April 17, 2024

Council Member Takes Grand Rapids To Court

Recent court documents show that Lynn Sylvain, resident and council member of Grand Rapids, has filed a lawsuit against the Village of Grand Rapids. Paperwork was filed in the Wood County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday, February 22, 2024.

According to court documents, the dispute is regarding Sylvain’s property, located at 24308 Front Street, which sits to the west Town Hall, and features an accessory building.

The complaint states that the building, which partially sits on (unconstructed) Bass Street, has included the building since before 1998 with little to no issue between the Village of Grand Rapids and previous owners. Sylvain took ownership in 2018.

The document states, “Shortly after acquiring the title to Plaintiff’s Property in 1998, the Dosses were given permission by the then-serving Village Administrator, acting on behalf of Defendant, Village of Grand Rapids, to use the accessory building located behind their house and owned by Defendant Village of Grand Rapids.” It goes on to say, “For a period of 21 years, plaintiff and her predecessors in title have openly, notoriously, and exclusively used and maintained the accessory building, to the exclusion of all others, including installing new siding, doors, and locks at various times.”

The property began to come into question as the Village looked to the area west of Town Hall as a place for a new parking lot.

Area west of Grand Rapids Town Hall featuring Accessory Building in Question

The petition states, “During several recent meetings of the Grand Rapids Village Council the questions of what, if anything, Defendant Village of Grand Rapids can or should do with the accessory building and the land adjacent thereto has been raised by representatives of Defendant, Village of Grand Rapids, thereby necessitating this Complaint.”

Copies of the village meeting minutes from October 23, 2023 and November 27, 2023 were submitted as evidence indicating an unofficial proposal to construct a parking lot to the west of Town Hall which would result in removing the accessory building that sits on both properties.

October 23 meeting minutes states, “Administrator stated we need to discuss taking the garage down and removing the rest of the tree and then more parking can be made towards the property line. Sylvain stated the garage is hers and we will go to court on it.”

Sylvain is requesting the court issue an order to vacate Bass Street (the strip of land where the building sits) or an order to declare Sylvain to be the owner of the disputed building and land it sits on. Sylvain is also seeking reimbursement for court and attorney costs.

The village has until April 24 to answer the petition. Council held a special meeting on Thursday, March 21 to discuss litigation. Council immediately went into executive session for the discussion.

The case is being handled by Judge Molly Mack in the Wood County Court of Common Pleas.

NWO Community Media obtained all documents through the public Wood County Courtview website. Documents in PDF format can be downloaded below. We will continue to follow this story as more information becomes available.

*NWO Community Media is a “free press” media company. Please consider a small donation to help us provide this service. We are 501(c)3 and locally operated out of Grand Rapids, Ohio. You can find more details on the “donate” page or click here.

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