Simi Council upholds Planning Commission – Votes down Express Car Wash on East End of Town

By Debra Tash

At their May 2nd 2016 meeting the Simi Valley City Council heard an “appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision of CUP-S-758/TP-S-676 related to construction of a 2,035 square foot express car wash located at the northwest corner of Tapo Street and E. Cochran Street and the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring Plan therefor; and adoption of a resolution.”

The Commission’s decision had been unanimous against the project.

The Council had two avenues they could proceed on; overturn the Planning Commission’s January 27th, 2016 decision to nix the express car wash at the corner of Tapo and Cochran Streets or approve the applicant’s Conditional Use Permit.    The applicant, Nidal B. Azzi,  had made an effort to address the Commission’s objections to the project.   Water usage, quality of life of the nearby mobile home residents, the project being too close to a school zone, traffic impacts and use saturation, there are two full service car washes nearby.  Some of those changes are listed below:

former.gas.station.site of proposed car wash.4
The proposed express car wash would have been built on an empty lot.  The site had been empty for ten years since the Arco AM/PM Mini Mart had been closed and taken down.

former.gas.station.site of proposed car wash2

The property is zoned commercial and designated on the General Plan as retail/pedestrian.  However, as one of the applicants consultants pointed out at the hearing, retail is already over-saturated in the area as evidenced by the vacancies at the nearby shopping center.

Staff informed the Council that the intersection of Tapo and Cochran is operating at a Level A so no traffic study had required from the applicant.

Chris Collier, one of the consultants on the project, said the business would be the only express wash on the east side of town.  The closest express car wash is six miles away.

The project had 93 conditions attached to it, and there would have been $143,000 paid to the city fees to just build it.

Steve Sojka was the only one on the Council to change his opinion from when they first reviewed the proposal at their July 13th 2015 meeting.  He felt the applicant had adequately mitigated the projects negative impacts.

Still, that was not enough to save the express car wash. The Council voted 4 to 1 to uphold the Planning Commission’s decision to deny the Conditional Use Permit.

The Council also heard an update on the proposed Rim of the Valley which would expand the Santa Monica Recreational area by 170,000 acres under the National Park Service.  This was a result of a study that Congress initiated in 2010 to add outdoor recreational opportunities to nearby urban dwellers.  Simi Hills would be included in the park boundary along with the Tierra Rejada Valley.  Unless Congress acts to legislate the expansion the study findings will remain a recommendation, and will not be funded.

Mike Judge raised concerns about the loss of property rights to landowners inside and outside the park.  The Council instructed staff to monitor the proposal and to write to Congressman Steve Knight (whose district encompasses most of Simi Valley) about the Council’s issues.

 

simi.valley.rim.valley

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Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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