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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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An easement parcel in the Village of Walbridge hasn’t been abused or overburdened by the village to the extent the easement should be extinguished, the Sixth District Court of Appeals ruled last week.

The decision upholds a decision in 2008 by the Wood County Common Pleas Court which rejected a request by local business owners Terry and Gloria Carroll to have the easement terminated.

The 35-foot by 180-foot easement runs perpendicular from N. Main Street and extends from the street to the parking lot of a health club facility the Carroll’s own at 417 Main.

The easement was created in 1984 by deed prior to the Carroll’s purchase of the property. The easement grants the village the right to enter and use land located alongside a shopping strip at the corner of Main and Breckman streets.

According to the decision, the focus of the Carroll’s argument was “…the use of the easement parcel by third parties – non-patrons of their health club who use the easement parcel to enter the health club parking lot from Main Street and to park their vehicles in the health club parking lot and by truck drivers, with business as the shopping center, who turn around in the parking lot.”

The Carrolls contended that by allowing the trespassing infractions, the village wasn’t abiding by the provisions for which the easement was created.

While the common pleas court found that “the village was less than diligent in assisting the defendants (the Carrolls) in removing the trespassing vehicles and in prohibiting future trespassing,” the village didn’t intentionally abuse the easement or permit others to abuse it.

The appeals court concurred.

Terry Carroll testified during the trial he considered towing vehicles of patrons of the other businesses who parked in his lot and that he erected signs to permit towing.

But he chose not to do so.

“There is no evidence in the record upon which to conclude that towing of such vehicles ….would not be an effective means to end use of appellants’ parking lot by employees or patrons of businesses at the shopping center. The remedy is available and unused. There is little that can gain your attention like a tow,” the appeals court ruling says.

In addition, the appeals court noted the Carrolls “…have not claimed that use of the easement by employees or patrons of the shopping center or by delivery trucks materially affected their health club business or that it denied health club patrons access to the facility or available parking in the parking lot.”

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