Kent zoning board puts off demolition decision

By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer Published:

Conflicting versions of events between Kent officials and the owner of a Franklin Avenue home led the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals to table a decision Monday on the home's demolition until next month.

According to city records, the house, located at 509 Franklin Ave., meets the criteria for "blighted property," since it is vacant and water has been shut off since at least August 2011.

In April 2007, a neighboring structure caught fire and spread to the 509 Franklin Ave. house, managed by Gavin McLaughlin under Cho-Oyu Ltd. In late 2008, the owner took out a permit for repairs on the property.

When questioned by the board why more than a year had passed before attempting to make repairs, McLaughlin's attorney, Diana Prehn, said roof access was needed from the neighboring business owned by Dorothy and John Spindler, Home Placed Used Goods at 501 Franklin Ave. They refused to the request, Prehn said.

No additional permits for repairs were requested until 2011, two years after the city gave notice that the property would be condemned.

"There seems to be big chunks of time between a particular event and movement towards the resolution," board chair Elizabeth Howard said.

McLaughlin said he was unable to access his property to make repairs because the Spindlers trespassed on the property, changed the locks and stored items in the property until legally evicted last week.

John Spindler said when no doors were replaced after the fire department responded in 2007, he boarded up the house, replaced the door himself and continued to address safety issues with the property.

"I felt entitled to use it because I had been taking care of it for six years," he said.

Two more neighboring residents spoke in favor of demolition, saying the owner has never taken care of the property.

The board is giving Cho-Oyu Ltd. time to gather records that support its story.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or kmcdonald@recordpub.com

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  • They should demolish it and every building in a 3-block radius. Make a park for Cultural Arts.