City Council hears public comments on Tavern Building, street closure


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — After declining to hear public comments at a previous meeting, members of the Troy City Council heard a number of opinions regarding council’s rejection of a donation offer of the Tavern Building located on West Main Street during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Monday, July 3.

“We need the city of Troy and Miami County to create a repair option for this building,” Ben Sutherly of the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance (THPA) said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “If the end goal here is to address public safety, creating a repair option for this building is the fastest way to get the streets and sidewalk re-opened, and it will ensure that the city doesn’t throw more good taxpayer money after bad.“

“Even after Troy City Council rejected a donation of the building, Troy Community Works is actively exploring the possibility of being a part of the solution,” he said. “It is likely the fastest way to get West Main Street open, and it is also the least expensive option for the city.”

“Necessary repairs to the building could be made in a matter of weeks,” Sutherly said. “Otherwise, the current legal debacle could drag on for months.”

Council members also heard comments from Dawna Elko, who said she was involved as the listing agent during the building’s sale.

“The idea that there was no interest in this building is absolutely ridiculous,” Elko said. “For a building to be sold, you have to be allowed in it. No one’s been allowed in this building for three years, and it’s been listed as under contract.”

“The idea that’s been proposed that this building doesn’t have any life left in it and nobody wants it is a lie,” she said.

“It’s time for the people of Troy to voice our opinion,” Troy resident Jody Snyder said. “Judge Wall made an impartial judgement to obtain an independent assessment, the very job that we elected her to do for us.”

“I would like to know, on what information was the building deemed so unsafe,” Snyder said. “Just three weeks prior to that, we had tens of thousands of people in downtown Troy walking around, behind and throughout that space.”

Council members also heard comments from the owner of a local business located near the Tavern Building.

“June 22, the last of the major sidewalk construction was completed and Ivy Court Troy celebrated its second anniversary,” Ivy Court owner Courtney Hart said. “That Saturday of the celebration, June 24 at 2 p.m. without any notice, city trucks, barricades and police officers arrived in front of our shop and closed West Main Street. We were told the road was closed indefinitely because of the safety of the Tavern Building across the street.”

“There was no communication from the city to any of the businesses on our block,” she said. “To this day, there has been a severe lack of communication leaving us with questions.”

“On behalf of all the downtown Troy businesses, we are requesting clear and consistent communication regarding the street closure on West Main Street, so that we may continue to plan and conduct our business,” she said.

Other residents spoke in support of the building owner’s attempts to demolish the building.

“There’s been no interest brought out until it was too late,” Troy resident Derek Potts said. “I appreciate what they are trying to do, and I appreciate preserving history, but I think its naïve to think that we can preserve absolutely everything.”

“There are times where we have to just start fresh, and sometimes that’s necessary,” Potts said.

Other residents questioned the timing of the city’s decision to close the street and sidewalk near the building, following a recent decision issued by Judge Stacy M. Wall.

“This is a tit-for-tat retaliation game, in my opinion,” Brad Behringer said. “You waited until the decision was issued, and because you didn’t get the decision you wanted, you shut down the street.”

On Wednesday, July 5, the city of Troy announced that updates on the street closure will now be posted weekly through the city’s Facebook page on Wednesdays.

“There’s a lot of mis-information that’s out there,” Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington said during Monday’s council meeting.

“June 16 was the day that really changed the status of the Tavern Building,” he said, referring to the day that Troy Fire Chief Matthew Simmons and Miami County Chief Building Official Rob England conducted on-site inspections of the Tavern Building’s condition. “At that time, we were under the old inspection from months ago; we had no reason to believe that there was anything dire with this building.”

“Our Chief Building Official, our Fire Chief, his two assistant chiefs, as well as the county’s contracted structural engineer, who advises the chief building official, went through that building; they went through the entire building, went up in the attic into places that apparently nobody had gone into before,” Titterington said. “That same afternoon the county prosecutor, on behalf of the CBO filed a motion with Judge Wall to order the property owner to resolve the issue by demolishing the building.”

“On Saturday, late in the morning is when we decided that we really need to do something,” he said of the decision to eventually close the street and sidewalk. “We weren’t sure exactly how quickly we could do it.”

“As soon as we could communicate, we communicated with what we knew when we knew it,” he said. “There was a lot going on. We issued a press release at the very same time, as quickly as possible, that also included all of our social media outlets.”

“There is still a lot of uncertainty,” Titterington said. “The question has been asked when are we going to open this. That’s not a decision that we can make; we will be able to remove those fences at the time that the CBO and the structural engineer say that it is safe to do so.”

In other business at Monday’s meeting, council members also held public hearings for an ordinance to change the zoning of two properties located at 1511 and 1551 South Market Street from M-2, light industrial district, to B-2, general business district, and a resolution adopting the city’s budget for fiscal year 2024. Adoption of the 2024 budget was approved later in the meeting; the zoning ordinance will be held over for a third reading at council’s next meeting.

Council members also approved an ordinance accepting the final record plan of Troy Storage Inns of America, and an ordinance changing the zoning of 58.093 acres located at 3054 W. state Route 55 from county zoning of A-2, general agriculture, to city zoning of AR, agriculture residential.

Council members also approved agreements with Can’t Stop Running Co and Troy Main Street for the Tour De Donut and Donut Jam events in downtown Troy on Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26, and authorized seeking bids for the police department fluid cooler and pump replacement project, at a cost not to exceed $250,000.

Council members also approved the re-appointment of Cindy Wenger to the Troy Beautification Committee. Council adjourned their meeting to enter an executive session to confer with legal council regarding disputes that are the subject of pending or imminent court action.

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