Millville P&Z recommends approval of car wash

A proposed new car wash in Millville got an enthusiastic response from both those in attendance in a crowded meeting room and the town’s Planning & Zoning Commission at a meeting on Thursday, June 13.

The car wash, proposed by Imoh Matthews of Frankford, would be located on the south side of Route 26, between the Dollar General store and the entrance to the Denton Mills subdivision, on a 1.17-acre lot.

Attorney Dennis Schrader of the Morris James law firm and Jeff Clark of Land Tech Land Planning represented Matthews and his project, to be called Beach Community Car Wash, at the meeting, in which they received the commission’s recommendation for a conditional-use permit for the business.

The car wash would share the entrance already constructed for the Dollar General store, according to Clark, who said the entrance point was determined by the state Department of Transportation in 2012. Clark also said that DelDOT has plans to construct a traffic light there, at the intersection of Route 26 and Whites Neck Road, in the future.

Matthews retired to Sussex County from leadership of SourceAmerica, a Vienna, Va.-based organization that provides disabled employees for businesses and government employers in Washington, D.C., and several states. He said he plans to staff the car wash with disabled employees, including military veterans.

Two management positions would be filled by a “qualified veteran or trainee,” according to the literature provided to the commission. There would also be a supervisor who is “qualified to work with disabled staff,” who will fill most of the available jobs at the car wash, the literature said.

Employees would be trained and assisted by a qualified vocational coach, as needed. The car wash would be fully automated; employees would primarily be drying off the cars after they come through the car wash. It would be housed in a building that would be constructed in the “coastal” style, to fit in with the neighboring mixture of homes and businesses.

Potential concerns about lighting and music were among those addressed by 15 conditions the applicant provided. There would be no outside sound system, and customers would be advised through signage that radios should be turned off during the car-wash process. Lighting will be directed onto the car-wash parking area only.

David Singer, a representative of Clean Edge, the company providing the car wash machinery, told the commission that noise from the car wash itself would be “less than a car on Route 26” and that central vacuum systems on the property would only produce “a very low hum” when in use.

The stormwater management system on the site will “meet or exceed” requirements of the Sussex Soil Conservation District; central sewer will be provided by Sussex County, and central water service by Tidewater Utilities.

The parking area would have space for up to 26 cars to be waiting in line, as well as six spaces for employee parking. Clark said those spaces would be more than adequate to meet the business’ needs.

Clark told the commission that the car wash would be open from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sunday.

Town Manager Deborah Botchie said she thought the presentation was “very good” and said the car wash is a business “that our residents and property owners can really use.”

No one at the meeting spoke in opposition to the application; in fact, the entire audience stood up and applauded at the end of the meeting, many hugging Matthews and congratulating him on the planning commission’s recommendation for approval. There were no residents from neighboring Denton Mills present, though Schrader said they had been invited to attend. No letters of opposition had been received in advance of the meeting.

The town council will now consider the conditional-use application at its Tuesday, July 9, meeting.


By Kerin Magill

Staff Reporter