July 22, 2014

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Hearing begins in lawsuit to close Avon Lake skate park

James Pietrangelo, of Avon Lake, who is suing the city of Avon Lake to get rid of a skate park in his area, addresses the court of Judge James Miraldi on Thursday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

James Pietrangelo, of Avon Lake, who is suing the city of Avon Lake to get rid of a skate park in his area, addresses the court of Judge James Miraldi on Thursday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

AVON LAKE — An Avon Lake homeowner who is suing the city to close a skate park near his house claimed that he has been treated poorly by both the skate park users and one of the lawyers representing Avon Lake in a preliminary injunction hearing Thursday.

In his opening statements, James Pietrangelo II called for the park to be shut down while the lawsuit works its way through the court system.

Pietrangelo said he couldn’t stay in his house during the day because the noise was unbearable and he did not want to deal with the noise throughout the course of the lawsuit.

Pietrangelo also asked Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi to remove Margaret Koesel, one of the lawyers representing Avon Lake, from the case.

Koesel, who represented Sandusky Library when Pietrangelo sued the library in 2009, had “personal animosity” for him during the earlier legal fight, which centered on Pietrangelo’s removal from the library for complaining about noise.

That lawsuit later was thrown out by a federal judge.

“She was absolutely disdainful to me,” Pietrangelo said.

Miraldi denied Pietrangelo’s request to disqualify Koesel, saying that it would be inappropriate to bring a past, unrelated lawsuit into the Avon Lake case.

Abraham Lieberman, law director for the city of Avon Lake, argued against Pietrangelo’s request that the skate park be closed, saying that closing the park would force skaters to practice in parking lots and more dangerous areas.

Lieberman said that Pietrangelo rents his home rather than owns it and that he moved into the area almost eight years after the skate park was established.

“It stretches credibility a little bit,” Lieberman said that Pietrangelo did not notice the skate park or the noise when he chose to rent the home.

Additionally, after hearing both opening statements, Miraldi urged Pietrangelo to go through Avon Lake City Council to resolve the noise issue rather than the judicial system.

Pietrangelo, who chose to continue his efforts to close the park, said he did not understand why there was a reluctance to close the park, especially since he has been threatened by skaters in the past.

“Someone threatened to shoot me,” Pietrangelo said.

Due to time constraints, the hearing didn’t move past opening statements and is scheduled to resume Nov. 6.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.