A house on East Beaumont Road, two blocks from Colerain Elementary School, was shuttered June 20 at the request of City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr.'s office.
Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Daniel R. Hawkins granted a preliminary injunction "after the owner failed to take action for almost a year to stop heroin and other drugs from being dealt at the premises," according to a press release from the city attorney's office.
The owner of the house at 519 E. Beaumont Road is listed in the press release and in Franklin County Auditor's Office records as Josephine Gjessing.
A hearing for a permanent injunction, in which the property could be declared a public nuisance and be ordered shut down for a year, was scheduled for July 25.
However, Assistant City Attorney Katarina Karac said the situation may have resolved itself well before that date, and the house may not need to be boarded up for long.
"At this point, I've been in contact with the attorney for the owner," said Karac, the zone attorney for Clintonville. "I think they have the property listed and they have an interested buyer. From our position, we're not trying to have this property boarded for a year."
She said a "good-faith purchaser" with no problems on file with the environmental court would be welcomed to take over the property.
Joshua Fravel, whom Karac identified as the attorney representing Gjessing, said June 21 he could not comment at this time on her behalf.
"We have made it well-known that we will target the places where drug trafficking occurs and the people who enable such activity to persist," Pfeiffer said in the press release.
According to the release, Columbus police began a "cover investigation in response to community complaints about illegal drug activity at the premises in late summer of last year." Heroin purchases were made there Sept. 6 and May 1, and marijuana was purchased there June 2, reports said.
Karac explained that a nuisance-abatement approach was taken by the city attorney's office rather than an arrest because confidential informants were used.
"Sometimes it's difficult to identify the actual individual inside the residence who is selling the drugs," she said. "It could have been more than one individual who the confidential informant or confidential informants got this from."
The prospective buyer wants to inspect the interior before committing to purchasing the East Beaumont Road home, and Karac said she and the attorney for Gjessing were in the process of arranging that.
"We have to come to terms about the date and the time, and who will be present during the inspection," she said.