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Sturgis City Planning Commission reviews car wash plans for former skating rink site


Several public hearings were held and a business proposal was heard Tuesday by the Sturgis City Planning Commission, including plans for a new car wash and additional storage units in town.

A special land use request was heard to place a car wash at 121 S. Centerville Road, the site of the former Johnston Skate O’Rama. Tom and Tim Houseman, representing Turn-Key Carwash Systems of Grand Rapids, said they plan to convert the vacant lot into a three-bay car wash: two automatic and one self-serve.

Tim Houseman said they have built a number of car washes over the years and Sturgis Car Wash will be a welcomed addition to the city.

“The area just doesn’t have a modern, quality, consistent car wash,” Houseman said. “It is time to give the city a modern, dependable facility.

Houseman said the technology has changed “tremendously over the years,” including electric and water use, as well as efficiency.

“The lot is a great space for a car wash,” he said.

The property is in the Business Highway 1 (B-H1) zoning district where automobile car washes are permitted with a special land use. As of March 11, the city received one response from the owner of the neighboring property to the north, Joe Myers. Myers wrote he is in favor of the development of the car wash; however, he expressed concern with the use of the access drive from Centerville Road.

City officials and the developers said they are currently unable to verify an easement exists, but will keep searching records and are willing to work with Myers on the matter. After the public hearing was closed, the special land use request was approved.

Two public hearings were held Tuesday for Snappy Storage at 200 Timothy Drive. Owner Jamie Crites requested a parking lot waiver to fit two buildings in the space to the south. Additional parking is not needed on the property, Crites said, as parking is allowed along one side of each storage building.

“I never have more than one or two cars there at any given time,” Crites told the planning commission.

The city recently adopted an amended parking ordinance. The parking ordinance allows the planning commission to reduce or waive the number of off-street parking spaces required for a specific use, if there is no benefit to provide the required number of spaces.

Jim Liston and Michael Caywood both abstained from action, citing a vested interest in the property development.

The waiver was approved.

Following the waiver approval, a public hearing for the property’s site plan review was opened. The commission and Crites discussed how to address traffic cutting from the northwest corner of the Grace Christian Fellowship Church parking lot onto the storage unit property’s east side. Possibilities considered include planting trees or placing boulders. The city’s public services department will be consulted regarding easements and underground utilities.

A request for a site plan review for the property was also submitted to the city. The property currently houses four mini-storage buildings. Crites proposed the construction of two additional buildings, each 2,400 square feet running east and west.

Due to existing site constraints, the fire department required a fire access lane be placed off Timothy Street. The site plan provides for the placement of a gate with lock to block everyday use so it can only be used for maintenance and emergency access.

The site plan review was approved.

In other business involving public hearings, a special land use request at 1291 Kitson Ave. for Secure Transport of Michigan LLC was approved. The request was for a special land use for an adult-use marijuana secure transporter establishment license. The property is in the manufacturing zoning district, and cannabis establishments are permitted as special land uses within the zoning district.

A special land use for Kaif Industries LLC at 233 Bogen Road was also approved. The business requested an adult use marijuana class C grow establishment license. The property is also in the manufacturing zoning district.

Allopathic Crop Services LLC, also known as The Armory, requested and was granted a special land use for an adult use retailer establishment license at 1103 N. Centerville Road. Also located in the manufacturing zoning district, retailer establishments are permitted as special land uses in such a zone. Retail establishments located in the manufacturing zoning district are unlimited in the number of licenses issued by the city.

A vintage window restoration company is looking to move into the former Michiana Snax Inc. building on Susan Court. The business plans to have low traffic, resulting in less interruption to the residential neighborhood. The planning commission suggested the owner pursue a light manufacturing zoning option.

Planning commissioners Michael Brothers and Rick Mahler were absent from the meeting.

Sturgis City Planning Commission reviews car wash plans for former skating rink site

The lot formerly occupied by Johnston’s Skate O’Rama on Centerville Road in Sturgis is set to be redeveloped as Sturgis Car Wash.

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: Commission hears proposal for new car wash in Sturgis


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