BEDFORD, N.Y.-- A judge has ordered a Bedford area car wash to vacate its site by Sept. 30, in the latest battle between a landlord and tenant.
Bedford Town Justice Erick Jacobsen recently ruled that Greenwich-based Splash Car Wash must vacate its site at 527 N. Bedford Road in Bedford Hills by Sept. 30.
Splash Car Wash has a suit pending in State Supreme Court in White Plains in its attempt to remain on the site. Splash has been at the site since 1995.
The judge ruled in favor of Shullman Family Partnership, which has been trying to force Splash off the property for months, though Splash has refused.
The Shullmans have owned the property since the 1960s, and decided not to review Splash's lease on April 30.
Bob Shullman said he went to Splash on May 1 to pick up the keys and found out they weren't giving up property, leading to a lengthy court battle. After taking Splash to court, Splash counter-sued asking for a temporary restraining order. When that was denied, Splash filed the injunction.
"I have learned things I never wanted to learn about restraining orders, temporary injunctions and permanent injunctions," Shullman said. "This is not something enjoyable but you have to do it."
Shullman said he first noticed something was up when Splash, who pays the real estate taxes, sent a check to cover costs for the end of the year, even though they were only billed until the end of April.
"That gave me an indication that these people were not planning to leave," Shullman said. "This is not going to be good. I walked off the property. I'm not going to have a fistfight."
Jacobsen rejected Splash's argument since they had paid taxes until the end of the year they were entitled to stay until the end of the year.
Splash wants to stay on N. Bedford Road until they get necessary approvals for a new car wash they plan on building at 562-570 N. Bedford Road.
"That's not our problem," Shullman said. "That's a problem between them and the Town of Bedford."
Mark Curtis, the executive director Splash Car Wash, said that their attempts to build a new car wash in Bedford Hills have been undercut by the Shullmans, who are helping to fund a campaign by nearby residents at Valerio Court against the site. Splash has spent three years trying to get the necessary approvals, finally getting a final site plan approval in Feb.
"They have hired lawyers, sound engineers to fight this under the pretense their property values were going to go down if the property was developed into a car wash," Curtis said. "They want to defeat us or delay us. They want to take over the business we have developed for 18 years."
Curtis claims one neighbor who claimed his property was going to be devalued, recently sold his house at 93 percent of the asking price for a profit.
"That's completely disingenuous, if not dishonest," Curtis said.
Curtis argued that had the Shulmans not led an opposition campaign against his proposed car wash, he would've been happy to hand them the keys and move on.
"By working against us, either surreptitiously or openly, they are breaching an implied contract," Curtis said. "It's tortuous interference."
Curtis said Splash has been a good corporate citizen, donating to DARE, the school district and Boys and Girls Club.
"We love the community and we want to stay," Curtis said. "We never anticipated it would take this long. We would have our new location built if they hadn't gotten involved."
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