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Neighbors in Lather Over Proposed Car Wash

Residents in a south Raleigh neighborhood, including a church, are fighting to keep a car wash from opening in the area.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Residents in a south Raleigh neighborhood, including a church, are fighting to keep a car wash from opening  in the area.

Tim Robinson wants to put a self-serve car wash at the intersection of Tryon and Trailwood roads, but nearby residents and two citizen advisory councils, also known as CACs, don't want the business to locate there.

“I just anticipate this becoming a crime magnet,” said Mary Belle Pate of the Southwest Raleigh Citizens Advisory Council.

Neighbors are concerned the Pit Stop Auto Spa will become a hangout and that vacuums and radios will be too loud. Car washes have a place in commercial areas, not by homes, they said.

“Most of the car washes we have found and researched are not in residential areas. They are surrounded at least on three sides by major roads and in commercial areas,” said Elizabeth Byrd of the West Raleigh Citizens Advisory Council.

Robinson said his car wash would have security cameras and automatic doors to close the bays after 11p.m. Police have not had crime problems at other area car washes, he said, adding that he thinks the Pit Stop Auto Spa would be beneficial for new residents in that part of town.

“I don't think we'll have that big of a hangout at a car wash that closes at 10 or 11 o'clock, and I'm willing to work with the CAC to shorten hours,” Robinson said. “I want to be a good neighbor too, and I want it developed.”

The issue is being discussed by the council's Comprehensive Planning Committee. A vote is expected in two weeks, and it would then go before the full council for a final decision.

In 2005, the City Council turned down plans for a car wash at a site off Rock Quarry Road, despite that fact that it met all city regulations. The petitioner sued, and the city lost the battle in court.

If the Pit Stop Auto Spa meets guidelines and leaders still vote against it, there could be another legal challenge.

Some council members said it's time to change the city ordinance and require more than 100 feet between homes and car washes.

“While we are trying to address our ever-growing community, we need to be still cognizant of those conflicts,” Councilman Thomas Crowder said.


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