ORANGE PARK – An ordinance that would have made changes to land development regulations, including expedited plans for a new car wash, died without a vote Tuesday night, June 4, during the Orange Park Town Council meeting.
On March 14, the town’s Planning and Zoning Board approved a recommendation to the town council to amend Section 2.04.00 of the Land Development Regulations pertaining to Table II.1. The amendment contained 10 regulation changes. When it came before the council on Tuesday, despite the recommendation to amend this section of town code, the council failed to garner a second, which means the motion died on the floor.
“No second?” Mayor Connie Thomas asked. “Then it fails.”
After the council made its way to the end of the agenda and to the council member reports and comments, Vice Mayor Alan Watt talked about car washes in Orange Park, shedding light why the motion failed.
“[Town Attorney Sam Garrison], what can we do about this car wash thing?” Watt asked. “Can we somehow pull this back and send it back to [Planning and Zoning] and [Environmental Quality Board]?”
After some clarification, Watt explained he was specifically referring to the car wash site plan that he said was recently rushed through for Plainfield Avenue and Kingsley Avenue without the Environmental Quality Board being involved.
“Our land development regulations are such that...if our regulations say that you as a property owner can utilize that property for a commercial purpose consistent with zoning and you go through the process of making a site plan that conforms with our [land development regulations], and planning and zoning says, ‘we may not like the use but...we believe that you’re lawfully allowed to use this under our laws,’ I don’t think there is much you can do,” Garrison said.
Watt said he believes the car wash can’t necessarily be disallowed in town, but he questioned if anything could be done about clearing of trees that’s part of the car wash plans.
“It’s another tree lot and the last thing we need around here is another clear-cut lot and another paved area,” Watt said.
Garrison responded and said if the site plan presented is consistent with the standards set by the town’s land development regulations, then there is nothing it can do to stop it.
It’s likely a new car wash will soon be making its way into Orange Park.
Later in the discussion, the council pondered on how to prevent this from happening in future cases. Garrison said they can create new laws that disallow businesses that use high volumes of water from opening as long as the law is non-discriminatory. For example, if a new laundromat used as much as water as a car wash, it wouldn’t be allowed, too.
Watt still wants to see what could be done about stopping future car washes, but Garrison said the town simply cannot single out a specific type of business.