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New car wash denied for lot near entrance to Montecito

Example of Detail Driven Car Wash (Source: Detail Driven website)

The St. Peters Board of Aldermen has denied a bill that would have authorized the construction of a Detail Driven Carwash on 1.12 acres of undeveloped land along Florence Drive, at its intersection with Hwy. 94 in St. Peters. Florence Drive is a main entrance to the Montecito residential development.

The land is zoned C-3 for commercial use. Such zoning also can include bars/taverns, gas stations, fast-food restaurants, sit-down restaurants, group homes, supermarkets, craft stores, strip malls, groomers and drug rehabilitation centers.

The proposed 5,000-square-foot, one-story, single-tunnel car wash would have been about 40 yards from the neighborhood’s entrance, next to an existing learning center/preschool, and across Florence Drive from the former Golds Gym building, soon to become the new home of JBloom Jewelry.

Aerial map of land for proposed car wash (Source: City of St. Peters)

Detail Driven Car Washes are operated in several locations around the U.S., with the nearest one off Route N in Lake Saint Louis.

City staff had recommended approval of the car wash, with conditions. However, at its April 7 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) had tabled the bill without making a recommendation to approve or deny.

On April 8, by a vote of 2 yes and 6 no, the St. Peters Board of Aldermen voted to deny Bill No. 21-23 that would have authorized an amended planned urban development (PUD) agreement with Golden Management – Montecito, to build and operate the car wash. 

Lot for proposed car wash (Source: City of St. Peters)

Nearby residents from Montecito had expressed concerns to P&Z via email and comments at a public hearing. Those concerns included too much noise; more difficult access from Route 94 into the Montecito development; possible vehicle back-up onto Florence Drive; lowered property values in the area; the impact on the daycare; drainage from the car wash into the area, including the pond; the number of existing car washes in the area; safety/after-hours loitering; and visual appearance.

Those same concerns were expressed by residents and the Montecito Homeowners Association during citizen comments at the April 8 board meeting prior to the vote.

Proposed new car wash location map (Source: City of St. Peters)

The Hwy. 94-Florence Drive intersection is under MoDOT jurisdiction, so P&Z contacted MoDOT for a review of residents’ concerns. That agency’s findings included making adjustments to the detection cameras controlling left-turn signal timing; however, no improvements were planned for the intersection itself, except replacing pavement next year. Flashing yellow arrows can not be installed due to traffic speed on Hwy. 94. 

MoDOT had been working with a Montecito homeowners’ association contact to collect resident concerns about the westbound left-turn concerns and intended to schedule an observation of the intersection based on the responses from residents. Given failure of the bill, those actions might or might not continue.

In addition, MoDOT had found that the city is not able to extend the turn bays on Florence Drive any farther back due to the southbound left-turn bay into the preschool, located directly south of the turn bays for the signal.  The preschool left-turn bay was installed due to safety concerns and its removal would create additional safety concerns.

If it had passed, the bill would have specified several conditions, including minimizing noise via sound baffling/mufflers; carwash dryers must face north or west unless they are enclosed with an overhead door that can be closed when activated; no vehicles may back-up onto Florence Drive or the Learning Center lot; light fixtures must be designed and positioned so that the bulb area is not visible from any residential properties; freestanding signs are limited to a maximum height of 20 feet and a maximum area of 100 square feet; the design and configuration of the lot and building must be substantial as shown in the site plan.

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