Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Decision to wreck Brenda's appealed

The Lucas County commissioners will have to play ball with Toledo City Council if they want to demolish the former Brenda's Body Shop by the April 9 home opener at Fifth Third Field.

Local activist Rick VanLandingham III, on behalf of a group of seven others, appealed yesterday the Toledo Plan Commission's approval of a demolition permit for the building at 523 Monroe St.

Council has 45 days to hold a hearing on whether the permit was granted properly.

The appeal may kill plans the commissioners had to get the building torn down by the Toledo Mud Hens' first game at the new, $39 million stadium.

The most council could do is delay the demolition until June 20, which is six months after the county initially filed for the permit, said Mike Beazley, clerk of council. He said council's zoning and planning committee is scheduled to hear the case April 17, but a hearing may be conducted before that date.

Sandy Isenberg, president of the commissioners, said she hopes council considers the matter as soon as possible because she still would like the building taken down before the season starts.

Ms. Isenberg said the building is a danger to the public in its condition. The city's building inspection office has determined the building is structurally unsound and ordered the county to either tear it down or repair it.

“I really expected no less from Rick and these other folks who think this has historical value when it has absolutely no historical value,” Ms. Isenberg said.

Mr. VanLandingham, a candidate for the District 4 council seat, said he thinks the building should be redeveloped along with the one next to it at 519 Monroe.

The county has a tentative deal to sell for $10,000 the 519 building to Myron Stewart, owner of the Toledo Journal, who wants to move his weekly publication there and open a national ribs franchise.

Mr. VanLandingham said he thinks it's possible to find a developer for the building that used to house Brenda's, which was a topless bar.

He said he hopes the appeal provides time for a developer to come forward.

“The Warehouse District in some ways took a hit and in some ways got a boost from the stadium. But 11 buildings came down to make room for it,” he said. “I didn't oppose that because we recognized the value of the investment made by the county.”

The county claims it paid $20,000 on local and national advertising trying to find someone who would develop the building and establish a business that's a good fit for the area around the ballpark.

Mr. VanLandingham contends in his appeal that the county didn't follow proper procedures for applying for the permit. If that's the case, he said the county would have to start the process anew, which would delay the demolition for another six months.

Commissioner Harry Barlos said the issue has been debated enough. He said the building is unsafe and detracts from the stadium.

“We're not talking about demolishing the courthouse,” Mr. Barlos said.

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