The Take 5 car wash proposed for Blackwood-Clementon road in Gloucester Township was denied by the Zoning Board at their December meeting.
42Freeway first bought plans of this new car wash to readers back in September of 2022. The parent company asking for the approval is Boing US Holdco.
The property is currently home to a United Check Cashing facility (in the front section along Blackwood-Clementon Rd.). It is directly next to the Republic Bank, and immediately across the side street (Dartmouth Dr.) is the Filomena Cucina Italian restaurant.
If approved Take 5 would have been the third car wash for Blackwood-Clementon Rd in a 1/2 mile stretch.
To the East a new ModWash has mostly completed it’s construction, and an existing car wash (Aces) is to the West.
This application went to the Zoning Board instead of the Planning Board as there were several requested variances needed to make the project work within the property.
While it’s only a month later since the hearing, the Zoning Board has already published their resolution and details around the denial, which much of this commentary is based on. (Nice job GT!)
The Conditional Use Variances requested (reformatted from the Zoning Board documents)
- does not have a 50” buffer to a residential property only 33’ provided and to have a retention basin in the buffer that is not allowed.
- Preliminary and Final site and bulk variances to permit a 4.42 sf directional sign where 4” is permitted.to permit 11 facade signs where 2 are permitted
- permit a total of 415.42 sf of façade signage where 100 sf is permitted.
- And waiver regarding:
- not having an irrigation system.
- number of required trees
- landscape screening and street trees
- lighting levels
- lighting at property line
- number of access points
- one-way entrance drive width
- basin buffering
During the hearing there were several experts speaking in support of the project including a project manager, professional engineer, professional planner and a traffic engineer.
Filomena’s Restaurant also attended the meeting with several representatives. The restaurant’s ownership is against the approval of the car wash at the site.
Take 5 Project Presentation
Boing USA (Take 5) presented first, outlining the project, and requested variances.
It was stated that Take 5 operates 355 facilities in the United States, with a membership model as part of the offerings.
They are open seven days a week from 7 to 7 and in the warmer months they do extend their hours longer.
The Take 5 professional engineer testified about the site. There were some pre-existing conditions related to a slightly smaller property size.
There will be 13 vacuum stations with the motors underground, and the area would have a lighting of 10 to 15 candles.
A traffic engineer spoke and said that the project would not increase traffic on the area roadways.
A professional planner spoke who testified that the site is particularly suited for this use.
In reviewing the project, they stated they do not meet the 50 foot buffer to the residential property line and they are including the basin within the buffer area which is not permitted. These are part of the requested variances.
Additionally the site requires one acre of land as well as 150 feet frontage, but the proposed car wash property is about 10-15% smaller in both aspects. Otherwise, they met all other setback requirements.
She stated that the area is surrounded by commercial uses and the ingress and egress would be on the side street, Dartmouth Ave. She also spoke to the signage requests and felt that it was not a detriment or negative impact on the area.
In the public portion an attorney representing Filomena’s restaurant (which is located across the street on the side) raised questions regarding the noise from the vacuums, and the two side entrances for the car wash.
It was stated that the applicant did not have decibel readings for the car wash noise.
Take 5 Opposition
The owner of Filomena Restaurant spoke and questioned the need for three car washes within 1/2 mile of each other. The restaurant had spent $200,000 on an outside addition and the car wash would be 50 to 60 feet away. The concern is the noise and smell from the vehicles waiting to be washed. The owner also had questions related to the amount of traffic on Dartmouth Ave. during peak times.
The restaurant’s representatives summarized that that the purposes of Zoning were not met by the applicant.
The 50-foot buffer requirements to the residential property lines were not met, and the use of the basin as part of the buffer leaves no real buffer to the houses.
The applicant proposes four trees instead of the required 9 and the illumination for the property will be much greater than what zoning allows. The planner also called out that the 11 facade signs are 5 1/2 the number per minute in zoning, and some are 45% greater than required.
She said the site is challenging and did not see how it was going to function, plus trash truck pickups will have to back into the vacuum area which is very tight.
Zoning Board Decision – Denial
With all the information presented, the board made a motion to deny the application, and all seven board members voted in favor of the denial motion.
The zoning board’s final summary included that they could not grant the application without substantial detriment to the public good and otherwise without impairing the intent and purpose of the zoning plan and ordinance of the Township.
Key concerns were the inadequate buffering to the residential property and surrounding properties, and they were very concerned about the amount of noise produced, and the impact on surrounding properties.
The applicant requested multiple variances and waivers and as a result the lot appears insufficient to accommodate this use.
We do not know at this time if parent company Boing USA plans on appealing.
Take 5 is also working on an Oil Change facility on Blackwood-Clementon Rd (Lindewold) and in Brooklawn they are working on a Car Wash and separate Oil Change facility on Rt 130.
Links and Locations
Links and Location
Take 5 Car Wash – Blackwood (Denied)
1390 Blackwood Clementon Road
Gloucester Township New Jersey