By Shereen Siewert
Eight pieces of property have been rezoned to make way for a restaurant and car wash just west of the river along Bridge Street.
The zoning change affects properties on West Bridge Street, North First Avenue, and North Second Avenue, which are now zoned as B3, a general commercial district. The project is proposed by Rolly Lokre of Stratton Management Inc., according to city documents. The company has already purchased several parcels, with additional purchases planned to make the project a reality.
Reaction to the project has been mixed. Paul Buch, who owns five of the parcels targeted for the car wash, urged the council to approve the plan to generate positive tax revenue for the city. But several neighbors spoke out against the plan, voicing concerns about excessive light and traffic intruding into the surrounding residential neighborhood surrounding.
City Council Member Gary Gisselman agreed with the neighbors’ concerns, noting the west side of First Avenue is residential. Gisselman and Dawn Herbst were the sole members of the council who voted against the plan. Pat Peckham was not at the May 14 meeting.
Transitional yard regulations require that a solid fence be installed between the commercial and residential zoning along the northern property line of the commercial developments. Vacuum stations would be located outside the building, but other operations of the car wash, including the blowers/dryers, would be contained within the proposed building. The proposed restaurant will be located on the west side of the building.