A decision was not reached in Portage County Common Pleas Court Tuesday on placing a permanent injunction against moving the Kent Wells Sherman House to its planned 247 N. Water St. home, but that decision could come today.
A citizens group titled "Save the Standing Rock Garden," is suing the city of Kent, alleging the city's Planning Commission and Architecture Review Board violated procedures when approving the site plans that would allow the Sherman House to move to 247 N. Water St., the same plot of land that Standing Rock Cultural Arts has maintained as a garden and green space to serve community functions.
A permanent injunction would prevent the Sherman House from being moved to North Water Street, along with any site preparation, while the lawsuit is deliberated. A temporary injunction is in effect until the hearing wraps up.
The lawsuit alleges that the Architectural Review Board violated Ohio Sunshine law by not properly notifiying the public of its Aug. 21 meeting in which a modified Sherman House site plan was considered, altered and recommended to Planning Commission, which turned down the original site plan by a 3-2 vote the month prior.
After three hours of questioning witnesses including Jamella Hadden, administrative assistant to Kent's community development director; SRCA founder Jeff Ingram and Kent Wells Sherman Inc. Vice-chair Roger Thurman, Magistrate Kent Graham closed the hearing for the day and set it to resume at 9 a.m. today.
The Standing Rock supporters have actively campaigned and organized to find an alternative site and stop the house from moving onto the green space, which has long been in use, but not owned, by Standing Rock. The Wells Sherman House group has since purchased the lot. The sale was finalized in October.
The Kent Wells Sherman House dates to 1858 and holds ties to prominent figures in Kent's past.
It was originally the home of Frances Kent Wells, a daughter of Zenas Kent, the community's founding father. Its historic prominence was not realized until March when it was slated to be demolished for the Kent State University Esplanade extension after being used as a boarding house for 40 years.
Kent State University agreed to allow the Sherman House to temporarily sit on the university-owned College Avenue location until Dec. 1, with the expectation that it will be moved before that date.
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