Woodward had made initial requests to place a new car wash on the property. The zoning board struck down the request due to worries over the increased traffic load in the area creating a hazardous traffic situation.
In response to the ruling Woodward and his attorney, James Logan, filed a lawsuit against the city in Chancery Court.
However, Friday an amendment to the initial plan, which Logan felt greatly reduced traffic flow stress, was presented to the board.
Logan stated if the amended plan was accepted by the Zoning Board, the lawsuit would be dropped.
“I want you to know — we are not interested in lawsuits. We are interested in doing business for Bradley County and for the City of Cleveland,” Logan explained.
Joel Beard, owner of the car wash on the northwest corner of 25th and Guthrie streets, called the Logan’s offer to drop the lawsuit in consideration of a different outcome “an intimidation tactic” that “set a bad precedent.”
“Just because a lawyer threatens to sue you and the city of Cleveland, and then muddies the waters a little bit with accusations and threats,” Beard stated. “I ask that you consider the fact that this is a traffic issue, will be a traffic issue and always has been a traffic issue, and that you deny this conditional use.”
The aforementioned accusations stem from Logan’s lawsuit. Logan’s suit alleges because Beard is indebted to the Bank of Cleveland and board member Clint Taylor is the grandson of the bank’s founder, there is a conflict of interest within the board, and Taylor should have abstained from voting.
Ben Moore, owner of the vacant property behind Raceway, also stated he felt the construction of a car wash on the corner would put a strain on traffic and would potentially block the expansion of the Cleveland Utilities offices.
City Council member Richard Banks said he felt the board should hold off on a decision until a study could be completed on the exact effect additional traffic would have on the proposed area, per the request of Tom Wheeler of Cleveland Utilities.
Logan said the lawsuit was not meant as an intimidation technique, but was only done to fight for the best interest of his client.
The initial motion to pass the conditional use of the property according to the changes made by Logan and his client was amended twice, to include the input from Wheeler and the stipulation the site must contain two exits; this was necessary before the motion could receive a second.
When the motion went to vote, it passed by a 3-2 margin.
“You’re going to have to live with it from now on. Boy this is going to be a mess,” stated Moore after the motion passed.