It was thumbs up at a recent meeting for a special use permit that will allow construction of an automated car wash to go forth on 5 Beechwood Avenue.
The Town approved the permit, 5-2 with Councilman Fred Pollack (D- Port Washington), citing concerns over a potential increase in congestion, voting against it. Councilman Angelo Ferrara (R-New Hyde Park) also voted against it.
After several months of discussion between residents, the town board and the applicant’s attorney, the project will move forward provided certain stipulations are met. Only then will the town issue a building permit for the new business, Pollack said.
These are the stipulations: – at 4 Beechwood Avenue, adjacent to the the site for the proposed car wash – must move from its current location. New York State Department of Transportation approval must be secured to ban left turns from Beechwood Avenue to Port Washington Boulevard. DOT aprroval to ban right turns from the car wash onto Willowdale Avenue must also be secured.
Stanley Sibell, a Garden City-based attorney for the applicant of the car wash said that it could take a year or more for the DOT to approve the bans, delaying construction. He said he has been waiting for over seven years to construct this business.
“That is not my problem, safety is,” said Pollack. “There are no good choices here and most residents are not taking a not-in-my-backyard opposition because the big issue is traffic and congestion in the area.”
Several residents who came out to voice their opinion about the project agreed with the Councilman and were also opposed to the car wash. Port Washington Resident Roberta Cooperman feels the traffic on Willowdale and Beechwood Avenues will only get worse.
“I have no problem supporting new businesses, but I am not in favor of this car wash due to safety and traffic congestion problems,” Cooperman said. “I brought a petition with 25 signatures opposing this plan. This is just not the right location for this type of business.”
Owen Costello, another Port Washington resident, is also opposed to the construction of the car wash.
“We are trying to conserve water and this car wash will use an excessive amount of water,” Costello said. “I am also opposed to this because of traffic safety conditions on Beechwood Avenue, which is a one-way street.”
Supervisor Jon Kaiman is in favor of the project.
“I think the car wash will bring improvement to the area and mitigate another business- Chester’s Towing, which many find offensive because of their tow trucks that are parked continuously on Beechwood Avenue,” Kaiman said. “I support this project.”
Angelo Paladino, one of the present landlords of the building that houses Chester’s Towing and who will be the new owner of the car wash said he is ecstatic over the Town’s approval.
“I have waited so long to hear this answer,” Paladino said. “Robert Hehn, the present owner of Chester’s Towing knows he has to vacate over the next six months. After we get our building permit, it can take approximately 10 months to build the car wash, but my partner and I are looking forward to it.”
Editor's note: Hehn says he owns the property and will not be vacating. A call to the town for comment was not returned.