By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
A Mercer County judge on Tuesday praised sparring property owners in Hermitage for reaching an agreement that hopefully settles issues that erupted last week in a game of tit-for-tat.
Common Pleas Court Judge Robert G. Yeatts said that while he knows little about the lawsuit B&B Commercial Properties filed against Jerry and Carole Chiccarino and Speedway, “It appears to me what the situation needed was a moment of sanity, a moment to step back. I commend you for taking that moment to step back.”
B&B owns Tuscany Court, a retail plaza on South Hermitage Road. It is a neighbor to Chiccarino’s restaurant. Jerry Chiccarino plans to sell his property to Speedway LLC, which has received permission from city commissioners to build a gas station and convenience store on the Chiccarino and neighboring Rex TV property on Morefield Road.
The restaurant remains open and has not announced a specific closing date.
Alan Baldarelli, general partner of Almarle Realty, which owns B&B, protested the plan because Speedway wants to build a buffer that he said would cut off access to the rear of his property.
B&B later filed a lawsuit to enforce what Baldarelli said is an oral easement agreement between B&B and Chiccarino.
Chiccarino said no agreement exists as he backed out of fruitless negotiations in September.
Last week, each side placed barriers on the boundary line of their properties in an apparent attempt to keep customers from using one property to get to the other.
On Friday, Chiccarino filed an emergency injunction motion that he said was a result of: someone associated with B&B using a backhoe to deposit gravel between the property lines of the Chiccarino’s and Rex properties; B&B posting signs informing Chiccarino’s customers that they are not allowed to park on B&B property; and Baldarelli entering the restaurant kitchen through the employee entrance and “causing a disturbance and using profanities.”
Yeatts granted the motion barring anyone associated with B&B from being on Chiccarino’s property or interfering with access to the Chiccarino or Rex properties; and setting standards for signs that outlawed the ones B&B had erected.
Yeatts set Tuesday’s hearing to give each side an opportunity to present testimony about the motion issues, but the sides reached an agreement instead.
The agreement, which was approved by Yeatts, keeps in place the facets of Yeatts’ Friday order, but adds that neither side admits to any wrongdoing or liability; the agreement is not admissible in further court proceedings; and either side can request a hearing on a permanent injunction.
Levio Baldarelli, Alan’s brother, said he wanted to be able to use the words “Chiccarino’s” and “closed” on a sign – one that had been erected and taken down used those words – but Ronald Amrhein, attorney for Chiccarino, said he would never agree to the use of the words together as they could give the wrong impression the restaurant is closed.
After the hearing, Alan Baldarelli was asked for comment and he referred to Chiccarino allegedly initiating last week’s actions by placing railroad ties between the properties, preventing access to the rear of B&B’s building.
“Let the courts handle it,” he said. “I have said that from the beginning.”
Amrhein declined to comment.