Concerns grow over proposed car wash in Greenwood
The planned construction of a car wash on the former site of a popular Greenwood restaurant is now asking city officials to consider whether the location is suitable.
Lotus Garden, a decades-old Chinese restaurant off the US 31st on the south side of Greenwood, closed on July 1, after the owner of the building sold the property to 49 Mercator Drive in Kopetsky Auto Wash. . The company plans to demolish the building and build its second location within the next year.
The south side car wash would be Kopetsky’s second location in Greenwood and would be a close replica of its State Road 135 facility, according to construction plans.
CrossRoad Engineers, a company representing Kopetsky, has requested several waivers from the city, including two submitted to the Greenwood Public Works and Safety Board last month. The waivers, if approved, would address several issues related to stormwater runoff. Problems include stormwater discharge rates, stormwater retention, and pavement de-icing – how salt treatments during the winter can affect the pavement.
Kopetsky finds it difficult to follow the city’s stormwater ordinances due to the terrain on the site being nearly impossible for water to pass due to the amount of sidewalk that is already there. Engineers had to reduce the amount of impermeable area and the rate of runoff release during heavy rain events, said Greg Ilko, an engineer representing Kopetsky.
Greenwood requires a release rate of 0.1 cubic feet per second per acre of development for a storm of up to 10 years, and requires 0.3 cubic feet per second per acre for a storm of 11 to 100 years, after development, according to city documents. Release rates are the amount of stormwater released from a stormwater control facility at a specific time.
There is a lack of underground space at the site, and the developer says it is unable to provide the amount of underground detention required. For the developer to build an underground stormwater retention system that would work for a car wash, they would have to raise the site more than two feet, Ilko said.
Elevating the site could cause problems in the long run, as the developer can only elevate the site up to a point before the constructability of the site is significantly hampered, he said.
“We’re at a point where prescription release rates make this site almost undevelopable – well, that makes it undeveloped,” Ilko said.
The challenges don’t end there. Elevating the site would create steep slopes from the raised area to where the drainage would connect to the Greenwood storm water system. Also, if Kopetsky didn’t get a waiver for the required release rates, he wouldn’t have enough room to provide a chamber to contain all of the runoff, he said.
If the chamber was not built, or if a chamber was built with insufficient space, the water would have nowhere to go during a major rainfall event, which could lead to flooding, according to the US Geological Survey. .
“We’re not just looking to get rid of detention completely. We’re just looking for a change in the allowed release rates, ”Ilko said.
Kopetsky said they would continue to monitor other measures required by the city, including detention and water quality standards, he said.
At the last meeting on September 20, Kopetsky intended to seek an extension until today’s board meeting. However, the information necessary for the prosecution had not been submitted before the meeting, Ilko said.
City officials also asked the developer, ahead of the meeting, to consider a possible connection to a pipeline system that runs east to west on the south side of the property. But the pipe system is already connected to the manhole that Kopetsky wanted to use and would not help the developer meet the city’s detention requirements, he said.
Deputy Mayor Terry McLaughlin told the board at the September 20 meeting that he would like to see another Kopetsky location in Greenwood, but it appears the property is not suitable for a car wash. The company has already received several waivers and was requesting two more, he said.
Since Kopetsky first announced his interest in building on the Lotus Garden site, the engineer representing the developer has submitted more than eight waivers and waivers to the city. The number of gaps appears to be more than normal, McLaughlin said.
“It really seems like this site doesn’t fit this company, although I hate to say that,” he said.
Kopetsky is a great company with a great product, but McLaughlin is also concerned about the company’s engineering firm lagging behind when it comes to submitting documents. Several documents requested by city officials were only submitted about three hours before the September 20 meeting, he said.
Municipal authorities are not the only ones to worry. Since the development was first announced, those living near the property have expressed opposition to the car wash.
In June, six residents who live in the neighborhood behind the property came to a meeting of the Greenwood Zoning Appeal Board to share their concerns. Everyone was concerned about the increased noise and traffic coming from the car wash, as Mercator Drive is the only access road in and out of the neighborhood.
The car wash would have room to line up at least 30 cars before pouring into traffic on Mercator Drive, and would have large vacuums that would be turned off at night, according to construction plans.
Greenwood City Council member Ezra Hill, who represents that area of town, told the board he liked the idea of another car wash, but the Lotus Garden property was not not the right place for it due to the traffic. Hill asked the council to deny the exemption requests. The city doesn’t necessarily have a say in what businesses can go where, unless they need approved zoning or exemption, council officials said at the time. .
A traffic study was commissioned at the request of Kopetsky to resolve the traffic problems. The study found that a car wash would not have a dangerous impact on traffic in the area and would not result in a significantly higher amount of noise in the area, according to the findings of facts adopted by the commission. zoning appeal in June.
Since then, residents of the surrounding area have criticized the city council and the mayor’s office for failing to stop the exemptions approved by the board of directors. However, city council and the mayor are not authorized by state law to interfere with proceedings, city lawyer Shawna Koons said.
Whenever a matter is pending before the Zoning Appeal Board, no one, including elected officials, is allowed to communicate with board members prior to a hearing with the intention of influencing their actions on issues. matters pending before the board. The only exception is the written staff report to the board, which establishes facts or opinions about a matter before it. The document can be filed less than five days before a hearing, Koons said.
At a meeting in July, Kopetsky told residents they had changed their design plans so that the entrance and exit no longer had a right-turn lane, said John Mandabach, business development manager. at Kopetsky.
Representatives of Kopetsky claim that there are no problems with the site, despite what was discussed at the last board meeting.
The board has agreed to grant an extension to Kopetsky and will discuss the exemption requests again at its meeting today.