Planners recommend approval of car wash amendment

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 16, 2011 - 04:52 PM

Plans for a car wash in Mathews Court House moved ahead a step Tuesday night when the Mathews County Planning Commission voted unanimously to send a request for a zoning text amendment on to the board of supervisors with a recommendation for approval. The vote was taken after a joint public hearing with the board of supervisors.

Billy Cook of Mathews, plans to place a car wash with one touchless automatic bay and three self-service bays at the site of a former auto repair business at Hyco Corner. A car wash is a by-right use in the Business-2 District, but Cook requested that the definition of a car wash in the zoning ordinance be changed to remove requirements for limited hours of operation and an onsite operator at all times.

Mathews resident Judy Castleman raised a concern about overflow from the proposed business. She said that when there’s a car wash at Hardee’s, which is on the opposite corner, there are algal blooms afterward on Put-In Creek. She suggested that there be strict requirements against fertilizers at the car wash. She also said she was concerned about traffic.

Cook said that recyclable, biodegradable chemicals would be used at the car wash and that the water would be emptied into the main sewer line. He estimated that the car wash would serve 35 cars per day, and pointed out that an auto repair shop located at the site in the early 1990s had 50 to 60 cars a day when it was doing inspections.

"I think we’ll have less traffic now," he said.

In other business, commission member Emily Gibson asked planner Chris Ingram for an update on a proposal by HARC LLC to redevelop the Christie Auto Service property for mixed residential and retail use.

Last month, the commission asked the department of planning and zoning to begin developing zoning changes to address the issues such a development would raise. However, Ingram said there had been a misunderstanding between developer Walter Alford and the department of planning and zoning about the number of dwelling units being proposed, and that the planning department was "back to square one" on such issues as setbacks and parking standards. She said that staff would have some proposals at next month’s meeting.