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Splash Car Wash Dealt Major Setbacks

Judge nixes land-use approvals for a new site in Bedford Hills. An appeal notice is filed for the case.

The former site of Splash Car Wash in Bedford Hills, now Russell Speeder's.
The former site of Splash Car Wash in Bedford Hills, now Russell Speeder's.

Splash Car Wash has had it tough recently, having lost both its previous site in Bedford Hills and then losing its municipal approvals granted for a new one near by.

The car wash vacated its old site, at 527 North Bedford Road, in time to comply with Bedford Town Justice Erik Jacobsen's order to vacate by Sept. 30, confirmed Bob Shullman, a family member of landlord Shullman Family Limited Partnership. His family also has control of another car wash called Russell Speeder's, which subsequently moved to the property. After the exit by Splash, Shullman explained that the place was closed for days before reopening under Russell Speeder's. Work included the addition of new equipment.

A major blow, however, came for Splash on Oct. 4, when state Supreme Court Judge Barbara Zambelli nixed all of the land-use approvals that Splash obtained from the Bedford Zoning Board of Appeals and Bedford Planning Board for its proposed new car wash at 562-570 North Bedford Road, which is 1.67 acres.

The decision was made for an Article 78 lawsuit brought about by Dino DeFeo, a resident of neighboring Valerio Court. It was successful because Zambelli agreed to vacate a use variance for the site. The variance was needed because while some of the site has commercial zoning, another portion has residential zoning. The later portion would also be used for the project. Zambelli decided to do away with the use variance because she felt that the defense failed to meet two burdens: that a "reasonable return" could not be made on the site and that a self-created hardship was not made. 

Zambelli wrote: “Upon a review of the record, the Court finds that the ZBA's determination in regard to the use variance must be vacated as it is not rationally based.”

Because Zambelli vacated the use variance, she also rejected two area variances, special permit approval and site plan approval due to the fact that they were each connected to it. 

Zambelli disagreed with a contention from DeFeo that the environmental review was not properly done by the planning board.

A notice of appeal has subsequently been filed for the case. Attempts were made to get comment from Splash CEO Mark Curtis but none were successful.

Splash got a victory in another lawsuit, however, which it filed against Shullman Family Limited Partnership in response to an attempt to have it vacate from the site last spring. In an Oct. 8 ruling, state Supreme Court Judge Francesca Connolly denied a motion to dismiss the case brought by the defense. Splash alleges that Shullman engaged in tortious interference with business relations and breach of implied covenant of good faith. Among the allegations were that the defense supported a land-use attorney during the land-use approval stage, telling Splash's customers and employees that it would be out of business, and abusing its landlord position

Reached for a reaction, Shullman deferred to DeFeo on the Article 78 lawsuit. As for the litigation his company is involved in, he expressed optimism that his side will prevail.

Portia Torte November 18, 2013 at 11:01 PM
All the parties should work this out. We have had an absolute eyesore at the Carvel property for how many years now? The Valerio Court folks can't reasonably expect that they will never see development of that land and Route 117 into a four lane someday, so get used to it. Valerio Court to me has a stigma and negative property value due to their insistence on the eyesore old Carvel property. It would be worth more if the Carvel dump was cleaned up and made into something.
mark November 19, 2013 at 09:36 AM
I dont think they expect zero development but I can understand not wanting to be adjacent to a line of cars waiting to get washed. Carvel didnt generate the amount of wrap around the block a car wash will.
Portia Torte November 19, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Mark: With two car washes within that close distance, I would lay a bet that there won't be a line of cars clamoring to get in to be washed. Route 117 itself is already a line of cars at rush hour 3 times a day, every weekday and Saturday. It is a highly trafficked commercial road with a busy McDonalds cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for eat in and drive through customers just across Route 117 from Valerio Court. With the din of all that as a backdrop, I bet no one will notice the squishing of a wet sponge on a car.
mark November 21, 2013 at 05:50 AM
Portia, Valerio Ct isnt 117, nobody lives behind McDs either.

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