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.