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HERMITAGE Ruling due on motion in demolition of house



Published: Fri, May 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The house may be gone, but the legal battle goes on.

HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Commonwealth Court could rule within a week on a city motion to dismiss an appeal of a court ruling that allowed the city to tear down Helen Stacey's house on East State Street.

The court and attorneys for the city and Stacey held brief oral arguments by telephone on the city' s motion Thursday and Attorney Thomas Kuster, city solicitor, said the court promised a prompt decision.

That could come within a week, Kuster said.

Stacey is appealing a decision by Judge Thomas Dobson of Mercer County Court that allowed the city to raze the one-story brick building at 1560 E. State St. Nov. 6.

Stacey, who now lives in Cuyahoga Falls, and her son, Raymond of Niles, have been fighting the city over the fate of the house since rushing water from a rainstorm caused a portion of its basement wall to collapse on June 30, 1997.

City officials determined the structure was unsafe and ordered Helen and her late husband, Andrew, to evacuate the premises.

The Staceys maintained that the house was safe, but the city said that it was uninhabitable and that Stacey failed to make required repairs to make the structure safe.

Called moot: Kuster said the city's position on the appeal is that the issue is moot.

The appeal deals with Dobson's refusal to issue an injunction to prevent demolition of the house, but that no longer matters because the house is gone, he said.

The Staceys hope to get some compensation for the loss of the house and to prove that the city overstepped its legal powers in demolishing it.




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