Planning board to consider permit for proposal to convert gas station to car wash

During their June 22 meeting, the city planning board will consider a request for a conditional use permit for the construction of a car wash at what has been the site of a gas station at 620 57th St. S.

The applicant, Set Five LLC, submitted the application for a CUP in February to allow “vehicular services” in the C-1 Neighborhood Commercial zoning district.

Car wash proposed for 57th Street

The application was initially scheduled for consideration at a March planning board meeting, but was pulled at the applicant’s request as they asked for a reduced landscape buffer to five feet from the code-required 15 feet along the north property line to allow for a larger turn radius within the site, according to the staff report.

The property is currently being used as a gas station that was developed in the 1960s, according to the staff report, and the applicant plans to remove the existing gas station features and develop a car wash with three self-wash bays, one auto wash bay and a potential dog washing station, as well as a possible dedicated space for a future electric car charging station.

“The applicant has stated the redevelopment is in response to changing economics due to competition of other gas stations in the area, but that the automotive nature of the site will remain consistent with its historical use,” according to the staff report.

The car wash in conditionally permitted in the zoning district under the city’s land use code.

Property owners have been notified of the project by mail, a sign was posted at the site and the meetings have been publicly noticed. To date, staff have received no comment regarding the proposed project.

City staff are recommending approval of the permit since the project will improve vehicular safety and functionality as well as the overall aesthetics of the site, according to the staff report.

“Because this site is an existing commercial property, the adaptive reuse of this underutilized property takes advantage of the city’s existing infrastructure, while also bringing a neighborhood commercial lot more into conformance with the city’s current land development code requirements,” according to the staff report.

The project will also include the installation of curb, gutter, sidewalks, and boulevard landscaping along 56th Street South and 7th Avenue South, and controlled access points along each street frontage.

The applicant has proposed a five foot buffer and construction of a six foot fence with plantings along the northern property line to screen the site from existing residences. That’s a reduction from the code required 15-foot buffer but  staff “concludes the proposed reduced buffer, in conjunction with the proposed fence and plantings is a reasonable plan to mitigate negative impacts to the residence to the north. In addition to the improvements of the north property line, the required boulevard improvements along 56th Street South will create a landscaped transition between the proposed car wash and the existing residences. The existing site does not have a landscaped boulevard along the western property line. These proposed improvements will improve the aesthetics of the property and soften the
transition into the existing neighborhood to the west,” according to the staff report.