Shrinking plans for West Chester car wash meet another hurdle

Developer Steiner + Associates has updated its proposal for a site along Liberty Way across the street from Liberty Center. The proposal switches gears for the site, changing plans for a 50,000-square-foot retail center to a 4,000-square-foot Flying Pig Carwash. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG / STAFF
Developer Steiner + Associates has updated its proposal for a site along Liberty Way across the street from Liberty Center. The proposal switches gears for the site, changing plans for a 50,000-square-foot retail center to a 4,000-square-foot Flying Pig Carwash. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG / STAFF

A developer that submitted a major plan change for a car wash hit a speed bump this week.

Columbus-based Steiner + Associates recently filed an application with the West Chester Twp. planning department to change plans for a development along Liberty Way, seeking to garner approval for a 5.3-acre portion of land that would include a $5 million Flying Pig Carwash.

Last July, Steiner requested final development plan approval for the site, which was presented as part of a development planned to include space for retail, restaurants, office and apartments.

The zoning commission, during that hearing, decided that the final development plan could not be approved.

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“July was Step 2 of the process,” said Aaron Wiegand, West Chester’s community development director. “It was deemed not close enough to the approved Step 1 on file. So Steiner sought to create a new Step 1.”

Emilie Parry, owner and CEO, previously said the business Flying Pig Carwash would be the “Taj Mahal” of car and pet washes and use “the best technology.”

Despite Steiner detailing modifications to the plans, including access points to accommodate traffic, during Monday night’s zoning commission meeting, neighbors said they continue to oppose the project because of the noise and traffic they say it would generate.

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Zoning commission members voted 4- 1 Monday to recommend denial to the West Chester Board of Trustees. Trustees are expected to consider the matter March 10 during a regularly scheduled board meeting.

Steiner officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Zoning commission members at the end of Monday’s meeting cited concerns about traffic and noise. Commissioner Richard Grow said the plan, as submitted, was not consistent with what was planned for the development and not consistent with the welfare of township residents.

Commission member Jim Williams, the dissenting vote, said the development “isn’t specifically for the residents.”

“All those businesses are for the population in this region,” he said, noting that residents of the cities of Mason, Hamilton and other communities are customers of numerous businesses in the Liberty Way area, not just West Chester residents.

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Williams said “from a zoning perspective,” he believes the plan still meets the ordinance.

“What I’m a little concerned about is traffic and the noise, but I’ve lived here in West Chester for 30 years,” he said. “Change is evitable. Any improvement on what I consider to be barren land, land that’s not even landscaped, it’s not cared for, is improvement.”

While change is inevitable, how the township goes about changing is important, Williams said.

Williams said he hears the concern about having a car wash at that location, but the Flying Pig Carwash is “a state-of-the-art looking” facility.

“I don’t know how it actually sounds or how it would actually look, but I have a problem when I hear people talk about the apartment buildings and (how) they would turn into something else,” he said. “There are apartment buildings right here on Cincinnati Dayton Road that have been here probably 35 to 40 years and they’re still beautiful, so that’s not an excuse. It’s how people care for their property and maintain this community, that’s what makes West Chester special and that’s why I’ve been here for 30 years.”