Company revises plans for proposed East Memphis car wash

By Published: January 22, 2019 2:25 PM CT

An automated-car wash company has substantially changed plans for its proposed car wash on Poplar Avenue to address concerns of East Memphis neighbors.

But Blue Water Wash LLC did not agree to all the neighborhood’s requested changes in a case that is to go before the Board of Adjustment at 2 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

The company proposed last fall to demolish the 58-year-old office building, the Century Building, 3294 Poplar at Century, and replace it with a car wash.

After neighbors along residential Century Street strongly objected – the Office of Planning & Development received 29 messages of opposition – Blue Water Wash asked that the case be held until the January meeting of the Board of Adjustment.

The applicant used the time to change the plan by: beefing up the landscaping and fencing; moving the building to eliminate any entrance or exit along Century; creating a pocket, neighborhood green space that will be a buffer between the car wash and houses; and changing the appearance of the building.

“The Neighbors appreciate Applicant’s willingness to address their (and OPD’s) concerns which arose out of the Application,’’ wrote attorney Jonathan A. Lindsey of Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston, who represents 16 nearby homeowners. “However, the revised site plans do not fully alleviate all their concerns, and the plans raise other issues now that the car wash tunnel will be sited along Century.”

The 95-foot-long car wash building is proposed to be set back 15 feet from Century, but the neighbors want the full 20-foot separation that zoning requires, he wrote. Neighbors also want the green space to be kept as an open space instead of the dog park proposed by Blue Water Wash.

The homeowners also want wooden shadowbox fencing to extend the entire northern border along Century to Poplar,  the existing mature trees on the buffer lot to be preserved, and car wash employees not to park on Century.

Brenda Solomito Basar, the land-planning representative for the car wash owners, responded with an email that agrees to all the neighbors’ request except for two.  

Setting the car wash building 20 feet from Century “is not physically possible,’’ Solomito Basar wrote. “Our request for the 15-foot setback is to accommodate the necessary turning movements and illustrates compliance with regulatory geometry.”

And the company is willing to build an eight-foot-tall shadowbox along Century, but cannot extend it all the way south to Poplar, she wrote. “The natural buffer is being proposed in lieu of a fence adjacent to the building. Any extension of fencing south of the building would interfere with the required sight distance requirements’’ for Century’s intersection with Poplar, Solomito Basar wrote.


Commercial Real Estate
Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey covers business news for The Daily Memphian. A Tupelo, Mississippi, native, he graduated from Mississippi State University. He's worked in journalism for 40 years and has lived in Midtown for 36 years.

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