Town Center gas station gets preliminary OK for car wash

Published on: 11/8/2011

Mequon - The Mequon Planning Commission approved a text amendment to the Town Center zoning code Monday night, which will allow the Town Market Mobil gas station the option of adding a car wash.

The Planning Commission approved an alternate version of the proposed text amendment, which will allow existing gas stations-specifically the Town Market Mobil-the ability to add a car wash.

When the Town Center zoning district was created, according to Assistant Director of Community Development Jac Zader, pedestrian friendliness was encouraged and drive thru type operations were forbidden.

"When we created the Town Center it was meant to be more of a distinct and unique of classification," said Zader. "We're concerned that (if the text amendment is approved) other types of uses that rely on auto related activities are going to request an additional drive thru or a new drive thru for that matter."

However, Zader and the Department of Community Development drafted the alternate version of the text amendment, which specifies the Town Market Mobil gas station and wouldn't allow for the expansion of auto related activities like fast food drive up windows and drive thru banking services.

Harvey Pollack, owner of the Town Market Mobil gas station, told the Planning Commission that he hasn't ever turned a profit with the Town Market Mobil gas station, and that a car wash could be a vital new source of revenue.

"(Past business decisions) haven't been enough to turn it around," said Pollack. "By getting the car wash in there we had the projection that we could probably increase gas sales ten percent and also make a profit off the car wash which would generate approximately thirty eight thousand dollars a year."

"I may have to close the doors and turn it over to the bank if I can't get something to help increase the revenue stream," said Pollack.

Alderman Dan Abendroth said that he didn't think a car wash would fundamentally change the nature of the gas station or affect the pedestrian friendly nature of the Town Center because the cars are already there.

"You're adding a car wash to a gas station." said Abendroth. "You're taking an auto based land use and adding to it."

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the alternate version of the text amendment, and Pollack may now go the Common Council and eventually return to the Planning Commission for a consultation for a conditional use grant.