Briggs Road property still standing



Messenger photo by Whitney Wilson Coy

This vacant property, located at 2732-2744 Briggs Road, was ordered by Franklin County Judge Harland Hale to be demolished by Aug. 1. An appeal filed by owner Thomas Tonti has put a temporary stay on that order.

The Aug. 1 demolishment deadline for the Briggs Road property owned by Thomas Tonti of the Briggs Road Shopping Center Corp., has passed, yet the building still stands.

According to Assistant Columbus City Attorney Jodi Spurlock, this is because lawyers have filed yet another appeal on the behalf of Tonti.

This appeal has put a stay on the demolition order given by Franklin County Judge Harland Hale on June 6.

In order to keep the stay in effect, however, Tonti must pay a $135,900 bond, added Spurlock.

If the bond is not paid, she explained, the city of Columbus has the authority to demolish the property and bill Tonti for the cost.

“They probably won’t do that though,” said Spurlock, “If the lower court’s decision is not upheld in the appeal, the city could be sued for the demolition.”

The building, located at 2732-2744 Briggs Road, has been vacant since its last major occupant, the Super Duper, shut its doors in the 1970s.

Code enforcement bacame involved in 2005, in response to complaints from community members.

Inspectors found several violations on that first visit, including fallen sheeting inside the building, evidence that the roof sheeting was waterlogged and ready to fall, bar joists, beams and columns that had corroded, lack of lateral bracing from a roof that was in disrepair, and cracks in the cement block which indicated a shift in the building.

They also found several violations on the building’s exterior, including a covered walkway that was rusted an in need of repair and was deemed a danger to passing pedestrians and vehicles.

A building order was soon issued from the city’s code enforcement offices, which confirmed that the building was a danger to the community and ordered Tonti to bring the building into accordance with the Columbus Building Code within 30 days.

Tonti filed an appeal nearly six months later, in March of 2006. That appeal was denied by the Columbus Building Commission and was followed by another appeal in December 2006. That appeal was also dismissed by the Franklin County Municipal Court, Environmental Division.

In October 2006, Tonti employed a structural engineer to inspect the property. That inspector reported that the roof had collapsed over 70 percent of the building.

In his June decision, Hale wrote “Frankly, this building is much more than just an eyesore. It is, and has been, a serious safety issue, as well as a harborage of prostitution.”

According to Spurlock, no dates have been set for further hearings.

“He could appeal this all the way to the Supreme Court if they want to hear it,” said Spurlock.


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