OP changes zoning regulations for new car washes

By Wesley LeBlanc Staff Writer
Posted 8/7/19

ORANGE PARK – The Town Council voted Tuesday night to change car wash zoning to conditional use in commercial general districts.

Citizens expressed concern about having more than one car wash in …

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OP changes zoning regulations for new car washes

Posted

ORANGE PARK – The Town Council voted Tuesday night to change car wash zoning to conditional use in commercial general districts.

Citizens expressed concern about having more than one car wash in town, especially since Orange Park is less than four-square miles. Now that the town has two, some are pushing for a ban.

Town Attorney Sam Garrison said legally, zoning them for conditional use was proper.

“If the primary reason behind the concern is, ‘okay, we’ve surveyed the town and we have more car washes than we know what to do with,’ to the point where we think it’s becoming a net negative versus a net positive for the community, that’s why you make that a conditional use,” Garrison said. “That’s because one of the factors of conditional use is the service available already in the community. That’s one of the statutory factors that has to be looked at in order to grant conditional use.”

Garrison warned against a ban by saying while there are car washes in town today, there might be a day when there are none. The council then would have to amend its land development regulations to reallow car washes into the town’s zoning districts. Garrison also said it would be difficult to defend a ban.

A conditional use classification allows the council to consider requests on a case-by-case basis.

“We set the broad parameters with our future land use designation in the comprehensive plan and then with zoning designations that are placed on the property, and as part of the zoning code, the last kind of level of control we would have in select situations is a conditional use designation,” Garrison said. “It’s in your purview.”

Barbara Davidson asked why the council considered car washes for conditional use. Davidson also said Orange Park was at risk of becoming known as “car wash city” during the June 14 Planning and Zoning Board meeting last year.

“We will end up with four car washes,” Davidson said. “In December of last year, I said why don’t we have a moratorium like we did with service stations. It’s obvious you’re closing the barn door after the horse is out and nobody can be blamed for it except those of you who didn’t listen and recognize this problem.”

Danny Garcia said car washes should be conditional use in commercial intensive rather than commercial general.

“Here’s why: a car wash eats up land use for the circulation of the cars, for the parking, for the detailing and for the actual car wash system itself, and it doesn’t play well with the fact that (commercial intensive) allows us to get to 55 feet,” Garcia said. “The intent there is to have density and a car wash just doesn’t play well with that.”

Following the public hearing and council discussion, the council voted 5-0 to approve the second reading of the ordinance amending land development regulations, which included car-wash businesses.

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