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Wed August 13, 2014
Council approves settlement of lawsuit
The Greenville City Council voted Tuesday to settle a federal lawsuit, filed by the owner of a local car wash which had been the source of hundreds of noise complaints last summer.
The city will pay Carlos Limones $30,000 under the settlement, reached late last month in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas. In return, Limones will drop his claim there was a conspiracy on the part of city officials against his business along FM 1570 in Greenville.
Council member Dan Perkins noted that the settlement found there was no fault on the part of either party.
“This is the resolution of a doubtful claim, or a disputed claim,” Perkins said.
Limones has already completed improvements to the car wash, which the city had sought, to decrease the noise coming from the facility, following complaints from residents in the surrounding neighborhood.
In September 2013, the council authorized City Attorney Daniel Ray to proceed with the agreement with Limones.
“This is the settlement that was reached in September,” Ray said Tuesday.
Limones had filed his suit in response to the city’s plans to file an injunction against the car wash, which was never filed.
The agreement was finalized July 29 in the court of federal Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn. Under the terms of the agreement, in return for a payment of $30,000, Limones would drop the suit against the city. The agreement specified that Limones and the city had split the cost of approximately $41,000 to install a fence and blower remediation equipment at the car wash.
The car wash is no longer considered in violation of the city’s noise ordinance and is listed as a valid nonconforming use under the ordinance.
Perkins said the city took action following the complaints filed by the residents of the adjacent neighborhood.
“There were people who couldn’t go to sleep at night ... who were in a horrible situation night and day,” Perkins said.
Limones filed his suit against the city, Ray, Perkins, Police Chief Daniel Busken, Assistant Police Chief Scott Smith and several individuals from the neighborhood, following the filing of approximately 789 misdemeanor counts in connection with the use of a blow dryer in each of two automatic drive-through bays at the car wash.
In his suit, Limones claimed the charges were the result of a conspiracy on the part of the city, acting through Ray, Perkins, Busken, Smith and the neighborhood residents, in retaliation for his refusal to settle the dispute “on terms they dictated to him.”
Perkins said the money to be paid to Limones will come out of insurance proceeds.
“Not a penny of taxpayer money went for it,” Perkins said. “There was no evidence of any racial animosity against the owner of this business.”