West Chester trustees scrub Mike’s Carwash plan

The West Chester Twp. trustees have scrubbed another car wash plan for the township’s northern gateway because it doesn’t fit in with their development plan — they were sued the last time a car wash wanted to come.

Mike’s Carwash submitted plans to build a new facility along Veterans Boulevard and Liberty Way down the road from the major Freedom Pointe development that includes a new Costco under construction in Liberty Twp. The project would require a major change to the township’s commercial planned unit development district that imagined medical or office uses for that area.

The township was sued two years ago by the owner of the “state-of-the-art” Flying Pig Carwash after the trustees quashed those plans for a location on Liberty Way closer to Liberty Center. The suit was dismissed shortly after it was filed.

Trustee Lee Wong said the car wash doesn’t comport with their plans for that area and he especially didn’t like the fact the developers want to erect a large off-site sign. The site is tucked back from the road but they wanted a sign at the corner of Liberty Way and Cox roads.

“The property is not on the main road and they want a sign on the main road, I have problems with that,” Wong said. “Then you will have signs all over the place like certain townships near us in Hamilton, Colerain Twp. There are signs everywhere, polluted. West Chester is a premier township and I’d like to see we keep it that way.”

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Trustee Ann Becker at first said she was willing to allow the Mike’s since the character of the whole area is changing.

“We’re adding retail on Liberty Way, it’s become a bit of a different environment over there than the vision that they had in 2017,” Becker said. “This was tough to think through but I think this Mike’s Carwash is a good fit for that retail area, I don’t think it’ll be any different from what’s going there now.”

After the sign discussion she asked if they could put conditions on their approval that would ban the off-site sign and was told they could.

Trustee Mark Welch agreed with Wong that the carwash is not a proper use in that area.

“If we want to maintain the spirit of what we intended that that area to be, for a medical office building or class A office and car washes were expressly forbidden,” Welch said and quoted the zoning commission. “given all consideration in regard to existing conditions the proposed use in relation to the surrounding character and the overall general welfare of the township, the zoning commission recommended denial.”

Wong said perhaps in a few years, after the Costco development is build out, they can revisit the request. Community Development Director Aaron Wiegand said they can’t submit identical plans but can make modifications and refile.

All three voted to deny the project, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past couple months is we don’t have to rush into anything,” Becker said.

Welch told the Journal-News he isn’t concerned they will be sued by Mike’s Carwash over the issue and if they are, they have the recommendation by the zoning commission and their land use plans to back them.

“I’m not worried about them suing. If they did sue us it would be unfortunate and we’d have to go through that process,” Welch said. “But I think we probably have a good basis for denying it. One of their arguments was that this PUD was put in place back in 2017 and basically the way the area is currently be developed, particularly in Liberty Twp. that it was old and needed to be revised. It wasn’t that long ago it wasn’t liek we did it back in 2000.”

The Journal-News reached out to Mike’s Carwash for comment but they couldn’t be reached.

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