The city of Santa Clarita’s Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a new automated car wash and a Sand Canyon subdivision.
The Mister Car Wash is an automated, self-service spot with one to two employees on site, which was approved for the southeast corner of Newhall Ranch Road and Bouquet Canyon Road.
The size of the new car wash building would be about 5,400 square feet, with three accessory queuing lanes that lead to one car wash tunnel.
The plan also calls for 20 parking spaces, including 14 self-service vacuum spaces with two accessible stalls, and four employee parking spaces, in the now-vacant lot. The employees on site would be there only to manage the facility, and there’s no plan for any type of accompanying convenience store, according to the applicant.
The property was graded after the lot initially was approved for development in 2005 as part of the 695.4-acre residential and commercial River Village project, according to city planners. In 2018, an office building was approved for the same location, but that approval has since expired, and in April, the new plan was proposed.
The Mister Car Wash was approved over the objections of Chris Kim, the owner and operator of the Crista Car Wash and Chevron gas station across the street from the proposed new location.
He questioned why the city needed to approve so many car washes within a half-mile radius, from the Shell gas station car wash at Bouquet and Seco canyon roads, to the Bubbly Express car wash at Bouquet Canyon and Valencia Valencia Boulevard.
He complained that his bottom line took a 15% to 20% hit after the city approved Dapper Dan’s at Bouquet Canyon and Magic Mountain Parkway.
Planning Commissioner Patsy Ayala asked if there were any legal ramifications for such a decision regarding the competition/proximity issue, and Assistant City Attorney Carl Berger said that economic ramifications were not part of the consideration in this process.
Planning Chair Renee Berlin asked questions about potential traffic impact and runoff, due to the location of the car wash.
It’s planned for just north of the Santa Clara River, hence the River Village name, and near one of the city’s busiest intersections.
City planners recommended the project receive a Class 3 categorical exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act, as the plan is “consisting of the construction and location of small facilities or structures.”
Emily Rubalcava, assistant planner, said all of the water used within the 1.28-acre parcel would be required to stay on site, with recycling encouraged, according to the city’s regulations for such land use.
Berlin mentioned traffic concerns about Bouquet Canyon Road, which is among the city’s busiest. City data from August reported the intersection of Newhall Ranch and Bouquet Canyon roads sees approximately 116,000 cars per day, the busiest by about 25,000 vehicles, next to Bouquet Canyon and Soledad Canyon Road/Valencia Boulevard, which is also known as Bouquet Junction.
Ian Pari, senior traffic engineer, indicated the project was expected to draw up to around 80 trips per day during the week and 40 per day during the weekend, which was not considered a significant impact.
The Sand Canyon subdivision was being proposed by the property owner and neighbor of the lot, Bill Rex, who was proposing four residential subdivisions for his 19.87-acre parcel.
He said he was making the plan for four homes as opposed to eight, which would be allowed as the minimum lot size is 2 acres, because he was being respectful of his neighbors and didn’t want to have any more homes than necessary there.
Several of Rex’s neighbors spoke up in support of the project.