Saturday, May 25, 2024

Argyle approves third car wash, again

About as narrowly as possible, the Argyle Town Council voted to approve a new application for a larger car wash in the Avalon development.

Fast Lane Car Wash is proposed to be built on the southeast corner of FM 407 and Avalon Boulevard, just east of I-35W. The property is currently zoned Community Retail. Developers brought the Specific Use Permit request in fall 2022 before P&Z and Town Council and received approval, but a new flood plain study prompted the developer to want to make it bigger and better.

“When the flood study was completed … the flood plain line is actually further east than we had originally conservatively planned for … (which) allows for a little bit more developable land,” said Justin Landsdowne, senior project manager for McAdams, during an Argyle Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on April 6.

More developable land allowed developers to shift some things around and make more room for a bigger facility. The first SUP application that was approved called for a 3,390-square-foot building with a max height of 37 feet, and the new one includes a 6,115-square-foot building and a max height of 45 feet. There are also more employee parking spots and vacuum parking spaces in the new application. P&Z voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the new SUP application, but it ran into some pushback during Monday night’s council meeting.

“The reason I voted in the affirmative before was because I thought this was a very small, virtually unusable piece of property,” Councilman Ron Schmidt said during the meeting. “Looking at what its potential is, it’s much larger. It’s gone from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet. I have a problem with the use when there are much more desirable uses.”

Fellow Council member Cyndi Hermann told the applicants that it felt “like a bait and switch” to approve one car wash and then be asked for more. Schmidt told the applicants that he wanted the property to be used differently.

“No offense, this is nothing toward your business, I’m not trying to be rude or anything like that, but I could’ve envisioned a nice restaurant with a beautiful view of the floodplain, which is going to be a greenbelt, essentially,” Schmidt said. “I thought I was doing the right thing by taking something that was virtually unusable, trying to squeeze some use in there. The feedback I’ve gotten from citizens is, considering we already have two car washes, they’re looking for other uses.”

The property owner explained that the land is not big enough for a restaurant and the  parking spaces that would be required. Hermann backed off the developers, saying she wanted the car wash to be successful and she understands the owner believes this larger car wash will be better than the first.

If the council denied the SUP application, the applicants would still have the first SUP approved. Hermann and Gordon Baethge voted to approve the new SUP, while Schmidt and Sherri Myers abstained. Mayor Pro Tem Rick Bradford was not present, and three “aye” votes are required to approve the application. The town attorney said that votes to abstain are treated as essentially “no votes,” and Mayor Bryan Livingston was asked to break the tie. After a moment or two, Livingston voted to approve the new SUP.

Construction of Fast Lane is expected to begin later this year and complete next year. It will be the third car wash in the immediate Argyle area, after a car wash opened at the new Shell/Sonic on Hwy 377 in February 2022 and WhiteWater Car Wash opened just south of the Shell in January 2023.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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