Paul McKibben reports:
The owner of the historic Twenty Mile House has filed suit against Warren County officials and Deerfield Township as plans for demolishing the property for a gas station have stalled.
The property’s owner, Jeff Black, wants to sell it to Speedway which plans to tear down the building and construct a gas station and convenience store.
Last August, county commissioners denied Speedway’s request to build a new driveway off Columbia Road. The driveway was closer to Columbia Road and U.S. 22/Ohio 3, a major Warren County intersection where the property sits.
Since then, several hearings before the township’s zoning commission have been delayed.
CJMKC Realty Co., which is owned by Black and filed the suit, wants the proposed development to proceed, compensatory damages to be awarded and other relief. Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison, county commissioners and township trustees are defendants in the suit that was filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
“It’s frustrating … that Warren County claims it is pro-business and less government and in this situation we’ve got a very strong governmental action killing a business,” plaintiffs’ attorney Konrad Kircher said.
Last year after the denial by commissioners, Speedway filed plans with the township that didn’t include the controversial driveway.
The early 19th century property once served as a stagecoach stop. It’s now vacant but it has been a restaurant.
Kircher said Speedway is the only offer Black has received on the property. Black has said he is losing money. Kircher said the bank loan that Black took out to buy the property is due in May and Black can’t pay it off.
Last year Black/CJMKC Realty Co. contracted with Speedway to sell the property for $800,000 that is well below fair market value and slightly above the amount of liens on it, the suit said. The sale is contingent upon Speedway getting governmental approval for its development.
A hearing before the zoning commission is Feb. 13.