The rapid increase in the number of car washes around Northeast Ohio has some municipalities concerned about oversaturation
and, following cities like Parma and Stow, Brook Park has become the latest city to put a pause on new car wash developments.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, the Brook Park City Council unanimously voted to enact a one-year moratorium on new car washes.
“I think we need to be very, very cautious about some of the limited space we have for businesses, and we have to be smart,” said councilmember Jim Mencini.
The 12-month moratorium is intended to give council time to institute zoning criteria and “enact reasonable regulations to protect the health, safety, welfare, peace and comfort for the citizens of Brook Park,” according to the ordinance.
At the meeting, Mayor Ed Orcutt spoke about the importance of supporting existing businesses that have invested in Brook Park.
“If [the market] does get flooded in a certain small area, then we probably will see businesses fail, close up and we don’t want that,” Mayor Ed Orcutt said. “We need to protect the other businesses that are here already that are car washes.”
Others in the council expressed concern over how lots that house car washes are difficult to repurpose in cases where such businesses shut down.
“Unlike many other businesses, a car wash changes the design and use of the building, so pretty much only a car wash can go there,” said councilmember Brian Poindexter. “So, if they fail we are stuck with a vacant property that only a car wash can go in, or somebody’s got to come in and demolish the building or have a major construction cost just to open their business, which doesn’t help us in any facet.
A city of less than eight square miles home roughly 18,000 people, Brook Park is already home to several car washes.
“We definitely don’t want to discourage businesses from coming,” Poindexter said, “but too much of a good thing is not a good thing.”
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