos until July 29.
On June 7, University Heights sued the owner of the building, University Realty USA LLC, the Aleksander Shul, Rabbi Schneur Zalman Danziger, aka Schneur Zalman Dancyger, aka Shnior Dencyger seeking a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction to stop the Aleksander Shul from operating.
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Magistrate Stephen A. Bucha III wrote on June 17 that the parties had come to an agreement regarding the temporary restraining order and would submit that agreement to the court.
University Realty USA LLC of Brooklyn, N.Y., pleaded no contest May 12 in Shaker Heights Housing Court regarding housing violations dating to 2019. Sentencing, scheduled for June 23, was postponed by the judge.
A city spokesman told the CJN June 24, Brennan had nothing to add at that time.