Ruling again holds up plaza demolition



It's too early to tell whether the ruling will enable the city to resume the demolition.
WARREN -- Demolition of the former Parkman Road Shopping Center near North Leavitt Road remains on hold after one more court ruling -- this time from the 11th District Court of Appeals.
Warren city officials thought they had the green light to complete the building's demolition last June. That was when Judge John M. Stuard of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court ruled that the Parkhurst Mall Corp. and its owner, Warren Atty. Donald L. Guarnieri, had failed to live up to their 2004 obligation to bring the building up to city building codes.
This led the city to hire Richard Boccia Construction Inc. of Niles to remove the remaining 88,000 square feet of the building.
A couple of weeks after the ruling, however, Parkhurst Mall Corp. appealed Judge Stuard's ruling, and the demolition was halted. It was the second time the demolition had been interrupted by legal action.
City building official Chris Taneyhill had declared the building a safety hazard in January 2003 and ordered it demolished, but Guarnieri unsuccessfully appealed the decision in February 2003 to the Ohio Board of Building Appeals. He then appealed that decision to common pleas court and Judge Stuard.
In the meantime, the city began to demolish the plaza in May 2004, and the grocery store portion of the building was taken down.
The building formerly housed Grant's, then Ames Department Store. It has been vacant for about 12 years.
2006 ruling
In June 2006, Judge Stuard ruled that the demolition should resume and that Guarnieri should pay the 78,986 owed to Boccia for the demolition work it had done in 2004.
The appeals court ruling released Monday rejected eight of the 10 errors Guarnieri said were contained in Judge Stuard's ruling, and said one was moot. However, the court agreed with Parkhurst Mall Corp.'s claim that Guarnieri was not personally liable for the 78,986.
It is undisputed that Parkhurst is a corporation and that Parkhurst agreed to pay for the demolition work, the ruling says. But "there was no finding by the court that Guarnieri was a shareholder, officer, or director of Parkhurst. The record merely discloses that he is the attorney for Parkhurst," the ruling says.
As a result, the case will return to Judge Stuard so he can reconsider that portion of the case, the appeals court said.
Doug Franklin, Warren service director, said he was pleased that the appeals court kept most of Judge Stuard's ruling intact, But Franklin said it is too early to tell whether the ruling will enable the city to resume the demolition.
Guarnieri and lawyers for the city could not be reached to comment.
runyan@vindy.com

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