F’ville Council overturns mayor’s veto; car wash OK’d

Fayetteville Council votes to overturn mayor's veto. Photo/Ben Nelms.

A May 1 vote by the Fayetteville City Council approved the proposed Tidal Wave car wash on Ga. Highway 85 at Ga. Highway 314 on a 4-1 vote. A subsequent veto by Mayor Greg Clifton was overturned by the council on June 5, also on a 4-1 vote.

The council first approved the Tidal Wave automated car wash rezoning from C-2 (community commercial) to C-3 (highway commercial). A special exception allowing a car wash on the property also passed on a 4-1 vote. Councilman Ed Johnson in both cases voted in opposition. The votes did not include closing the curb cut on Hwy. 85 agreed to by applicant Scott Blackstock.

A third vote on May 1 dealt with a setback variance that was denied on a 4-1 vote.

Commenting on why he vetoed the approvals, Clifton said that though he did want the curb cut closure on Hwy. 85, he thought the city could do better than having a car wash at that location. Clifton also noted the expectation that a Tax Allocation District (TAD) project would redevelop the entire commercial area that extends some distance to the south.

The June 5 motion to override the vetoes on the rezoning and special exception were followed by a 4-1 vote on each item. As before, Johnson was the lone opposing vote.

Both Blackstock and attorney Hakim Hilliard, representing opponents of the car wash, were given significant time to re-state their positions on the proposal.

Blackstock on June 5 maintained that the owner of a competing car wash had spent significant money to fight his automated car wash proposal while attorney Hakim Hilliard, who spoke in opposition to the project, alluded to the potential for a lawsuit if the proposal was approved.

Concerning the idea of adding the curb cut in an updated motion, Hilliard said the council “can’t add conditions without starting the process over.”

The 1.3-acre property was the former site of a Shoney’s restaurant and was subsequently operated as a Hooters restaurant, the Onyx restaurant and the American Family Buffet. The building is currently vacant.

Blackstock, both at the June 5 meeting and on previous occasions, presented numerous reasons why the location would be well-served with what he termed a quality operation that would serve as a gateway to the city, complete with a water structure and landscaping.

Citing what he said were flawed procedural issues, Hilliard in a May 5 letter responded to the council’s May 1 votes by asking Clifton to veto the rezoning and special exception approvals.

There has been only one mayoral veto in recent memory, according to city staff.