The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

June 14, 2013

B&B sues to keep property easement

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

HERMITAGE — B&B Properties has sued Jerry and Carole Chiccarino and Speedway LLC to try to preserve the easement between the B&B and Chiccarino properties in Hermitage after Speedway builds a gas station and convenience store.

Chiccarino said Thursday, the day the suit was filed, that he had not seen it and declined to comment on it. A message left with Pennoni Associates Inc., the Pittsburgh consulting engineer firm that has represented Speedway in the project, was not immediately returned.

Speedway plans to build on the Chiccarino property at 559 S. Hermitage Road and the neighboring Rex TV property at Morefield Road.

While the Rex property mostly has been vacant for some time, Chiccarino’s restaurant remains open and will be into the summer.

B&B owns the plaza to the north of Chiccarino’s and has four tenants.

During the land-development plan approval process in Hermitage, Alan J. Baldarelli, president of Almarle Realty, the general partner of B&B properties, protested Speedway’s plan to build a buffer on the north side of what is now the Chiccarino property.

City commissioners approved the plan after determining it met the city’s land development and subdivision ordinance.

B&B and the Chiccarinos have had a gentlemen’s agreement since 2010 that allows B&B patrons to go onto Chiccarino property to access the rear of the B&B building, and Chiccarino’s customers to park on B&B property.

The agreement was put in writing – a copy of which is attached to the lawsuit – but has never been signed.

Both sides made improvements to their properties to accommodate the agreement, including building a retaining wall on both properties; removing another wall, trees and debris; and installing poles to protect B&B’s building from Chiccarino customers parking there.

B&B relocated a tenant, Sylvan Learning Center, to the rear of its building and built a new entrance for Sylvan customers. Vantage Home Medical Equipment and Services also uses the rear of the property for loading and unloading equipment.

Speedway’s plan will “deny customers of (B&B’s) tenants from vehicular access to this area,” the suit said.

“This denial would create a dead-end behind (the) building and an intolerable bottleneck to vehicular traffic, thereby destroying the viability of the rear tenancy,” it said.

The gentlemen’s agreement has been “executed by performance” and the refusal of the Chiccarinos and Speedway to continue the easement in writing “is inequitable and a fraud,” the suit said.

B&B “cannot be readily compensated in money damages,” the suit said, and asks that a judge order the defendants to maintain the gentlemen’s agreement after Speedway buys the property.