Kelly Holleran Jul. 29, 2014, 6:16pm

A Galveston resident says the city is attempting to yank a piece of historical property from her grasp by requiring her to replace wrought iron decorative pieces, which will cost her more than $1 million.

Suzanne Reiswerg filed a lawsuit July 18 in the Galveston County District Court against the city of Galveston. 

In her complaint, Reiswerg claims she owns a piece of property at 2202 Strand St. On June 20, the city ordered she repair the property, according to the complaint. As part of the repairs, the city required Reiswerg remove cast iron elements and replace them, the suit states.

The plaintiff has obtained an estimate from the only firm known to have done such work in Galveston, the complaint says. That bid is for approximately $1.2 million. Reiswerg claims the city is attempting to wrest the property from her control.

This is not the first time the city has tried to attain private property at the expense of landowners, according to the complaint. For instance, two previous lawsuits have been filed against it for similar reasons, the complaint says.

Due to its position in previous cases, Reiswerg expects the city to take the stance that any person who owns a building in its historic district has a duty to maintain the property in its original condition and exterior appearance. However, she contends owners are not required to do so under city ordinances.

Reiswerg is seeking a writ of certiorari to examine the proceedings before the Building Standards Commission. She also seeks declaratory relief, attorneys’ fees and other relief the court deems just. Reiswerg will be appearing pro se.

Galveston County District Court case number: 14-CV-0761.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Galveston County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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