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Judge Rules on Objections in Wells Sherman House Case

Request for oral hearing in case is denied

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 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.

Salty Lady February 04, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Big props to Kent State University for not "playing the clock" like the Standing Rock folks expected them to. All their reactive work in trying to control a property that they don't even own is proving to be in vain and a former judge should know this. This is a huge victory for the friends of the Wells-Sherman House and for property owners.
Kentguy February 04, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Maybe you missed that part of the article? "The SRCA board voted not to join the save the garden group and is not a party in the lawsuit."
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! February 04, 2013 at 08:18 PM
You just made up this name and are "new" to patch and this is your first and only post. So many names seem to pop up only to make arrogant comments and talk down about anyone who sees more value in land than an old house. Salty Lady seems to be another of those names. Sally?
Balertwine February 05, 2013 at 07:35 AM
Salty Lady seems to incessantly cling to the rude assertion that non-owners have no right to speak out about how land in the city will be used. Ever hear of zoning laws? Of course you have. Guess who created those laws? Non-owner citizens of Kent. Does the house's proposed location meet the requirements of the law? No. That's why KWSH had to get a variance approved for a residential house to be placed on a commercially-zoned piece of property. That's why KWSH had to get a variance approved since the proposed placement of the house is not as close to the sidewalk as the zoning laws require. Why Salty on the one hand thinks everyone should shut up about her pet project that steps on a lot of toes in Kent, while she herself as a non-owner objected to her landlord selling her apartment building to a neighboring business, is the ultimate in facetiousness. There's a headline Patch article waiting to be written on that one. It's high time for Salty to recognize there's a legitimate legal process underway, that the law should be applied equally to everyone, and that a victory created out of secret ARB meetings and corrupted Planning Commission procedures is a hollow victory that brings only disgrace, dishonor, and shame to KWSH and local city government.
Dr. Anarchy Clown PHD February 05, 2013 at 09:33 AM
you go girl!
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! February 05, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Also, Salty, when you're at the gas station, for the sake of everyone who doesn't want to blow up, DON'T GO BACK IN YOUR CAR WHILE YOU'RE FILLING YOUR TANK. Static electricity is real. I saw you. You didn't even do the one thing they require if you're silly enough to get in your car while it's filling. It states that you are to exit the car and touch, with your bare hand, a part of the body away from where you're filling. It's to discharge the static that could have built up as you disobeyed the rules and got back in your car. Thanks!!
David Badagnani February 06, 2013 at 05:56 AM
So this means the City of Kent really is exempt from the State of Ohio's Sunshine Law?
Traci Monroe February 06, 2013 at 12:00 PM
NO!! They didn't do anything wrong!!

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