A Portage County judge has ruled that the court case over the relocation of a historic Kent house should not be reopened for further oral arguments.
Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow issued a ruling in the ongoing court case between two groups, the Kent Wells Sherman House, Inc., and Save the Standing Rock Garden, over the relocation of the Kent Wells Sherman House to the lot at 247 N. Water St.
Enlow's ruling was issued in response to an objection to an earlier ruling in the case by Portage County Magistrate Kent Graham. The objection to Graham's ruling had been filed by Kent attorney John Plough on behalf of Save the Standing Rock Garden.
Plough had argued in his objection, filed in December, that Graham had erred in his ruling to deny a preliminary injunction request that would have stopped the relocation of the house to the lot. Plough also asked the court for an oral hearing to present further information.
Enlow's order, issued Jan. 24, affirmed the magistrate's decision to deny the preliminary injunction request.
"In reviewing the plaintiff's objections the court concludes that the magistrate has properly determined the factual issues and appropriately applied the law," Enlow wrote.
The Kent Wells Sherman House group bought the lot in 2012, but it had been used — though not owned — by neighboring arts group Standing Rock Cultural Arts. The SRCA board voted not to join the save the garden group and is not a party in the lawsuit.
In his order, Enlow suggested a final ruling in the case could be forthcoming.
"The court finds there is no error of law or defect on the face of the magistrate decision," Enlow wrote. "The court further finds that the magistrate decision contains sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law to allow the court to make an independent analysis of the issues and apply the appropriate rulings of law in coming to the final decision and judgment entry in this matter."
The lawsuit has been ongoing since Plough first filed the injunction request in November.
For now, the house remains in its temporary spot at the dead end of East College Avenue, on land owned by Kent State University, where it was moved in August. It was moved to stave off demolition so construction could start on the Esplanade expansion.
The house sat there under threat of a Dec. 1, 2012, demolition date if it were not moved from that temporary location.
But university officials have said they will not make a decision on razing the house until the court case has concluded and, instead, prefer to aid in its relocation to a permanent site.
City building officials have yet to issue permits allowing construction of a foundation or other elements necessary to move the house to the lot.