'World Class' Carwash Plans Go Down The Drain

October 31, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

Plans to build a "world class" full-service carwash along Ritchie Highway were nixed last week by county Administrative Hearings Officer Robert C. Wilcox.

Wilcox said developers Richard Hug and Clark Porter were asking for too much with their plans to more than double thesize of the building at 825 Ritchie Highway, now home to the well-drilling firm of H. H. Bunker & Sons. He wrote in his decision that he was unwilling to break a 27-year-old precedent forbidding the expansion of a non-conforming use by more than 30 percent.

Porter said he was disappointed with the decision, and especiallyby comments written by Wilcox suggesting there are four other sites along Ritchie Highway where the carwash could be built.

"I searched every lot in the area for six months and there were only two C-4 lots available that were the right size -- one selling for $950,000 andthe other $1.4 million. The parcels (Wilcox) mentioned are available, but none of them are zoned right for a carwash."

Porter said he would consider an appeal, but was skeptical.

"You can't force anything on a community," he said. "We are going to build a world class carwash somewhere for clean cars and a clean environment -- it's a shame Severna Park doesn't want it."

The carwash, which would have employed 55 full- and part-time workers to clean up to 100 cars per hour, was opposed by the Magothy River Association on environmental grounds.

But the Greater Severna Park Council was apparently impressedwith Porter and Hug's plans and environmental precautions. In September, the group rejected the recommendation of its zoning committee chairman, James E. Gutman, and voted overwhelmingly not to oppose the carwash.

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