Lights a major concern in car wash proposal

By Sherry conohan
Staff Writer

By Sherry conohan
Staff Writer

SHREWSBURY — The car wash proposed for Shrewsbury Avenue would be a "high-end" operation, the borough Zoning Board of Adjustment was told.

James J. Monteforte, architect of the car wash, testifying on behalf of the applicant, G.B.D., LLC, said at the board’s Oct. 2 meeting that the car wash would be a "very clean place to go" and would have "a nice feeling — like buying a new car."

"It doesn’t project that old-fashioned car wash feel," he said.

Monteforte said he chose materials for the building that would retain their luster and won’t get dull. He presented samples of the split face block, which has a rough facade, and anchor pavers that would be used in construction.

Monteforte said the top of the building would be gray and the base would be a darker, silvery gray, and a band of smooth block in a color that was alternately called maroon or cayenne would run around the middle.

There would be a retail store in the front of the building that would sell products for use in the car. He said such items would be things like air freshener and boxes of tissues.

The building was designed with a tower in front to create architectural interest, Monteforte said. He said there would be lights in the tower but not at the top.

Monteforte said he also put in flagpoles to hold the American, Monmouth County and Shrewsbury flags. He was immediately cautioned by the board that no advertising for the car wash can appear on the flags.

The board, which must approve a site plan for the car wash, took an interest in the lighting and signs.

It was told the lights for the parking lot and the free-standing 16- by 32-foot sign by Shrewsbury Avenue, which would be 90 feet from the building and 25 feet from the street, would be turned off at night so that passersby would know it was closed, but lights in the tower and over garage doors would be left on all night for security. The wattage of the lights would not exceed the limit set in the borough ordinance, Monteforte said.

One board member said he would have a tough time approving a sign with interchangeable letters. He said he would be uncomfortable driving down Shrewsbury Avenue every day not knowing what the sign would say.

He was told the sign would only have messages about activities on the property or some holiday messages. Another board member suggested the sign messages would be like "Ladies Day" or "10 percent off" a service.

Another board member said the proposed sign, which is half the 32-foot height of the building, was too large and should be scaled down.

Dean Nicoletta, one of the principals of G.B.D., who said he would be managing the car wash, said it would be in operation seven days a week, with hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. He said he previously owned a car wash in Jersey City and served as a consultant to a car wash in Manhattan.

The peak hours for the car wash here are expected to be the first thing in the morning, lunch time and after work, he added. He said there would be 15 employees. The site would have 21 parking spaces when 20 are required.

Nicoletta said the other principals in G.B.D. are Robert Russo and Gary Laurino. He said he received approval two years ago, when applying as 791 Shrewsbury Ave., to open a car wash 200 yards away from the present site. That plan was shelved after Laurino suggested the present site proposed for the car wash, which is three times as large, he said.

Nicoletta said the car wash also will have lube bays and a detail center. He said the car wash would offer express detailing, lasting 20 to 30 minutes, and full detailing, lasting about three hours. The lube bays and detail center would remain open when it rains even though cars wouldn’t come in to be washed.

The car wash will accommodate vans and box trucks as well as automobiles, he said.

Monteforte said the design includes an outside sitting area with some benches and trees where customers can sit while waiting for their cars.

The hearing adjourned after Nicoletta’s testimony and will resume Nov. 6.