Engineer’s report won’t end Troy Tavern battle; court dates set into November

Main Street still closed in front of damaged building; proceedings continue in county court, appeals court and city zoning board

TROY — Lawyers for the parties in the Tavern building dispute on Main Street downtown talked about the next legal steps Friday, indicating the dispute will continue in coming months, rather than reaching a quick conclusion.

Judge Stacy Wall talked with lawyers in her courtroom for more than an hour, setting deadlines for the filing of arguments on a number of legal issues in litigation over the buildings at 112-118 W. Main St.

Friday’s status conference was scheduled by Wall after the court received a report Sept. 11 by Daniel Geers. He is a structural engineer from Dublin appointed by the court to examine the buildings after the court received conflicting reports on their structural health from engineers hired by parties in the case.

The Geers report and what will happen next as a result of its filing was not discussed during Friday’s conference. The report did not include an opinion on if the buildings pose a hazard. It stated that the condition of the buildings built between the 1840s and early 1900s had been worsened over time by failure to make repairs and that economically they had “reached the end of their useful service life. If funds were not a concern, they could be restored to their original condition, but this is likely economically unfeasible given the extent of the various deteriorations.”

The buildings were damaged in a January tornado 2020 tornado that struck downtown and again by a storm this spring when a portion of the roof was torn off. The sidewalk and parking in front of the building have been closed since 2020 because of bricks that fell during the storm.

The block where the building is located between Plum and Cherry streets was closed by the city in late June after Wall declined to order building removal — following findings by Rob England, county chief building official, and Matthew Simmons, Troy fire chief, that the structure was unsafe and dangerous, posing a public hazard.

An appeal of the findings by Simmons and England that the building was unsafe was filed with the city of Troy Board of Zoning Appeals by neighboring building owners Cheryl Cheadle and Evil Empire LLC. At a Tuesday, Sept. 19, meeting, the board voted 4-1 to dismiss the appeal, saying it did not have jurisdiction to hear the issue. An appeal of that decision is anticipated.

Appeals in the Tavern dispute also have been filed with the 2nd District Court of Appeals. Lawyers mentioned deadlines for filing arguments in that court along with the deadlines for the issues pending locally.

Another status conference has been scheduled by Wall for Nov. 13. Lawyers at the hearing represented the city of Troy, building owner 116 West Main/Randy Kimmel, Miami County and Evil Empire/Cheryl Cheadle (the adjacent building owners).

During Friday’s discussions, an attorney for 116 West Main told the judge while lawyers were setting deadlines that the building owner preferred “a faster track” where possible because there is a “public safety issue” involved.

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