COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In July, the City of Columbus warned the owners of a Greyhound bus terminal on the West Side to fix and improve multiple code violations. Now, it is seeking an injunction to declare the property a public nuisance.
City Attorney Zach Klein announced Tuesday his office has filed a lawsuit to order Barons Bus Incorporated, the owners of the Greyhound bus station at 845 N. Wilson Road, to bring the property into code compliance.
Should it fail to do so, the city seeks to move the terminal to a more appropriate location.
According to the complaint, the city accuses the property of remaining in violation of the City Building Code, be it sanitation issues, overcrowded waiting areas, unauthorized portable restroom facilities and inadequate loading and unloading zones.
The city also said the property has not issued a certificate for occupancy for the site’s current use as a major bus terminal. The complaint addressed added concerns about increased criminal activity in and around the terminal, which has seen a sharp increase in police calls since opening several months ago.
“I drew a pretty clear line in the sand that the moment the city’s orders expired on Monday and the substantial improvements weren’t made that we were going to file for a preliminary injunction, and that’s exactly what we did,” Klein said.
In the six weeks before the terminal opened on Wilson Road, Columbus police received about 30 calls with one criminal offense being reported. In the six weeks after, police have been called to the area 62 times, with 14 criminal complaints reported. Calls to police have included complaints of assault, robbery and shots fired.
The City of Columbus issued its ultimatum on July 28, giving Barons Bus Incorporated 20 days to comply after it found the terminal was operating without a certificate of occupancy or proper permits. Among other code violations found were improper permits for graphics, damage to the exterior of the building and operating more than two buses out of its location.
“Not only from a building perspective, not up to code or compliance, but they’re also creating from a safety perspective, a nuisance that’s bleeding into our neighborhoods,” Klein said,
NBC4 reached out to Barons Bus for the third time since July 28 and has not received a response.
Residents took notice even earlier when they began expressing concerns over criminal activity, safety and sanitation.
The Greyhound bus station moved from Downtown two years after the Central Ohio Transit Authority purchased the bus company’s terminal at 111 E. Town St. for $9.5 million.
Barons had until Monday to address the concerns, and residents who live near the terminal said the issues continued.
Jason Cornel said that just a few days ago, a bus passenger caused a scene at local businesses.
“We observed him going into several businesses over here and he got kicked out within a matter of a couple seconds,” Cornel said. “He finally went over to a woman that was waiting for her children to get off the bus and kept pestering her. One of my neighbors went over and asked if she was ok. Then he took off a couple minutes later, hopped on a bus, and was gone.”
Cornel said a lot of families live in this area, so it is hard for them to feel safe with this kind of activity.
“It’s very frustrating and there is a need for the bus service, but it needs to be in a better area that’s better suited and not a residential area,” Cornel said.