Chaussee suits bad for taxpayers

Register
Jun 24, 2013

When the city of Sandusky sent out cease-and-desist letters in 2011 ordering Cedar Point Chaussee property owners to stop renting their homes, many in the community believed it would be in the best interest of the city to amend its outdated zoning laws to allow such rentals that bring in tourist dollars.

When the city's five-member zoning appeals board voted unanimously to issue a special permit to Ann and John Arnold to allow them to continue to rent out properties they have refurbished on Curran Street, many said the city should work to find similar common ground with Chaussee property owners. 

But the city did not heed the warnings it would be difficult to lawfully restrict property owners from leasing their homes and pushed forward seemingly oblivious to the inevitable legal challenges that would ensue. 

The lawsuits were filed shortly thereafter and two years later the property owners were vindicated — once again — when Ohio's Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled the city overstepped its authority and was indeed violating the rights of property owners. 

It was a no-brainer from the beginning, but the city's decisions ended up costing taxpayers at least $50,000 in fees to lawyers who accomplished nothing. 

We believe a better way to have spent that money would have been to demolish five abandoned and vacant homes in the city, improving the quality of life in five different city neighborhoods.

Now the city must decide whether to appeal the court's decision yet again and continue lining the pockets of private lawyers whose advice has proved to be self-serving, or acknowledge the mistakes and find that common ground with the property owners it refused to talk with previously.  

This is one fight the city can't win, and can't afford to continue, but if past is prologue that makes no difference to Sandusky's leaders when working for special interests.

 

Comments

Truth or Dare

Lawyers are really lining their pockets w/city taxpayer $$$''s?! No kidding! One question, any of the lawyers live on the Chaussee, or they from elsewhere and taking City taxpayer $$$'s with them? How bout the SR do some research into how much the City has paid out in lawsuits, let's say over just the last decade, or two. Or is the price of public/taxpayer funded lawsuits private information now?

Why the City thought they could give the green light to the Arnold's only to turn around and give a big red light to the owners on the Chaussee makes no sense at all.

Julie R.

Just because the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the property owners doesn't mean anything. Didn't they also rule in favor of MetroParks in that loooong drawn-out MetroParks/Huron River Greenway case that ended up costing the taxpayers 3.2 million when it went to the Ohio Supreme Court?

The Answer Person

It is called a "RESORT" town folks. Tourists come here and stay in places that rent to them. Owners make money. So...Get over it! If you don't want renters as neighbors, there is an easy answer: THEN MOVE!!! Duh...

T. A. Schwanger

Should the City then make money off the CP rentals such as collecting bed tax?

Nemesis

No - it's rental housing, not a hotel. Furthermore, economic development might do better if the city didn't view all economic activity as something to tax.

Less than a week ago, you went to some length to claim you don't interfere with the use of private property. Falling off the wagon?

T. A. Schwanger

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Nemesis

Not at all trying to interfere with private property or the sale there of to the City in this instance.

I just pointed out other communities, Port Clinton to name one, considers short term rentals as a commodity to tax.

Oh, boaters (economic activity) continue to pay a dock tax for a police boat Sandusky no longer owns.

Nemesis

I've already said I don't think I'll ever have reason to accuse you of interfering with the transfer of private property to the city.

So, illegitimate taxes by one city, or one one economic activity are now a reason we should have them in all cities and on all activities?

Tool Box

Ah, just let em turn into another rental district like the rest of Sandumpy!

Julie R.

Like.