Myers home injunction decision expected in Feb./ Center Street Historical District Association seeks court ruling to prevent demolition of house
January 17, 2007
By DARCIE LORENO
T-G Staff Writer
A decision should be made by early next month on a preliminary injunction that would prevent the demolition of the A.N. Myers home until the dispute between the Center Street Historical District Association and the Ashland County Historical Society is heard in court.
After the testimony of four association members Tuesday, acting Wayne County Judge Mark Wiest said a previously issued temporary restraining order regarding the home would remain in effect.
The motion for the preliminary injunction was made last month along with a complaint filed by the association and a group of six Center Street residents against the society and the city of Ashland.
The society in July 2006 had applied to the city?s Historic Preservation Board for demolition of the structure as a more financially feasible option than renovation it estimated at upwards of $1 million, and was denied. The board was created last year by City Council.
The complaint asks for a demolition permit issued in October by the city to be declared illegal and for a permanent injunction barring the society from ever demolishing the home. A restraining order was granted in December when siding was removed from the home.
At Tuesday?s hearing, Center Street residents Chris Buchanan, former preservation board member; Rodney Mohr, association president; Kyle Von Kamp, association secretary; and city councilwoman Ruth Detrow testified on behalf of the association.
Some of the questioning referred to an $85,000 bid the association made for the home last year. The society in 1998 purchased the home for $186,000. In response to the bid, it offered to sell the home to the association for $1, with the condition it must be moved.
Detrow told the society?s attorney, Ronald Forsthoefel, the bid amount was based on an estimate compiled by a certified appraiser. She was present during the association?s formal vote on that bid amount.
There also was discussion of the cancellation of the association?s corporate charter with the state in 2002. Detrow and Mohr said they did not know until last year the cancellation had occurred. Mohr said the organization had carried out the same activities and has reapplied.
All four agreed demolition of the home would impact the value of their homes.
Buchanan, who was involved in the establishment of Mansfield?s Carousel District and a member of the preservation board during the application denial, said he?d been asked by the society to walk through the house before it was purchased and again last summer.
The first time, he told association attorney John Good, there were no major issues with the home though it had problems regarding maintenance and mechanical issues, ?typical things Center Street? residents deal with. He told the society it could be restored.
Used for rental apartments and doctor?s offices through the years, the space, Buchanan said, was emptied but he didn?t see further major deterioration last summer. As far as a figure for renovation, he said, he couldn?t say accurately without a study.
Mohr answered many questions regarding his own home, which was moved within the district in 2002 after it was given to he and his wife by the Good Shepherd Home. He said his home required much more work ? including a new foundation and complete rewiring ? than the A.N. Myers home would.
It cost him $400,000 to $500,000 to purchase his lot, relocate the home and fix up the house, he said. The external condition of his home before compared to the A.N. Myers home now is ?pretty much the same,? he said.
He agreed there aren?t many empty properties on the street available for building, including near the society. He agreed that building codes for public buildings are more stringent than for residential buildings. While it cost him $30,000 to move his home, he said it would cost $20,000 per traffic light to move the A.N. Myers home.