Stow City Council hoping to cut back on new car washes

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 10:36 PM EDT
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STOW, Ohio (WOIO) - Anytime a new business opens in Stow, people hold their breath and cross their fingers.

“We kind of joke about it because when you see something new being built it’s likely either a car wash or a Mexican restaurant at this point,” said resident Jessica Mitchell. “So we’d really like to see other things come in now.”

“They’re popping up everywhere,” said Bob Cumpston.

Currently, there are 10 washes within Stow city limits. Some are full-size, some are self-service, and others are attached to gas stations.

“I can see where the same kind of business on way too many street corners could be an issue,” said John Arther.

The Stow City Council passed an 18-month ban on them in 2021. On April 29th that ban will expire.

City Council President Jeremy McIntire wants to extend it six more months. He said that would give the planning commission time to look at the carwash legislation the council hopes to pass.

If it passes, the city will not allow more than one car wash per 10,000 residents. According to the most recent U.S. Census Stow has a little more than 34,000 people.

“You can only use so many car washes at once, so I think that makes sense,” said Mitchell.

“Yeah, I think there’s a point to where it’s more than enough so I would be in favor of some type of limit,” Arther agreed.

“If there needs to be a limit, I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” said Cumpston. “I mean I don’t wanna stand online waiting for it. I’ll just drive on by, go to another city.”

The legislation would only allow new car washes as an accessory to gas stations.

“I think that by taking up space that other businesses could come into it just poses a challenge for people that might’ve otherwise purchased or leased the land that they’re using,” Mitchell said. “The fact that it can’t really be repurposed for other things easily too if they go out of business makes it a bit of a challenge.”

The city council president said no existing car washes will have to close if this proposed legislation passes.

The city will vote on extending the moratorium at the council meeting on Wednesday.

The public hearing on these car wash regulations will happen on April 27th.