Ogden officials reject car wash proposal at ex-Jake’s Over the Top site
OGDEN — The Ogden Planning Commission has nixed a proposal to install a car wash at the site of the former Jake’s Over the Top restaurant, heeding the calls of foes worried how the proposed operation would impact their neighborhood.
“The biggest concerns were the noise and the traffic and the impact on the neighborhood,” said Deanne Armes, one of a dozen or so foes who addressed the commission on the issue at the body’s meeting on Wednesday. She writes The Ogdenite, a publication that covers the local music, art and culture scene, and had publicly lobbied against the plans for the Quick Quack Car Wash.
Reps from Quick Quack, a California-based operation with 50 car washes in Utah and many more across the southwest United States, didn’t immediately respond to a query Thursday seeking comment.
Jake’s closed on April 8 after about 30 years of operation and Quick Quack had planned to install a new car wash at the site and an abutting property just to the south. The two parcels measure 0.71 acres and sit in the 1200 block of Country Hills Drive, south of the Weber State University campus and just off Harrison Boulevard.
When news of Quick Quack’s plans emerged, though, opposition coalesced among those living in the adjacent southern Ogden neighborhood, Armes among them. Though the disruption the foes feared from a car wash seemed to be the key motivating factor, Armes said she was also dismayed at the notion of a large corporate entity moving in to replace a local mom and pop operation.
She’d like something “complementary” to the neighborhood to move into the space — a restaurant, bakery or retail outlet, perhaps.
Barton Brierley, the Ogden planning manager, said the Planning Commission voted 7-2 against Quick Quack’s request for a conditional use permit. Though the property is zoned for commercial use, launching a car wash would have required the permit.
“One of the big concerns was the noise and whether the car wash could meet our noise ordinance with it being next to a residential area,” Brierley said. Planning commission members “did a good job of keeping (debate) to the neighborhood impact issues.”
Quick Quack reps can appeal Wednesday’s decision to the Ogden Board of Zoning Adjustment and would have 15 days to do so. If that happens, Brierley said, that body can only assess whether the planning commission used legitimate rationale in rejecting the conditional use permit decision.
Either way, what happens now is in the hands of Quick Quack, Brierley said.
Other possible uses of the land that wouldn’t necessitate a conditional use permit, he said, include a restaurant, an office building, a tattoo parlor and more. The land where the car wash was to go in is owned by two entities called QQ Utah 5 and QQ Utah 4, both based in Roseville, California, same as Quick Quack.
Aside from relief that the Quick Quack plans were rebuffed, Armes expressed a measure of surprise that the car wash foes’ grassroots efforts yielded results.
“We almost didn’t fight it because we’re so used to big corporations having so much power,” she said. “I am really happily shocked.”