Businessman asks for rezoning for car wash on Ironwood Street

Planning to build a new, two-storey building on the property which currently houses an auto repair shop.

A proposal for a new car wash facility is going to a public hearing.

Paul Thomsen is asking the city to re-zone his property at 1153 and 1185 Ironwood Road to allow a car wash with residential living units up above.

The property is currently zoned commercial one which allows for mixed use commercial/residential buildings but a car wash is not permitted under that zoning.

Thomsen is planning to build a new, two-storey building on the property which currently houses an auto repair shop.

Above the car wash would be two residential units, with parking provided on the property.

City staff told council it supports the project, as it fits with the character of the neighbourhood.

“Ironwood Street has historically been a service commercial area with a number of uses that are not well suited to the existing central commercial zoning,” said Ian Buck, the city’s planner, in a report to council. “These uses are well established and likely to remain for the long term.”

Buck said the proposed car wash would have seven bays – two automatic, four regular self serve and one over-sized self serve – and the second floor would have two residential suites and office space with the residential units intended for employees.

“The proposal will therefore bring full-time residents to the area,” Buck said. “The location is on the periphery of the downtown core where medical, retail and entertainment opportunities are within walking distance. Given this and the added benefit of onsite security by having full-time residents it is considered that the car wash facility is compatible with the residential use.”

Buck said the car wash will also present an opportunity to revitalize an older property and add character to the area.

The proposed development also falls in line with the Official Community Plan which aims to promote the downtown core area as the primary commercial area for the city.

Thomsen said the feedback from a neighbourhood public meeting has been all positive and he has received letters of support from four different owners/occupants of nearby properties.

Thomsen already owns and operates Suds City Car Wash in Comox.

“This general business and financial expertise and our specific car wash experience and success greatly enhances our ability to develop and run a successful car wash business in Campbell River that will be a benefit to the community and an asset to the business offerings of Campbell River’s downtown core,” said Thomsen in a letter to council.

He said the Campbell River car wash will be a “high-end” wash facility similar to Suds City in Comox.