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Published: Friday, 10/24/2003

Deal clears way for voters to get Lathrop House data

Residents of Sylvania will receive information that explains the concerns on both sides of the Nov. 4 ballot initiative on the controversial Lathrop House eminent domain issue.

Attorneys yesterday settled a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to stop the city from spending $15,000 on literature about the ballot initiative, which is Issue 16.

The taxpayer action was filed by Sylvania residents Joseph and Pamela Thacker against the city in response to an ordinance that had been approved at Monday's council meeting to spend the money to inform and educate the citizens about the ballot initiative.

Opie Rollison, an attorney for the Thackers, said the publication will contain information from those who are advocating passage of the initiative as well as those who are opposed.

A yes vote on the issue will halt the city's use of eminent domain to obtain the historic Lathrop House and its grounds from the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.

The house is believed to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.

It was bought two years ago by the diocese for expansion of St. Joseph Catholic Church, which is across Main Street from the house.

The settlement cancels a hearing that was scheduled for today by Judge Ronald Bowman to consider a preliminary injunction in the case.

James Moan, Sylvania law director, issued a statement on behalf of the city.

“From the first reading of our ordinance four weeks ago, we have stated that our desire is to inform the citizens of the very important facts necessary to make an informed decision on the Lathrop House property.

“We feel it will be money well spent and are pleased that the lawsuit for the temporary restraining order preventing us from publishing material was settled,” the statement said.

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