An emergency ban on new car washes?

Posted at 6:19 AM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 11:04:27-04

UPDATE - The Escondido City Council voted 5-0 Wednesday to approve the moratorium on carwashes. 

Escondido has too many car washes. 

That's a conclusion the City Council may make on Wednesday, when it may place a moratorium on new car washes in the city.

A city report says there are now 28 car washes in Escondido, with more in the planning stages. Instead, the report says the city prefers businesses that create higher paying jobs, more sales tax revenue, and are less intrusive on the surrounding environment. 

"Escondido has the most permissive policy towards car washes compared to other agencies in North County," the report says. "Currently, there are no special use regulations established for carwash facilities."

The moratorium would give the city 45 days to come up with those rules.

The issue is coming to light because Neil Capin wants to redevelop an old skating rink at 864 N. Broadway into an express wash. But that's right across the street from a 24-hour mostly manual carwash, with one automated wash. 

Capin said it should not matter what's across the street, noting that there are plenty of coffee shops and fast food restaurants near each other.

Others say the city has too many car washes as it is.

"I'd rather drive another mile and not have them on every corner," said Ryan Carlson, who was washing his truck at the 24-hour facility on Broadway. 

Plus, not all car washes are the same. 

At Soapy Joe's on East Valley Avenue, V.P. Ron Deimling says the company sets itself apart by giving back to the community, having good environmental habits, and investing locally.

"We provide jobs, we provide training," he said. "We really also want people to grow and learn so if they don't want to stay in the carwash business that's fine, but hopefully take those skills of leadership and working with customers somewhere else."

The council meets at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.