School building and land converting to Library

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School building and land converting to Library

Postby rimfireOH » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:00 am

I'm not certain if this belongs here or in "ORC 9.68 Compliance", so please move if needed.

A School District has a collection of buildings and surrounding property that aren't used for instruction--not enough students to fill the classrooms, it would seem. Some of those buildings are reportedly used for storage while others are entirely empty. One building in particular sits on some prime land that could probably generate both property and income taxes if it were put to a commercial use, but the original deed specifies "that the land be used for 'public and educational use.'" The building is currently posted and so are the sidewalk entrances to the land surrounding it.

This land supports a wide field and a community-supported playground and looks just like a Public Park. In fact, you'd probably never know it wasn't a Public Park unless you knew the history of the building and that it's connected to the former school-building that's currently owned by the School District.

The current plan is for the School District to deed it over to the Library system (presumably under 3313.411 -- are libraries included in this section?) which has land adjoining the school property.

If/When the unused school building and its surrounding land become the property of the Library Board, will they be able to continue posting the field and park area? If so, what are the relevant sections of the code? Does the land grant stipulation for "public and educational use" play into that at all?

Maybe a different way of looking at it is this: Is a public park that's owned by the City different from a public park owned by the School District different from the same public park owned by the Library?
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby JediSkipdogg » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:14 am

rimfireOH wrote:Maybe a different way of looking at it is this: Is a public park that's owned by the City different from a public park owned by the School District different from the same public park owned by the Library?


Yes.

Public park owned by a city falls under 9.68 and cannot be posted.

Public park owned by a school district falls under 2923.122 and can be posted except the parking lot thanks to the most recent exception if you follow the guidelines in it. One may say how? 2923.122 mentions prohibited carry in a school safety zone. To find out what that is one must look at 2901.01 to find out "School safety zone" consists of a school, school building, school premises, school activity, and school bus and then further "School," "school building," and "school premises" have the same meanings as in section 2925.01 of the Revised Code. A park would fall under school premises so we need to look at 2925.01(R) "School premises" means either of the following...(2) Any other parcel of real property that is owned or leased by a board of education of a school, the governing authority of a community school established under Chapter 3314. of the Revised Code, or the governing body of a nonpublic school for which the state board of education prescribes minimum standards under section 3301.07 of the Revised Code and on which some of the instruction, extracurricular activities, or training of the school is conducted, whether or not any instruction, extracurricular activities, or training provided by the school is being conducted on the parcel of real property at the time a criminal offense is committed. I would venture, at least once in a year, the school is doing some instruction or training at the park if they own it. If not, well, that's risky to carry and find out the wrong way as it would be hard to disprove the school district saying on March 3, 2017 we had a nature hike at the park.

Public park owned by a library varies. Who owns the library? My understanding is most are owned by the counties and therefore cannot post under 9.68. Supposedly some libraries in Ohio are privately owned and therefore they can post their premises.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby rimfireOH » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:58 am

Thank you, JediSkipdogg, for your response.

JediSkipdogg wrote:Public park owned by a library varies. Who owns the library? My understanding is most are owned by the counties and therefore cannot post under 9.68. Supposedly some libraries in Ohio are privately owned and therefore they can post their premises.

The Library system in question is the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library, separate from the County-run system. While trying to find an answer to "Who owns the library?" I found these two interesting references in the Library's Board By-laws (pdf) (emphasis added):

  • Where and when appropriate in the publications of the library it shall be indicated that the Library District is the Cleveland Heights - University Heights City School District.
  • Members of the Board of Trustees (“the Board”) are, by law, appointed by the Board of Education of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

In short, I don't know who owns the Library -- the city or the School District. Seems blurry to me.

In case it matters, here's a Google map overlay of the property lines.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby rimfireOH » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:27 pm

So I wrote a short note to the Library Director asking a few questions and got told the following:
The School District Library is an independent governmental subdivision.


Can anyone interpret that? It appears that when the Director talks about the School District, it's a geographical/footprint thing, not a "we're part of the School District" thing.

What's the next question I ask the director? Independent of what? A subdivision of what? Are either of those valid questions?
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby rimfireOH » Wed May 02, 2018 12:51 pm

So the deal between the Library and the School District went through.

The Cleveland Heights - University Heights School District transferred the Coventry School building, property and the attached "PEACE" park (playground and field) to the adjacent Library, creating a two-building complex with a playground and field joining the two. (There hasn't been a Public school in the building for years, however, a private school has taken part of the space.)

The Park, although it has been operating as a public park for years, has been posted, probably legally (because it was owned by the School District).

Now that the Library owns all these parcels of land, can they continue to post the playground and field? If so, why? If not, why?

When I approached the Library director, I was told that they can post what they want. I pressed a little further and was told that they're a government entity and can post what they want. Then I pressed a bit further and was told that there's still a school in the old school building.

Here's a map that may help explain the locations a bit.

My last communication with their Director indicated that they were going to go talk with their legal team. I was going to give them/her a week or two to research the question.

What says the forum? Should they be allowed to post this playground/park? They don't check my library card when I show up, so I don't think it's a private park. But the presence of the school in the adjoining building might cause some difficulties. Just to be clear, the school is a private school and a tenant of the building that is now owned by the Library. I'm guessing that the school doesn't also lease the park, but I could be wrong.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby JustaShooter » Wed May 02, 2018 8:05 pm

rimfireOH wrote:What says the forum? Should they be allowed to post this playground/park?

If the library owns the park, and it is not being leased to a school, then no, they cannot post it.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby MyWifeSaidYes » Wed May 02, 2018 8:33 pm

JustaShooter wrote:
rimfireOH wrote:What says the forum? Should they be allowed to post this playground/park?

If the library owns the park, and it is not being leased to a school, then no, they cannot post it.

