Local News

June 8, 2014

Judge to rule in Fire Stone Grill lawsuit

Thimlar seeks damages for alleged unlawful delay

A judge is contemplating his ruling that will bring a nearly four-year lawsuit between a Logansport restaurant owner and the city to a close.

Royal Rentals LLC, owned by Bernadene Thimlar of Royal Center, filed the suit against the city of Logansport and several of its departments and boards seeking damages for an alleged unlawful taking of property without compensation in August 2010. Chesterton-based attorney C. Anthony Ashford is representing Thimlar in the suit.

The suit charges the city took too long to issue a certificate of occupancy for Thimlar’s restaurant, Fire Stone Grill on South Third Street.

The city wouldn’t issue the certificate until Thimlar put a landscaping buffer in the restaurant’s parking lot, which her attorney says it does not need. In November of 2011, the city agreed to issue the certificate of occupancy if it could install a temporary buffer of potted plants on her property, which both sides agreed to.

Michael Morrow, an attorney with Indianapolis-based Stephenson, Morrow and Semler, is representing the city. He argues the restaurant is in violation of local ordinances and that Thimlar never submitted a site plan showing compliance with parking lot buffering and landscaping requirements.

Depositions were held late last summer with Logansport-Cass County Planning Director Arin Shaver, Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin, former Logansport Mayor Michael Fincher, former Logansport Zoning Administrator Gary Scagnoli, former Logansport Building Commissioner Gary Hostetler, former Logansport Deputy Mayor Linda Klinck and Thomas LaDow, a former member of the now-abolished Logansport Downtown Development Review Board.

A summary judgement hearing took place in Cass County Superior Court II Friday afternoon, where the content of those depositions was discussed.

Ashford said the dilemma regarding the parking lot buffer stemmed from an appeal to the city by attorneys with Starr Austen & Miller LLP across the street, who took issue with the restaurant’s initial lack of a parking lot buffer, citing that such an accessory was necessary for them when they completed their building.

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