Streetsboro hires law firm, prepares for legal tussle with Sahbra Farms
Streetsboro has hired legal counsel to help with legal challenges it is facing involving Sahbra Farms, located at the corner of Diagonal Road and Route 14.
The most recent legal complaint was filed by Sahbra Farms last summer, alleging the city has denied the farm “economically beneficial use of the property” by failing to approve conditional zoning for Shelly Materials to extract sand and gravel from the property, according to a writ of mandamus.
Streetsboro Law Director Frank Beni said Sahbra Farms is claiming the denial of Shelly Material's conditional zoning permit amounted to a "regulatory taking."
"They believe they have a cause of action under their mineral lease for the period of time there was no mining," he said.
Sahbra Farms Owner David Gross and his attorney Ken Fisher of Cleveland were unavailable for comment on Tuesday.
According to court records, Shelly had a mineral lease agreement with the farm allowing it to extract sand and gravel.
The writ of mandamus seeks a court order that the city of Streetsboro and its planning commission initiate appropriate proceedings to determine the value of the farm, pay legal costs and fees and “such other and further relief as this court deems just and equitable.”
City Council voted on Monday to hire Brady, Coyle & Schmidt to represent the city against Sahbra Farms in the case, which is stayed until March 1. The ordinance approving the hire caps the amount Brady, Coyle & Schmidt would get at $75,000, but Councilman Jon Hannan said administration officials do not believe that much will be necessary to litigate the case.
Hannan said the Shelly and Sahbra Farms situation has been hanging over the city for years.
“We’re finally getting somewhere, and I think this will put the city in a more comfortable position when that’s settled,” he said. The case’s back story is tied closely to the lawsuit between Shelly Materials and the city over the company’s plan to extract sand and gravel from the horse farm. Shelly and the city mutually requested the company’s appeal to court be dropped, which the court accepted Feb. 16 in a judgment entry.
The basic tenets of the settlement agreement between Shelly Materials and the city were announced by the city and Shelly in December.
Because the Shelly vs. Streetsboro case was still formally unresolved until Feb. 16, the case between Sahbra Farms and the city of Streetsboro was stayed until March 1.
The Shelly Materials vs. Streetsboro case came before the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the company opining that the appeals court overstepped its authority in several areas during its initial review of the case.
Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at email@example.com or @bobgaetjens_rc.