Kent Wells Sherman House still waiting to be moved


Photo by Coty Giannelli.

Grace Murray

Update: we reported the site plan approved for the Kent Wells Sherman House was 16 inches from the sidewalk of the Standing Rock Garden. The site plan submitted was 16 inches but the approved plan was actually 13.5 feet away from the sidewalk as per the architectural review board’s suggestion.

The Kent Wells Sherman House remains at its temporary location on East College Ave. due to an ongoing court case.

Relocation of the Wells Sherman House to the green space next to Standing Rock Cultural Arts at 247 North Water St. upset a number of locals late last year who wish to keep the green space unoccupied.

Lisa Regula Meyer and a group of supporters, often referred to as “Save the Standing Rock Garden,” sued the city of Kent and, subsequently, the Friends of the Kent Wells Sherman House.

“Our basis [for the lawsuit] is that the city did not follow the law by allowing the second hearing of essentially the same site plan [for the Wells Sherman House] after it had been denied once,” Lisa Regula Meyer wrote in an email interview.

The city of Kent’s planning commission denied the Friends of the Wells Sherman House’s first site plan, which placed the house 15 feet from the sidewalk. The group then submitted a new site plan with the house 16 inches from the sidewalk, which was then approved.

Following the decision from the planning commission, “The architectural review board said, ‘We think it would be better if the house was set 15 feet back, not 16 inches,’” said Kent’s Assistant Law Director Eric Fink. “Then the planning commission, this time for whatever reason, approved having the house at 12.5 feet back.”

“The first legal move on Oct. 9 did not include us at all,” Roger Thurman, vice chairman of the board for the Kent Wells Sherman House Inc. said. “The original injunction was against the city of Kent, the planning commission and Kent State. Then on Nov. 2, we were sued as well.”

“We don’t even understand why we were sued, frankly — other than just to delay the project,” Thurman said.

After the first hearing, Fink said, “The magistrate Kent Graham wrote an opinion saying at a preliminary basis level he couldn’t find anything wrong with what the planning commission or the Wells Sherman House group did.”

However, this opinion does not guarantee the injunction will not be granted at a later time, as it was based on a preliminary hearing.

Though Thurman said even if the court makes a decision in his group’s favor soon, they are still in the permitting process. The needed permits would allow the Kent Wells Sherman group to begin construction for the foundation of the house.

“We view what we’re doing as a very positive effort,” Thurman said. “We’re hope to move the house by spring.”

Grace Murray is the student affairs reporter for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact Grace Murray at [email protected].