Planners: car wash at PTC's entrance should be elsewhere
Plan needs variance to Hwy. 54 setback, likely a tough sell to City Council
A proposal to build an environmentally-friendly car wash at the corner of
MacDuff Parkway and Ga. Highway 54 in Peachtree City wasn’t well-received at the Dec. 15 Planning Commission meeting.
Beyond the incongruence of putting a car wash at a prominent location, several adjacent professional tenants opposed the plan.
The developer will need a variance to move forward, however, and historically the City Council has been extremely stingy in awarding approval to “bend” any of the city’s various development regulations.
The planning commission discussed the matter during a workshop session, so no vote was taken.
Dr. John Henahan, who has an optometrist practice right next door to the proposed car wash, worried that a host of vacuums would make a tremendous amount of noise while he and his staff examine patients.
“That noise will go straight through to my exam rooms all day long,” Henahan said.
Henahan also questioned how the car wash would affect parking, as there is currently barely enough parking spaces for his staff, patients and customers of other adjacent businesses.
He also predicted noise problems from loud music cranked up by car wash patrons as they vacuum their vehicles.
“Unless you have the world’s most sort of gestapo-like attendants constantly telling people to turn down the radio, I anticipate loud music also coming into my office,” Henahan said.
Dr. Reid Roberts, a dentist who works on the other side of Henahan’s from the proposed car wash, said if the car wash proposal comes to fruition, there could be unintended consequences among the current businesses in the area.
“I won’t be there when my lease is up,” Roberts said. “... If you want to trade a car wash for a dentist, I will go somewhere else in Peachtree City. It’s just unfortunate that this could come to pass.”
Larry Sussberg, owner of Huntington Learning Center, said he worried about the massive amount of traffic the car wash could generate when his business involves children being dropped off and picked up by their parents.
“There will be a potential for a serious accident involving a child,” Sussberg said.
Sussberg, a former member of the planning commission, also noted the increasing amount of traffic on MacDuff Parkway and the need to consider aesthetics in the area also.
“This is the gateway to the city,” he said. “Does the city want a car wash at the gateway to the city? ... To me, this is too big for the space that it’s in.”
The car wash developer has proffered two proposals, both of which would need a variance. The first proposal has a small portion of the drive and parking area within the 30-foot landscape buffer along Ga. Highway 54 West; the second plan extends further into the buffer but orients the building to comply with the requirements of the design guidelines adopted for the Hwy. 54 West corridor, according to a staff memo on the topic.
Several commissioners suggested the developer find a more suitable site for the project than the corner of Hwy 54 and MacDuff Parkway.
Commissioner Joe Frazar said he has been through a similar car wash before and he thinks the operation was “well handled and well policed.”
“But I don’t think that’s the right place for it,” Frazar said. “... I think there are other places more appropriate in our city.”
Commissioner David Conner agreed.
“The location is not quite right,” Conner said. “And if your direct neighbor is against it, you probably are not going to get a variance.”
Commissioner Horace Batiste said his greatest concern was for keeping smooth traffic flow in the area.
A spokesman for the car wash developer said the car wash was intended mostly for use by customers who are already in the area, thus it won’t draw a tremendous amount of traffic beyond what is already there.
The car wash includes an automated system that allows vehicles to go through a tunnel for three minutes to clear the car’s exterior, and the facility would recycle between 80 and 90 percent of the water used, a spokesperson said.