Fairborn OKs paying former city council candidate $200K in business dispute

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

Fairborn has voted to settle a zoning dispute with a former city council candidate in a deal that includes the city giving him at least $200,000 for his land.

Fairborn has agreed to pay James Baker that sum to uphold the pact stemming from the city denying his automotive detailing business an occupancy permit after approving a temporary one at 519 W. Main St.

Baker, a retired Dayton police officer, finished fifth in a five-way race for three seats on city council last month, according to Greene County Board of Elections results.

Fairborn’s denial of the occupancy permit prompted Baker to seek a ruling from the city’s board of zoning appeals, Fairborn records show. Baker’s action initiated settlement negotiations by the city to “avoid prolonged appeals, litigation, and presumably, additional lawsuits,” documents state.

The deal is contingent on both sides abiding by its guidelines, which could take several months to complete.

The agreement includes a section that states both sides “agree that neither they nor their attorneys or representatives shall reveal to anyone, other than as may be mutually agreed to in writing, any of the terms in this agreement or any of the amounts or terms and conditions of any sums payable to Baker.”

Fairborn City Solicitor Mike McNamee declined to comment on the issue, citing potential litigation. Messages left with Baker and his attorneys listed in the agreement were not immediately returned.

Either party breaching this part of the deal would owe the other $20,000, the document states.

The Dayton Daily News has requested a copy of Baker’s submission to the zoning appeals board.

The settlement agreement is a “compromise of a disputed claim” and “will not be deemed as admission of liability or wrongdoing … by the parties,” the document states.

The agreement, signed by Baker Nov. 13 and approved unanimously by city council a week later, includes:

• The city paying Baker $125,000 for the West Main Street land within 30 days of closing.

• The city paying Baker $75,000 within 30 days of completing an approved environmental assessment on that site.

• The city not seeking repayment of American Rescue Plan Act funds the city awarded Baker while he operated his business at 145 N. Broad St. due to conflicting views by both sides.

• The city making ARPA plans available to Baker if he wanted to relocate his business in Fairborn as long as he meets funding and application requirements.

Aside from city council passage, the deal is contingent upon the following, according to the document:

• Within 60 days of the deal’s approval, the city will hire a professional environmental consultant to perform the first phase of an inspection. If the consultant recommends further inspection, Fairborn may fund a second phase.

• If Phase II finds contamination or recommends remedial action, the city can — within the specified period — notify Baker in writing that the agreement is terminated.

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