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St. Charles leaders seek more info before acting on car wash plan

ST. CHARLES – City leaders have tapped the brakes on a proposal to build a car wash on St. Charles’ west side because they want more information on its economic impact as well as its effect on traffic.

Car Wash Development LLC seeks to put Wash-U – a 4,525-square-foot automatic car wash – in the vacant lot directly west of Buona Beef, 2425 W. Main St., St. Charles. The business also would provide 12 vacuum stations.

To do so, it needs special use approval from the St. Charles City Council, as the site currently has approval for a restaurant with a drive-thru, Planning Division Manager Russell Colby told the Planning and Development Committee on Aug. 8.

“We would love to be in St. Charles,” said Steve Timmer, one of the people involved in the venture. “Hopefully that’s a possibility.”

Aldermen – as well as representatives from the nearby Standard Wash – expressed traffic concerns, including possible backups on Main Street, and questioned whether the area needs another car wash.

“We have enough car washes out there,” 3rd Ward Alderman Bill Turner said.

Similar feedback arose during the previous week’s Plan Commission meeting, which resulted in a favorable recommendation.

Wash-U would likely experience about 12 peak days a year, and it would be able to get vehicles through the line quickly, Timmer said, comparing its efficiency to a Portillo’s drive-thru.

Timmer also said Wash-U isn’t seeking to compete with the car washes that provide detailing services.

“We’re solely in the express business,” he said. “If you want detailing done, we are not that person.”

Tim Hague of St. Charles Main Street Partners, which developed the Buona Beef property, said a car wash would enhance sales at the restaurant.

“We’re excited about the use,” he said at the Plan Commission meeting.

The Planning and Development Committee unanimously tabled the item so economic and traffic studies could be completed.

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