LAKEWOOD - The Lakewood village board officially denied a request by Tom and Michelle Turner to build a 14-foot driveway on the paper-street Ohio Avenue on Monday evening.
In May, the Turners filed an Article 78 lawsuit against the village to gain access to the piece of lakefront property they had recently purchased, located at the bottom of Ohio Avenue and adjacent to Richard O. Hartley Park.
The village refused to allow Turner to take the requested action, and according to Mayor Tony Caprino, it is because residents and board members did not wish to see an access road built so close to the park. At a public hearing held Monday, June 16, Turner argued in accordance with state law, the pair had a legal right to install the paved path which would provide them vehicle access to the plot of land.
The board of trustees provided the Turners with a list of 13 points Monday evening why they were denying the couple permission to build a road. The first reason stated said the property in question ''is fundamentally and inherently inconsistent with the use of that land as part of the public park,'' since the roadway would be going across property that has been used as part of the village park for more than 75 years.
Other reasons included one saying a road might interfere with existing concrete drainage ditches, the lot is substantially smaller than a minimum lot size generally required under Village of Lakewood zoning law, the nearby basketball court could be a safety hazard and lastly ''it is not in the best interest of the public to approve the construction of a roadway across this property.''
Turner said the next step would be to appear before the court again next Monday, June 28.
''This time we hope the judge rules in our favor,'' he said. ''We believe, as we always have, that it should be in our favor. We've received all the reasons why they denied us, but we don't agree with everything they said.''
Turner added he felt they should be able to add on a driveway onto their own property.
Attorney Andrew Goodell, who is representing the village of Lakewood, said the decision has been made to dismiss the lawsuit.
''It really comes down to a simple deed issue - my opinion, based on the title issue from Mr. and Mrs. Turner, is they never acquired a deed issue for the Ohio Avenue property (to begin with),'' Goodell said.
He explained the land in question was at one point owned by John Packard, who then sold the property to a Mr. Warren Packard. John Packard then sold the same piece of property again to a third property four years later.
However, since the third party was never the rightful owner of the land, Turner's ownership could potentially be questioned. The final decision will be made when the couple go to court in two weeks.
The next Lakewood board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 28.