St. Charles aldermen denounce anonymous effort to halt car wash project
St. Charles aldermen are denouncing an anonymous flyer sent out in an attempt to thwart the construction of a new car wash.
Operator Dan Gunsteen of Bartlett has proposed tearing down a shuttered car wash at 1625 W. Main St., also the site of a demolished retail building, and redeveloping the entire property as Extreme Clean Express Car Wash. The project includes an automatic car wash with a single service bay, stacking lanes with a pay station, 22 vacuum stalls and a handful of regular parking spaces.
"We put a lot of time and effort into the design and layout of this," Gunsteen said, noting this would be his seventh location in northern Illinois. He is under contract to purchase the site, which is within the Valley Shopping Center, city officials said.
Aldermen acting as a planning and development committee Monday supported granting Gunsteen with a special use for the car wash, despite an unknown opponent's efforts to derail the project.
Ward 3 Aldermen William Turner and Todd Bancroft said they have been fielding calls and emails from several residents who received a laminated mailer protesting the new car wash. The flyer does not indicate who sent it, but urges community members to speak out against the project by contacting Turner or Bancroft, whose phone numbers and email addresses are listed.
Of the dozens of residents who reached out, some expressed opposition, but a majority -- by a roughly 3-to-1 ratio -- were in favor of the car wash, both aldermen said.
"It was unanimous that people did not like getting a flyer from someone who didn't identify themselves," Bancroft said.
The mailer listed concerns over traffic congestion on Main Street and a lack of sales tax dollars that would be generated by the business. It also pointed to the failure of the former Main Street Wash, which it called a "vacant eyesore for years."
The problem with the shuttered car wash was a lack of upkeep over the years, Turner said, noting many longtime residents told him they believe it otherwise would have thrived.
"That part of the flyer that came out, the residents really dispute that," Turner said. "At this point, I'm for this (project)."
Alderman Ron Silkaitis said he has no issues replacing one car wash with another. A traffic analysis completed by Arc Design Resources Inc. determined the car wash would not negatively impact the traffic along Route 64, according to city documents.
If the proposed use is approved by the city council, the car wash would hire 15 to 17 employees, preferably from within the community, Gunsteen said. Plans also call for adding a new public sidewalk along 17th Street and having a dog wash and vending area inside the building.