CRA board hears plans for new Downtowner Car Wash
Downtowner Car Wash owners appeared before the CRA Commission Monday night following the City Council meeting at City Hall with a proposed development for their third location in Cape Coral.
It amounted to a courtesy presentation since the proposed site for the car wash is located outside the CRA’s core area on Cape Coral Parkway next to Ford’s Garage. If approved as a special exception to the city’s land use regulations, a blighted, vacant building on the property would be demolished and new structures erected similar to the state-of-the-art location on Pine Island Road.
“I decided to err on the side of caution on this one,” said CRA Chair Rana Erbrick. “I really don’t think this needs to come before this board because of its location. Do we really want to get involved in this kind of special exception plan?”
Downtowner owners Jay and Troy Montpetit told the board they had searched for over a year for an appropriate site in South Cape. They enlisted the help of city Economic Development Director Dana Brunett in finding this property and believe the project fits the current CRA vision plan.
Montpetit asked the board to make a positive recommendation to the Planning & Zoning Commission where the project will be reviewed within the next several weeks.
CRA Executive Director John Szerlag indicated that any recommendation from the board would require a formal analysis either by city staff or an outside consultant.
Commissioners followed Szerlag’s lead and withheld any recommendation, but did seem to favor the project moving forward.
The car wash would include a pet wash area that has become very popular at the Pine Island Road location, an express wash as well as full-service facility. The $4.5 million project, owners said, would draw people from all over the country to visit and study the operation just as they did before building on Pine Island Road.
“It would be used by customers all year long 364 days a year,” said Jay Montpetit. “We are environmentally friendly with LED lighting and a water reclamation system that uses one-third of the water used when washing a car at home. We also capture rain water from the roof to use in the wash process, energy saver switches and efficient motors.”
The project estimates to create 150 construction jobs and add 30 jobs to the Downtowner payroll. It also would generate more than $5,800 additionally for the CRA District from property tax revenues than the property as it stands now.
“We’d like to keep customers on this side of the river,” said Montpetit, “so they don’t go across the bridge to Fort Myers. Perhaps Fort Myers people would use our facility as well.”
By withholding a recommendation, the CRA members, made up of City Council members, preferred to wait for P&Z’s process and the project then goes before council for final approval.