Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
DAVID D. WATSON PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
CITY OF CLEVELAND, ET AL. DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT John P. Slagter Tara J. Rose Anthony
R. Vacanti Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For City of Cleveland Barbara
Langhenry City of Cleveland Law Director By: Carolyn M.
Downey Assistant Director of Law.
East 123 St. Properties, Ltd. John W. Monroe Bruce G. Rinker
Mansour, Gavin, L.P.A.
BEFORE: Keough, A.J., Kilbane, J., and S. Gallagher, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE.
Appellant, David D. Watson, appeals from the trial
court's judgment affirming the decision of the city of
Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals that granted four area
variances to East 123 St. Properties Ltd. to allow it to
build a six-story 204-unit apartment building on a small lot
in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood. For the reasons
that follow, we reverse the trial court's judgment and
remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
East 123 St. Properties Ltd. is the owner of property located
at 1862 East 123rd Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Visconsi
Companies is the developer for the project at issue. The
property is located in a B-2 semi-industrial district.
In October 2014, Visconsi submitted a building permit
application for the project to the city of Cleveland's
building and housing department. The building and housing
department denied the permit application and issued a notice
Visconsi appealed the notice of nonconformance to the
city's Board of Zoning Appeals (the "Board").
The Board held a public hearing on January 5, 2015, and heard
testimony from various interested parties. Many documents,
exhibits, and correspondence were also submitted at the
hearing. The Board held another lengthy hearing on May 4,
2015, where it heard additional testimony. After the hearing,
the Board voted in favor of granting the requested variances
for the project. The Board adopted and ratified its decision
on May 11, 2015.
Watson, who lives in a townhome directly across the street
from the proposed project, appeared at the hearings and
testified in opposition to the variances. He subsequently
appealed the Board's decision to the common pleas court
pursuant to R.C. Chapters 2505 and 2506. After the parties
filed briefs, the trial court affirmed the decision of the
Board. The trial court's decision in its entirety stated,
"[t]he decision of the city of Cleveland Board of Zoning
Appeals is hereby affirmed." Watson timely appealed the
trial court's judgment.
This court sua sponte returned the matter to the trial court
for the court to conduct the review required by R.C. 2506.04
and enter a judgment capable of appellate review. In our
journal entry, we explained that because of the lack of
detail in the trial court's entry, we could not determine
on what basis the trial court had affirmed the Board, and
could not conduct the review required of us by statute in an
Upon remand, the trial court issued another entry affirming