Court upholds ruling; damaged Troy tavern building not approved for demolition

Preservation group ‘thrilled’ by decision on 1840s building; owner still pursuing demolition, has violations pending

TROY — The 1800s era Tavern building in downtown Troy will not be demolished in the immediate future, after Ohio’s 2nd District Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a Miami County judge’s ruling.

The Troy Planning Commission in fall 2021 had approved demolition of the building at 112-118 W. Main St., a decision that was upheld by the city Board of Zoning Appeals.

That decision then was appealed by Evil Empire LLC, and the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance to county Common Pleas Court. Judge Stacy Wall in October 2022 overturned the demolition order, saying the BZA did not follow city code requirements involving a definite reuse plan for the property.

Building owner 116 West Main Street LLC challenged Wall’s ruling in the appeals court, which heard oral arguments on the issue earlier this month.

The building is known as the Tavern and IOOF building. It has portions dating to the 1840s and served as home to an early county courthouse.

The building was damaged in a January 2020 tornado that hit the Troy downtown area. The sidewalk and parking in front of the building near the county Courthouse has been fenced off since then. The proposal to demolish the structure led to debate over the value of the structure and whether it could be repaired.

The Troy Historic Preservation Alliance, a young nonprofit organization, frequently addresses the city of Troy and its city council on the building condition and what will be done.

“We are thrilled for this much-anticipated ruling from the Second District Court of Appeals — a landmark victory for historic preservation in downtown Troy. The city of Troy needs to commence immediately in making repairs to the building and sending the bill to the property owner if there is unwillingness to comply,” THPA said in a statement.

“The sidewalk in front of the building needs to reopen after three long years, and the West Main Street construction in front of the building needs to begin without delay. We look forward to a shift in the conversation to restoring and bringing this important building back into active use alongside the rest of our beautiful downtown, and we stand ready to contribute to that work in any way possible.”

An attorney for the building owner said Friday afternoon they disagree with the decision.

“We believe we complied with the zoning code, the requests of the city, the Planning Commission and the BZA throughout the application process. The Planning Commission and the BZA agreed,” said Derek L. Muncy of Bieser, Greer & Landis, LLP. “At this point in time, we are most concerned with the safety of the structure as a whole. We are exploring all of our legal options to proceed with the demolition of the building.”

The city filed four misdemeanor charges alleging property maintenance violations earlier this month against the owner of the Tavern building.

”We respect the Court of Appeals decision and will continue towards gaining compliance with our property maintenance orders,” said Patrick Titterington, city service and safety director.

The charges allege that the owners “maintained structures in a state of disrepair” March 10, 11, 12 and 13 of this year. Additional daily complaints could be filed, according to the city. An arraignment on the four charges is scheduled April 4 in county Municipal Court.

The city Nov. 3 filed orders for building repairs with a 30-day deadline. An extension was granted by the city in December until March 10.

The orders included repairing the front and rear façade, replacing broken windows, stabilizing loose bricks and replacing missing bricks. Work needed so the sidewalk along West Main Street near the county Courthouse can be re-opened also was included in the order.

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