Home-razing fight leads to suit | TheUnion.com

Home-razing fight leads to suit

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Thomas “Thom” Staser, the Nevada City man who was fined last year for demolishing a house without permit, has filed a complaint against the city in Nevada County Superior Court.

Staser, who was fined $274 in criminal court last year for demolishing the house at 502 Sacramento S., alleges he suffered $2.7 million worth of damages, court papers show. The complaint, filed March 28, also alleges fraud and deceit by the city.

Staser’s fight with city officials started more than a year ago when the city denied him the right to level the 1900-era house so he could build a new home.

Staser received a green light in September to demolish the house, but two residents appealed that decision to the City Council, saying the structure should be saved. In November 2000, the council sided with the residents, David Osborn and Charles Woods.

Undeterred, Staser leveled the house on Jan. 6, 2001. Nevada City Police Department Sgt. Lorin Gage, who wrote the citation that day, is a defendant in Staser’s complaint against the city.

Staser, who is representing himself, said Tuesday his complaint is an appeal to last year’s case. “I never broke the law,” Staser said.

On Tuesday, Nevada City City Attorney Jim Anderson said Staser’s complaint was news to him. “That’s brand new for me,” Anderson said.

The council last year passed a resolution that raises the fine for demolishing a house without a permit from $100 to $1,000. Under the new rules, the height, square footage and footprint of the new building will also have to be the same as the one torn down.

Staser heads the Nevada County Food and Toy Run, an organization that raises money to help needy families at Christmas.

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