puts Ganley expansion into drive
By Jeff Gallatin
Published April 6, 2005
City and Ganley
Volkswagen officials shifted the controversial $2 million Lorain
Road dealership expansion into gear, moving it out of court where
it had been parked in legal limbo.
settlement, reached this week, ends Ganley's lawsuit against the
was expected to formally approve the tentative pact last night,
giving the auto dealership the green light to grow alongside residential
now develop its property at 25600 Lorain Road but must install heightened
landscaping and buffering under the tentative settlement. Those
changes are designed to shield nearby residents from the development.
dealership sued the city in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in
September. The suit claims the city's demand for split zoning between
residential and more business-oriented use on Ganley's land is illegal.
The lawsuit also asked the court to consider whether Ganley should
receive financial compensation.
work out for the city and Ganley," said Mayor Thomas O'Grady.
Berns, representing the car dealership, declined comment Monday.
He said he didn't want to speak publicly until council votes to
approve the tentative settlement.
as council president last year during the controversy over Ganley's
expansion plans, O'Grady said he's glad to see an apparent end to
the zoning fight during his first week as mayor.
this is something we needed to get done," the mayor said.
He added, "It
was apparent during the discussion and subsequent votes on the matter
that many council members were acutely aware of the area resident's
concerns about the development and possible congestion and disruption
which they thought would result from it.
take steps to protect the neighborhood and residents of it with
heightened landscaping and buffering between the dealership and
said the development reaffirms Ganley's right to develop the property
via the city-approved plans. But the agreement does not require
the city to rezone any part of the residential portion of the split-zoned
property as initially requested by Ganley.
settlement limits Ganley's use of the residential portions of the
property to parking, vehicle storage and underground water retention.
the agreement is fair to Ganley as well.
remember that the development plans had been reviewed and approved
by all of the city's boards and commissions," the mayor said. "It
was the vote on the split-zoning which stopped it. A lot of people
at Ganley and in the city worked hard on trying to find a good and
Council President Michael Gareau Jr., who is chairman of the building
and development committee and helped work on compromises, said the
settlement maintains the spirit of that work.
something which would provide a strong element of protection for
the residents of the area while also recognizing the work Ganley
has done," Gareau said.
previous beliefs that zoning and property conditions for the city
have changed since the property was originally zoned.
different 50 years later and the city and people have to recognize
that," Gareau said. "We need to have a strong element of planning
in our development of the city. We can't just have things thrown
together without considering the impact on the community, the neighborhood
and the businesses."
the agreement also is beneficial because it fully releases the city
from all claims for liability or damages that Ganley may have filed
against the city. The settlement is binding on the city, Ganley
and all future owners of the property.
Law Director Jim Dubelko said it's a very good settlement for the
the efforts of the city's insurance defense counsel, Ganley's attorneys,
and key members of city council for working together with the city
law department to support this settlement," Dubelko said.
the city against liability in a disputed zoning matter," he added.
Dubelko also said the settlement "preserves the authority of city
council to decline to rezone residential portions of split-zoned
properties in the city to more intensive zoning uses and provides
for a development which, as approved, will adequately buffer residential
property owners from the project's adverse impacts."