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Published: Thursday, 5/21/2009

Court says no to 3 Tiffin people in courthouse suit

TIFFIN Three downtown property owners lost their bid to intervene in a lawsuit filed by Seneca County commissioners against the city of Tiffin over demolition plans for the county s 1884 courthouse.

In a four-page opinion filed yesterday, visiting Judge Charles Wittenberg denied the motion to intervene filed by George Freeman, Suzanne Leiner Jackson, and Carol A. Yager. The judge said the applicants did not have a legal interest in the outcome of this action.

The applicants claim that by virtue of their ownership interests of property within the [Architectural Board of Review] district any decision by this court will have an adverse effect upon their property values and impact their ability to obtain grants or other historic preservation funding, the judge wrote. However these are practical concerns, and do not constitute legal interests which would make them proper parties under Ohio law.

Commissioners sued the city in January, asking the court to declare the county had made reasonable attempts to comply with city rules regarding the demolition of buildings in the historic district. Because the city s Architectural Board of Review twice denied the county s application to tear down the old courthouse, commissioners say they want the court to determine whether they can proceed with demolition if they do not ultimately decide to renovate the building.

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