Car Wash Proposed for Site Near Town Recycling Center

An anonymous applicant has proposed building a car wash on a site adjacent to the East Hampton Town Recycling Center and Highway Department facility on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton. David E. Rattray

The East Hampton Town Planning Board got its first look at a site plan for a new car wash business last week and found it fairly sparkling. The business would be located off Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton, next to the recycling center.

The site, about an acre in size and currently vacant, sits between the recycling center’s entrance and exit roads, in a spot zoned for commercial-industrial use. “It’s at the dump,” Britton Bistrian of Land Use Solutions told the board, pointing out that the business would make use of one of the town’s least desirable locations.

Ms. Bistrian, representing the owner, whom she identified only as a local resident, described the car wash as environmentally friendly. When people wash their cars themselves, she said, they use an average of 50 gallons of water, all of which then runs off into the soil. The carwash would use only 35 gallons of water, and that water is recycled; no wastewater would be discharged. Instead, it would be trucked out, and treated elsewhere.

Cars would enter by turning left off Maryland Avenue (which is the street name for the entrance to the recycling center), well before the guard kiosk. The 5,455-square-foot building would stand 15 feet from its rear property line, meaning the applicant would need a variance from the zoning board of appeals. The town code requires a building setback of at least 25 feet.

Cars would leave via Ohio Avenue,  the exit from the recycling center.

Job Potter, a board member, asked if the building could be placed elsewhere on the site to avoid the need for a variance. Ms. Bistrian explained that it was placed so as to avoid customers lining up at the entrance to the recycling center and blocking access to it. “We do have the legal right to come off Springs-Fireplace Road,” she said, but “this is a formula that works.”

“This location makes a lot of sense,” Reed Jones, the board’s chairman, said.

The plan calls for 17 parking spaces, which would be used for employee parking and for car-detailing. Using the car wash opposite the Omni on County Road 39 in Southampton as a model, Ms. Bistrian told the board there would be about 10 employees at a time working on site. The Southampton car wash does not have on-site parking, which leads to congestion there, she said.

Mr. Jones asked what the hours would be. Ms. Bistrian was not sure, but said it would be normal daytime hours. “It doesn’t turn into a nightclub,” she promised.

According to a memorandum submitted to the board by Eric Schantz, a town planner, the proposal appears to comply with Suffolk County Department of Health requirements. The owners may need a permit from the State Department of Environmental Conservation, Mr. Schantz said, and certain technical details need to be worked out as well. Eventually, there will be a public hearing on the proposal.

Mr. Jones said that in his seven years on the board, he has seen several car wash proposals, most recently one in Wainscott at the old Star Room location. “They come, they make their presentations, and they walk away,” he said.

Ms. Bistrian said that this applicant would continue to move forward, meeting with the various agencies involved, and would obtain the needed permits to make the car wash a reality.