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Carwash seeks to lift natural features protection from site

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — According to www.mlive.com, Drive and Shine, an Indiana company that recently opened a multimillion-dollar carwash in Kalamazoo, is working to open a second carwash in the town.

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However, the company first wants the city to remove its natural features protection overlay on the plot of land where the carwash would be built, which is adjacent to the Asylum Lake Preserve, the article continued.

The Natural Features Protection (NFP) Area overlay is a recent designation that Kalamazoo created to protect certain natural features at development sites, the article noted.

The city planning commission will consider the request, as well as a rezoning request, at its meeting on Jan. 14th, the article added.

NFP overlays were established in certain parts of the city with natural features, such as wetlands and slopes, and thus requires developers to follow criteria to lessen the impact to these natural features, the article noted.

Citizens and members of the Asylum Lake Preservation Association spoke out against the change the remove the protection and rezone the property, and City of Kalamazoo staff also recommended the protection removal request be denied, the article continued.

“Any removal of the NFP overlay would be a complete contradiction to the recently approved Climate Emergency Resolution and a gross violation of our city’s commitment to protecting our natural resources,” states a letter from the Asylum Lake Preservation Association written on Jan. 3rd.

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The Oakland Drive/Winchell Neighborhood Association submitted a letter in opposition to the rezoning and NFP removals requests, the article noted.

One resident, Nancy Elmers, wrote a letter expressing her concerns, which said, “I’ve lived here 30 years, and during that time I’ve watched with sadness as our green spaces have diminished one by one. To see this one fragmented, encroached by noise and other kinds of pollution, thinned of trees and threatened with exposure to busy streets and commercial properties would be heartbreaking indeed.”

The planning commission staff report states, “The request to rezone the parcels to CC Community Commercial is in alignment with the 2025 Master Plan and supports the commercial development envisioned. The request to remove the NFP Overlay District is not consistent.”

The planning commission and the city commission both denied the applicant’s previous requests to remove the NFP Overlay District from the property, the article added.

Drive and Shine CEO Haji M. Tehrani, though he declined to comment on the more recent NFP issue, spoke to the Kalamazoo City Commission in May, opposing the NFP district overlay on his property, which he said would render his property “useless for commercial development.”

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Drive and Shine is based in Granger, Indiana, and operates seven carwash locations, the article concluded.

Read the original story here.

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