Ogden car wash plans at ex-Jake’s Over the Top site come up for debate
Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner
OGDEN — When news emerged last month that the popular Jake’s Over the Top restaurant would be closing, the response was swift and strong.
Many lamented the turn of events, recalling with nostalgia prior excursions to the eatery, the milkshakes that made the locale near the Weber State University campus popular and more. Just as strong were the laments that a Quick Quack Car Wash location would take over the Jake’s space and an abutting parcel to the south.
Now, debate over the proposed shift is coming to a head.
The Ogden Planning Commission meets Wednesday to consider a conditional use permit sought by the builder of the planned car wash, necessary for the project to move forward. The property at 1249 Country Hills Drive — just off Harrison Boulevard near the southern end of the Weber State campus — is zoned for commercial use, but a conditional use permit is still required if a car wash is to take shape in the space.
Ogden Planning Manager Barton Brierley said his office, processing the conditional use permit request, has received plenty of feedback from the public. A pubic meeting is scheduled as part of the conditional use permit request at the gathering of the planning commission, which has final say on the issue.
BEN DORGER, Standard-Examiner file photo
“Common themes have been concern for losing the existing restaurant, concerns about too many car washes, concerns about traffic and lack of walkability,” Brierley said Monday in an email to the Standard-Examiner. Quick Quack, which has 50 locations in Utah, launched in Sacramento, California, in 2004 and has become the fourth-largest car wash in the United States, according to its website.
Deann Armes of The Ogdenite, which covers the local music, art, food and culture scene, posted a message on the publication’s Facebook page about the looming Planning Commission meeting, expressing concern. So close to the Weber State campus, “a corporate car wash is not in alignment with our vision for a walkable, culturally enriched neighborhood that will cater to foot traffic and patrons of local businesses in the area,” she wrote.
Her post generated a strong response, many lamenting the notion of a car wash taking the space of Jake’s and the seeming influx of big corporations to the city. Many offered similar comments in response to the Standard-Examiner Facebook post about the news last month.
Whatever the case, city planning staffers recommend approval of the conditional use permit, subject to certain conditions, and Brierley said dislike of car washes isn’t a sufficient reason to reject the permit request. A Quick Quack-affiliated company acquired the 0.37-acre parcel where Jake’s sat and the 0.34-acre parcel just to the south sometime in 2020, according to online Weber County land records. Jake’s owners Ned and Lisa King, meantime, apparently decided to close the business to retire.
“A conditional use must be approved if reasonable conditions are proposed, or can be imposed, to mitigate the reasonably anticipated detrimental effects of the proposed use. An aversion to car washes is not a sufficient reason to deny a conditional use permit,” Brierley said.
According to the supporting paperwork accompanying the agenda for Wednesday’s Ogden Planning Commission meeting, commissioners are tasked with reviewing potential traffic, noise and lighting issues associated with the car wash plans and compaitibility of the operation with the area.
Staffers, for their part, are OK with granting of a conditional use permit for the Quick Quack plans as long as certain conditions are met, including installation of a fence along the east side of the property to serve as a buffer to adjacent homes. Staff also recommend removal of a light pole from the east property line, also to accommodate neighbors to the east.
In their report, city staffers note that the city’s general plan means to encourage redevelopment of “older commercial properties … that are in disrepair or are not meeting their full potential.” Furthermore, the report says, there are many other commercial developments in the area where the car wash is planned.
“A drive-through carwash is consistent with the varied commercial activities taking place in the area,” the report reads.
A Quick Quack rep declined comment for now but said the firm may have something to say “as this amazing community partnership progresses.” Previously, a company rep said car wash officials hope to break ground on the new facility this year.
Wednesday’s Ogden Planning Commission meeting starts at 5 p.m. and will be held in City Council chambers at the Ogden Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.