ESCONDIDO, Calif. — According to www.sandiegouniontribune.com, in a 3-2 vote May 23rd, the Escondido city council voted that those seeking to build carwashes in the city will now have to go through a more rigorous, costly and time-consuming application and permit process.
The decision was designed to discourage more carwashes from coming to the city, as there are already 29 in operation, the article continued.
The vote requires that future applications for carwashes go through a conditional-use permit system in zones where such uses have been permitted up to this point without planning commission and city council approval, the article noted.
All five council members agreed that there should be more regulations, but they disagreed on whether or not one particular applicant should be exempt, the article stated.
Council members Olga Diaz, John Masson and Ed Gallo said Neil Capin — who began the permitting process a year ago to build a full-service carwash at a vacant skating rink — should be exempt, the article added; Mayor Sam Abed and council member Mike Morasco said he should not.
Earlier this year, Capin was told that his application was essentially approved, but then the city placed a moratorium on all carwash applications until it could put in new regulations, the article added.
Capin stated at the time that it was unfair to single him out and that changing the rules at the last minute was egregious and would not reflect well on the city, according to the article.
“I hope someone makes a motion to grandfather and uphold my approval,” Capin said. “It is the fair thing to do. To not do so would send a worrisome message to others willing to invest in Escondido.”
Abed said that by voting unanimously for the moratorium, the council had already indicated that Capin’s application would have to be redone according to the new planning process, as would all future applications, the article continued.
“You are contradicting the vote you took [three] weeks ago,” Abed said. “Now you are undermining those five votes.”
But others who voted for the moratorium said they did so while not intending to include Capin’s application, the article stated.
“We’ve worked really hard to have a reputation of being business-friendly,” Diaz said. “We’re kind of shooting ourselves in the foot. What business wants more than anything is predictability and stability and estimated time lines and rules they can follow. When we change the rules for anybody in the middle of a process, it does send a ripple effect.”
Masson added, “I’m not super-fond of having new carwashes, either, but he went through our process, he got to a point where we were ready to approve him, and for us to pull the carpet out and have him run through the [conditional-use permit system] — I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”
Gallo agreed, the article noted.
Capin plans to incorporate all the design features that the planning department wants into his carwash, the article continued.
The new regulations will also allow the council to consider what economic benefits carwashes bring to the city, the article stated, as it has been trying to bring higher-end, better-paying businesses to Escondido.
Capin said that his carwash will definitely help the city’s economy because the current property brings in nothing and has been a homeless magnet for years, the article added.
The council also voted to put in similar regulations for self-storage units, of which there are currently 17 facilities in the city with three more planned, the article concluded.
Read the original article here.