files suit against city
over proposed dealership rezoning
By Jeff Gallatin
Published Oct. 6, 2004
the proposed $2 million Ganley Volkswagen dealership, which city
council narrowly defeated in the spring have taken a new road by
filing a civil suit against the city.
Ganley Real Estate Co. filed the suit Sept. 14 in Common Pleas Court,
with city officials being served with the documents last week.
alleges that the Ganley property is zoned unconstitutionally and
asks the court to make a declaration that the current split zoning
is unconstitutional and should be changed.
filed a writ of mandamus, which would compel the city to commence
appropriation proceedings in probate court to determine the amount
of compensation, if any, Ganley is due as a consequence of the city's
alleged taking of the Ganley property as a result of North Olmsted's
refusal to rezone the residential portion of Ganley's split-zoned
parcels to general retail as the VW project developers wanted.
Olmsted Law Director Jim Dubelko said he'd asked council to hold
an executive session at its regular meeting last night to discuss
the lawsuit, as allowed under the sunshine law. In addition to council,
Dubelko asked Mayor Norman T. Musial, City Planner Kim Wenger and
City Engineer Gary Durbin to participate in the executive session.
"I want to
discuss city litigation strategy and what additional resources,
if any, will be required in order to effectively defend the lawsuit,"
Jordan Berns, the attorneys for Ganley, could not be reached for
In the spring,
council held several meetings pertaining to the proposal for the
property located near the intersection of Lorain Road and Ranchview
Drive. The proposed dealership drew fire from residents of the area,
saying it would cause a drop in property values and cause traffic
and noise problems as well.
Michael Gareau Jr., chairman of the building, zoning and development
committee, twice got council to postpone final action on the proposal
while the Ganley development team tried to work out compromises
to satisfy residents and council members opposed to the proposal.
comment on the suit while it is still in the courts, citing advice
from Dubelko. But he noted that some members of council - including
himself - had thought the matter could end up in a courtroom. At
the May 26 special council meeting, where council by a 4-3 margin
rejected the rezoning, Ganley officials had a court reporter present
taking down all the comments at the proceedings. Other council members
also declined comment, citing Dubelko's advice.
members voting against the rezoning at the May 26 meeting were:
Carolyn Kasler, Dean McKay, Paul Miller and George Nashar, while
John Dailey, Gareau and Duane Limpert voted for it.
assigned the case to Common Pleas Judge Daniel Gaul. The city's
answer to Ganley's allegations must be filed with the court by Oct.