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IRVINE : Planners Back Carwash Project Despite Protest

Nearly 100 residents packed a city Planning Commission meeting Thursday night in the latest skirmish of a six-month battle over a proposed carwash.

After more than four hours of public debate, commissioners voted 3 to 2 to approve a scaled-down version of a plan they had previously approved in August. The project would convert a closed gas station on the southwest corner of Culver and Michelson drives into a combination gas station, carwash and lube shop.

In September, angry residents of the nearby Rancho San Joaquin neighborhood persuaded the City Council to overturn Planning Commission approval of the project after voicing concerns about increased traffic and noise.

On Thursday, about 15 residents spoke in favor of the carwash, equaling the number of nearby residents who voiced their opposition.

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In the new proposal, the J.M. Burnstine Co. of Lake Elsinore agreed to limit repair work to lube and oil changes only, reduce operating hours and build a fence between the business and nearby homes.

Residents from University Park, Woodbridge and Turtle Rock told commissioners that the city needs another carwash and said Irvine has no lube shops.

But Irvine attorney William Holzwarth, who represents residents living near the project site, said the city should have conducted an environmental impact report. The 1.7-acre site falls short of the 4-acre lot size required by city zoning laws, but commissioners approved a variance of the lot size requirement after conducting traffic and noise studies.

Rancho San Joaquin residents said they will again appeal to the City Council to deny permission for the project.

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“This thing is going to keep on going,” said Rancho San Joaquin resident Chuck Gardner. “We’re not going to give up.”


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