A Washington resident Monday questioned the process that allowed for a car wash to be located near the subdivision where he lives.
Ken Washburn told the Washington City Council that many residents of the Stone Crest subdivision are “upset” about the Tiger Express Wash under construction on East Fifth Street at Highway 100.
“What are the procedures approving a project of this magnitude and this visibility?” Washburn asked.
The business will front Fifth Street but its access will be off of Willows Court.
Washburn noted the many historic buildings in Washington.
“To put something that obscene on a highly visible corner is almost saying, ‘Welcome to Washington the car wash capital of the world,’ ” Washburn added.
He stated there are about seven car washes now in the city. Another car wash will open this month to the east on Highway 100.
“Let’s make sure you understand — we can’t prevent any business from coming into town as long as they follow code,” said Councilman Jeff Mohesky. “It doesn’t matter if there are 18 car washes.
“The market will dictate whether all seven (car washes) will stay,” he later stated.
Washburn questioned if there are standards or regulations governing where businesses are located, and how the buildings look.
City Administrator Darren Lamb said the city zoning codes dictate what businesses can operate in zoning districts.
He added the city’s engineering department must approve building plans. In this case the car wash will be located in a C-2 zoning district, which allows for this type of business.
“It is not subject to go to public hearing or through the planning and zoning board,” Lamb said.
He added that there are businesses that do not fit into specific zoning codes then must apply for a special use permit.
Lamb stated there is a historic district in Downtown Washington which requires additional scrutiny and review, but that does not apply in this situation.
He noted there have been times that residents were unhappy with a business due to its building color or architecture.
For example, the city heard complaints about the blue exterior of a NAPA auto parts store when it first located on High Street many years ago, according to Lamb.
Washburn claims the rendering on site differs from the plans previously stated.
Lamb said there is no architectural review by the city, as long as the building meets codes and plans are approved by city staff, it does not matter what the rendering shows.
Compliments to City
Prior to expressing disappointment about the car wash, Washburn complimented the city and council.
Washburn and his wife, Sally, moved to Washington in 2008 after living in seven different states and many cities in 45 years.
“This is the most well managed, responsive and cooperative city we have ever encountered,” he said.
Washburn said he and Sally have made more friends in the past decade than in any other city where they have lived.
“I hope that puts things in perspective,” he said. “In case you don’t realize what a great job you are doing.”