The Woodstock City Council held a public hearing at its most recent meeting regarding an application for a conditional use permit for a car wash on Ridgewalk Parkway.

Located on a parcel of land zoned neighborhood commercial and located east of The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, City Planner Niwana Ray said this property was located just across Ridgewalk Parkway from a site that had been approved for a conditional use permit to allow for a car wash, but nothing had ever been built on the site and the permit lapsed.

“The request is for a 4,300 square foot drive-through automated car wash, 34 self-service vacuum stations,” Ray said. “The end user is Big Dan’s Car Wash. They currently have one location open in Georgia, and I believe there are eight or so other locations in development around the Southeast.”

When taking a closer look at the design plans and layout of the proposed development, Ray said the property was shaped in such a way that would allow the car wash building to be built with either the entrance or exit facing Ridgewalk Parkway. She also said that, following a great deal of discussion by city staff, the Development Process Committee was cautiously recommending approval, with a number of conditions, including that the permit would expire within 12 months if development plans had not been approved, the property would be used solely for a car wash and that no outdoor hand washing of vehicles would be allowed. Although the DPC had put forth a recommendation for approval, the Planning Commission recommended denial of the permit.

Adding to what Ray said, the applicant’s representative stressed that there would not be any interior area at the car wash selling items and reminded the council the site would not have direct access to Ridgewalk Parkway. To help control any potential noise issues, it was explained that the vacuum system would be enclosed to reduce noise. The applicant also wanted to request modifying one of the conditions put forth by the city, allowing for the building to be retrofitted to house a different kind of business instead of being torn down should the car wash close. Other than that, the applicant had no issue with any of the conditions the DPC had recommended.

No area residents signed up to speak during the public hearing, but the council did have questions about the application.

“While you were doing your presentation, you showed this oil change facility (being proposed next door),” Councilman David Potts said. “Is that going to take place?”

The applicant’s representative said he was unsure about this, but Ray responded that a potential developer reached out to the city several months earlier, expressing an interest in putting an oil change facility there.

“I don’t know that I am opposed to it with the understanding that the (permit) that was originally approved across the street has expired and we don’t run the risk of having car washes across from one another. I like this design better and that there is less visibility from the street,” Councilman Warren Johnson said. “I’m a little bit on the fence.”

Mayor Pro Tem Colin Ake said he was also torn on this case, especially with regard to whether this use was compatible with other uses in the surrounding area.

After the public hearing was closed and discussion had concluded, Potts put forth a motion to deny the permit, which was seconded by Councilman Brian Wolfe, but failed. A follow-up motion was then made by Johnson and seconded by Councilwoman Tracy Collins to approve the request with the conditions put forth by city staff. The motion passed in a 3-2 vote of the council, with Potts and Wolfe dissenting.

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