Court Sends Sides to Mediation in an Effort to Resolve Building Issue
Thursday, January, 2, 2020
The court has suggested a mediation attempt for the two sides involved in a dispute regarding a Cochranton building. The building was set to be condemned; but that process might be resolved without the need for a long, drawn out court battle over the blighted property that is located in the borough’s business district.
In August 2019, the borough of Cochranton filed a lawsuit in the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas in an effort to condemn the building. Located on W. Adams Street, it had been vacant and the borough gained ownership through eminent domain.
According to Cochranton council members, they had attempted to get the building previous owner, Allen M. Sheehan, to conduct maintenance on the building so it would be brought up to code. Those efforts had been ongoing for at least a decade, but Sheehan had taken no action or did nothing to improve the structure.
A short conference was held the beginning of December after the borough had taken ownership and Judge Mark Stevens issued an order that “strongly encouraged mediation” to take place between Sheehan and the borough. The goal would be to resolve the issues in question. Sheehan was not present at the meeting, but his attorney, Aurora Hardin, stated she was willing to participate in mediation on behalf of her client.
According to Hardin, Sheehan is willing to discuss other unrelated property issues in addition to the primary issue in question. The council still needs to decide on mediation, but according to the court, the parties have 90 days from January 13, 2020 to complete pre-trial information exchange and discovery should mediation not be successful. That deadline could be extended if mediation is in progress.