Concur.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby rimfireOH » Wed May 02, 2018 9:43 pm

Thank you. I'll follow up with them in another week or so. Sounds like I may need to ask to see the lease if they claim school status or some such.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby rimfireOH » Thu May 17, 2018 4:18 pm

So the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library is claiming that they can post the Library's park (they're quite clear in their emails to me that it's not a "public" park) because they are covered under 2923.1212 (A)(9) which I think shows that either they don't understand the law or I don't.

My response (on May 11th) was the following:
No one is contesting the Library's right to post the buildings, only the Library's park. 2923.1212 (A)(9) only covers buildings as far as I can tell.

If the Library is a school (nonpublic or public), then the school shall post property owned or controlled by that school. Is the Library a school?


I have not yet heard back. Two questions:

1) Am I correct in understanding that this park (public, library or otherwise) can't be posted?
2) What's my next step/move?

Please educate me (gently, as needed) and provide some guidance.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby JustaShooter » Thu May 17, 2018 7:30 pm

rimfireOH wrote:1) Am I correct in understanding that this park (public, library or otherwise) can't be posted?
2) What's my next step/move?


1) Yes.

2) First, let's see what they say in response to your latest. Then, if they continue to insist they can post the park, they need to be educated as to what the signage law requires them to post. Since they refer to 2923.1212 (A)(9) they derive their ability to prohibit firearms from 2923.126 (B) (7)
(7) Any building that is a government facility of this state or a political subdivision of this state and that is not a building that is used primarily as a shelter, restroom, parking facility for motor vehicles, or rest facility and is not a courthouse or other building or structure in which a courtroom is located that is subject to division (B)(3) of this section, unless the governing body with authority over the building has enacted a statute, ordinance, or policy that permits a licensee to carry a concealed handgun into the building;


Both 2923.1212 (A)(9) and 2923.126 (B)(7) are very specific that concealed carry is only prohibited in, and they can only post, *buildings* that meet the definition of Government Facility.

Politely point this out to them with citations and references, probably including 9.68, and suggest they consult with their law director if they believe the park somehow falls under the umbrella of Government Facility", contrary to the plain reading of the statutes.

(BTW, I wouldn't have brought up the school thing, nor would I mention it again lest they get ideas...)
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby rimfireOH » Tue May 22, 2018 10:02 am

JustaShooter wrote:Politely point this out to them with citations and references, probably including 9.68, and suggest they consult with their law director if they believe the park somehow falls under the umbrella of Government Facility", contrary to the plain reading of the statutes.

I did that and heard back from the Library Director today and the Safety & Services Security Manager was cc'd. They don't intend to remove the signs and are citing 2923.1212 (A)(9) as their justification. This is an open park, with no buildings and just a handful of swingsets and climbing structures. I can post photos if desired.

What's next on the list of things to do? How do we politely escalate?
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby JustaShooter » Tue May 22, 2018 3:08 pm

rimfireOH wrote:
JustaShooter wrote:Politely point this out to them with citations and references, probably including 9.68, and suggest they consult with their law director if they believe the park somehow falls under the umbrella of Government Facility", contrary to the plain reading of the statutes.

I did that and heard back from the Library Director today and the Safety & Services Security Manager was cc'd. They don't intend to remove the signs and are citing 2923.1212 (A)(9) as their justification. This is an open park, with no buildings and just a handful of swingsets and climbing structures. I can post photos if desired.

What's next on the list of things to do? How do we politely escalate?

City-owned library, right? Contact the City Law Director (and CC the Library Director and Safety & Security Manager) and let him know that the this needs to be corrected, and if in the mean time that is enforced that the city is liable.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby rimfireOH » Wed May 23, 2018 4:44 am

JustaShooter wrote:City-owned library, right? Contact the City Law Director (and CC the Library Director and Safety & Security Manager) and let him know that the this needs to be corrected, and if in the mean tigme that is enforced that the city is liable.

I don't think so. How do I find out? They serve two neighboring cities here, Cleveland Heights and University Heights.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby JustaShooter » Wed May 23, 2018 6:23 am

rimfireOH wrote:
JustaShooter wrote:City-owned library, right? Contact the City Law Director (and CC the Library Director and Safety & Security Manager) and let him know that the this needs to be corrected, and if in the mean tigme that is enforced that the city is liable.

I don't think so. How do I find out? They serve two neighboring cities here, Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

It's going to take some research to find out I suppose - start with their website and plow thought the documents they publish looking for a document that discloses how the organization was formed, under what section of the ORC, etc. I don't know much about that part of things (I'm hoping MyWifeSaidYes might stop in and opine) but ultimately you need to understand who hold power over them. If not the city or county, it might be the state, and depending on what you find out will shape the next step.
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Re: School building and land converting to Library

Postby JediSkipdogg » Wed May 23, 2018 6:57 am

JustaShooter wrote:
rimfireOH wrote:
JustaShooter wrote:City-owned library, right? Contact the City Law Director (and CC the Library Director and Safety & Security Manager) and let him know that the this needs to be corrected, and if in the mean tigme that is enforced that the city is liable.

I don't think so. How do I find out? They serve two neighboring cities here, Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

It's going to take some research to find out I suppose - start with their website and plow thought the documents they publish looking for a document that discloses how the organization was formed, under what section of the ORC, etc. I don't know much about that part of things (I'm hoping MyWifeSaidYes might stop in and opine) but ultimately you need to understand who hold power over them. If not the city or county, it might be the state, and depending on what you find out will shape the next step.


Looking at their timeline, http://heightslibrary.org/chronology/, it continually mentions the Cleveland Heights Board of Education as administering it. Seems to me like they might be the ones owning it as well. I couldn't find much else from the auditor's website or anywhere. This is definitely a tough one.
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