Anoka moving to rezone land to add new car wash

Anoka has taken the first steps to allow a new car wash to be built on Round Lake Boulevard.

Monday the city council approved rezoning of the property to allow automobile type uses, rather than more restive office and commercial buildings. Once finalized, the parcels at 3201 and 3215 Round Lake Blvd. will be B1 Highway Business. The approval also required a change to the city’s comprehensive plan.

The vote to rezone the property was approved 3-2, with Councilmembers Steve Schmidt and Jeff Weaver opposed.

The council’s decision was met with resistance from some people who live nearby.

Two neighbors voiced disapproval over having a car wash so close to their townhomes on the neighboring property.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Pat Peterson. “That’s really going to affect my home’s value and the enjoyment of my home.”

The car wash will be 20 feet from her townhome on 16th Avenue.

She said she appreciates the desire to develop the property on that corner.

“I just feel the car wash is a real intrusive item to have in my backyard,” Peterson said. “I would rather see something like small retail or offices.”

The car wash would be allowed to operate from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Coon Rapids resident Valerie McNamera also lives nearby and isn’t happy about the traffic and the noise the addition of the car wash will create.

“It’s going to impact my value, my drive-time,” she said. “I am not OK with it.”

Property owner Brad Dunham has done extensive sound study and architectural planning to buffer the car wash from the neighbors.

Dunham plans to use trees, fences and the building’s design to block the noise from intrusive sounds like vacuum cleaners and the blower/dryer in the car wash.

“I have been listening to the neighbors and I am here to be a good neighbor,” Dunham said.

He also said he had met with several of the residents of the neighboring townhome development and had several people’s support when the Anoka Planning Commission considered the application June 4.

The commission did recommend the comprehensive plan amendments and zoning changes, along with site plan approval, to the council after a two-hour discussion of the proposal.

“We want to do a nice project and we want it to be neighborhood friendly,” Dunham said.

According to Dunham’s sound engineer, the noise that will be created by the car wash is within the allowed decibel range for that area.

Despite Weaver and Schmidt’s reservations about the rezoning, the site plan and conditional use permit for the car wash were unanimously approved by the council.

A conditional use permit is required because the car wash is adjacent to residential property, said Associate Planner Crystal Paumen.

Previous site plans were approved for these properties in 1999 and then 2007, but development did not occur. Two single-family homes were once located on the lots, but both have been demolished.

According to Paumen, the latest proposal includes a 4,025 square-foot car wash building and a 2,100 square-foot retail building on the long and narrow lot.

The council also approved variances to rescue the west yard setback from 30 feet to 22 feet and the south side yard setback from 30 feet to 24 feet.

In Paumen’s report from the planning commission, she said traffic noise is a concern for people who live nearby, but some felt the addition of the car wash would help buffer and absorb some of the noise coming from the high traffic volumes on Round Lake Boulevard. A 2008 study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation had traffic counts estimated over 37,500 vehicles a day.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com

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