IRVINE : Lube Shop Proposal Back Before Council

A revised proposal to build a combination car wash, gas station and lube shop near the Rancho San Joaquin neighborhood is expected fill City Council chambers Tuesday night with angry residents who have fought the project for eight months.

The City Council had denied permission for the proposed business in September, but the Planning Commission voted 3 to 2 in January to approve revised plans. Residents are asking the council to overturn the commission's decision.

Residents say the 1.7-acre site at Culver and Michelson drives falls far short of the four-acre lot size required by city zoning laws. And they fear the businesses would bring unacceptable levels of traffic and noise. A closed gas station now occupies the site.

The Planning Commission approved the revised project in January after four hours of debate, granting developer J.M. Burnstine Co. of Lake Elsinore a zoning variance from lot size requirements. Burnstine agreed to limit auto repair work to lube and oil changes only, reduce operating hours and build a fence to shield neighbors from noise.

"If you make an exception for this business, all the other businesses in Irvine are going ask for the same treatment," said Charles Gardner, chairman of a neighborhood group formed to fight the proposal.

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