City reaches agreement with Tavern Building owner


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — The city of Troy has reached a new agreement with the owner of the Tavern Building located on West Main Street regarding repairs to the storm-damaged structure.

“Law Director Grant Kerber was able to secure the property owner’s agreement to comply with the city’s demands to replace the windows, repair the roof, and secure the parapet and bricks on the Oddfellows/Tavern Building façade,” a press release issued by the city of Troy on Tuesday, April 18, said. “Terms and conditions of the agreement are being finalized, but the agreement will enable the city’s West Main Street project contractor to gain access to the street and sidewalk in front of the building within the next month, keeping the project on schedule.”

Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Stacy M. Wall also issued an agreed preliminary injunction order regarding the Tavern Building following a hearing held on Tuesday, April 18, ordering tarp repairs to exposed areas of the building’s roof, and replacement of three windows that were removed from the south, east and west walls of the building.

Wall also ordered that the building’s owner is “restrained from demolishing, razing, or otherwise removing” any part of the structure unless otherwise directed by the court.

“The parties understand and agree to continue to work towards a resolution to open the sidewalk and street to allow for the continued city of Troy street construction project,” the agreed preliminary injunction order states. “If there is no resolution on the issue, a preliminary injunction hearing will be scheduled on the issues related to the parapet wall and the opening of the sidewalk and street.”

“The situation changed significantly after our structural engineer confirmed that the building is in better condition than originally thought,” Troy Mayor Robin Oda said in the city’s press release. “After reviewing his analysis, Miami County rescinded their mitigation order, which took away the property owner’s only excuse for illegally attempting to demolish the building. We look forward to getting our West Main Street project back on track.”

Attorneys representing Tavern Building owner Randy Kimmel also issued a statement after Tuesday’s hearing.

“In this afternoon’s hearing in the Miami County Court of Common Pleas, the parties discussed an agreed order which resulted from the March 27 emergency adjudication order which was rescinded on Monday, April 17,” Attorney Jamie Greer said. “The two reports that formed the basis for the cancellation of the prior adjudication order did not address the recent March storm damage. In fact, the information provided through the two reports completely ignored the fact that the southeast corner of the court house portion of the building was damaged by the March 25 wind storm.”

“Clearly, neither of these engineers performed a comprehensive inspection of the building,” Greer said.

“Public safety is as much a concern now as it was at the time the March 27 order was issued,” the statement said. “Public safety should be the primary concern of the city and county. The only safe alternative for this building is demolition.”

“Miami County officials rescinded the order at the insistence of the city less than 24 hours before Judge Wall was set to hear arguments concerning the order based on the incomplete and limited reports prepared by the Plaintiffs’ engineers after their brief walk-through of the building,” Greer said. “Neither engineer took measurements, and neither engineer has previously dealt with emergency adjudication orders.”

The Tavern Building was damaged by tornadoes in 2020, and later approved for demolition by members of the Troy Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. An appeal of that decision filed by the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance and neighboring property owners blocked the planned demolition, and was affirmed by the Ohio Second District Court of appeals in a decision issued on Friday, March 24.

The city of Troy delivered orders to repair the Tavern Building in July of 2021, and again on Nov. 3, 2022. The building’s owner, Randy Kimmel, was granted an extension for the repair orders until March 9. Some of the ordered repairs to the building were completed in December of 2022.

The deadline for completing the repairs ordered by the city passed on March 10, and on March 15 the city of Troy filed misdemeanor charges against Kimmel for “maintaining structures in a state of disrepair.”

Miami County Chief Building Official Rob England issued an adjudication order on March 27, declaring the Tavern Building an unsafe building/serious hazard and requiring abatement of the hazardous conditions within 14 days. That adjudication order was later rescinded.

Workers from Bruns Contracting began demolition of part of the Tavern Building on Wednesday, March 29. Demolition work was halted later that morning by the injunction order issued by Wall.

“Demolition began in the early morning of Wednesday, March 29, because it was the only safe and lawful way to begin demolition without interfering with traffic and the neighboring properties,” Greer’s statement said. “The early start time allowed the demolition crew to unload equipment and appropriately manage debris without blocking the alley for those heading to work later that morning. Moreover, to demolish the structure safely; a staging area in the rear of the building is necessary to protect the neighbors and streetscape from debris and properly dispose of non-salvageable debris. It is estimated that the entire demolition would take approximately two weeks to complete.”

“It is our sincere hope that public safety will begin to be the focus of the city of Troy and Miami County officials’ evaluation of this issue,” Greer said.

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