The long-lived tax value dispute between the Landmark Properties Group LLC and the Wellston City School District over the former Penn's Warehouse property in Wellston has all but come to an end.
The issue at hand involves Kevin Ross, President of Landmark Properties Group, and the purchase of the former Penn's Warehouse property, located off of State Route 327 and Honeysuckle Lane in Wellston, at a public auction in 2015. The asking price, Ross stated, was $150,000 and his company purchased 5.9 acres and 6 buildings for $185,000. Ross described the property as being "burdened by real estate taxes based upon a $500,000 value."
Over the past two years, Ross's company, seeking a lower real estate tax appraisal for the property, has been involved in a tax-appeal process in which the opposing attorney is representing the Wellston City School District. At one point in the process, the Jackson County Board of Revision changed the property's classification from a discount store to a warehouse, which lowered the real estate tax value from $557,000 to $387,440.
Most recently, Ross stated his company filed appeals for both the most recent ruling by the Board of Revision as well as an earlier ruling by the Board of Tax Appeals in 2015. The issue was set to make its way to the Ohio District Court of Appeals.
Ross was set to address the Wellston Board of Education during this Monday's meeting regarding the issue. However, this proved to be unnecessary as the attorneys for both parties had reached a tentative settlement. On the following morning of Tuesday, Aug. 8, Ross told The Telegram via phone that a value of $225,000 had been settled upon by both parties. Though this value is still $40,000 more than his company paid for the property, Ross said he is happy with the outcome.
Wellston Superintendent Karen Boch was also pleased.
"Working collaboratively with counsel, the Board of Education and the property owner negotiated a settlement of the property tax appeals that Landmark Properties filed," she stated. "We are happy to put this matter behind us and look forward to Landmark's development of the property."
In speaking with the Wellston School District's attorney, Tess Tannehill of the Bricker & Eckler law group, The Telegram learned that this settlement still required the approval of Jackson County Auditor Clyde Holdren and the Jackson County Board of Revision before it's finalized. As of late Tuesday afternoon, Holdren said the county and its attorney have also agreed to the settlement's terms.
Now that the issue has been put to rest, Ross stated he and his company intend to move forward with the construction of a Triple Crown Sports and Family Fun Center, similar to one already in place in Chillicothe.