The Weatherford city council approved a permit for a carwash at 701 Fort Worth Highway in a 3-1 vote Tuesday night with specific conditions set for the applicant.

City staff had previously recommended denial of Auto Spa based on the vacuums being placed at the front of the property and the theme not meeting the city’s U.S. 180 corridor vision. However, the Weatherford Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the carwash on July 8.

The planning and zoning commission recommended approval with four conditions — there is adequate parking for office spaces and the carwash, the signage and fountain should not distract from Weatherford’s western heritage, the vacuums in front will not have canopies and will be painted a non-intrusive color and the removal of the existing pole sign and restrict it to a monument sign not to exceed 35 feet in height, which should also be appropriate for the corridor.

“We feel thrilled to be in Weatherford. This is a great community and 20 years from now this community will have grown significantly, and we plan to be a part of that growth. We purchased this site in 2017 and have done a few things since then,” Express Wash America Owner Steve Stallard said. “We plan to build a wash there under the Pirate Falls theme and this is a car wash that I think you can all be proud of. This is going to be a building that’s very bright, it can handle well over 1,000 cars a day, it will have 40 vacuums and those vacuums are free to use, so we think it will do well there on Fort Worth Highway.”

Stallard said the carwash will be a hybrid model where residents can choose to stay in their vehicles through the washing cycle and can also choose to exit to have the interior cleaned.

“We also do a lot of fundraising at our car washes, we believe in getting involved in the community,” Stallard said. “We get with local school organizations and we’ll hold car washes on Saturdays and get the community involved, and we’ll actually donate a portion of the proceeds to whatever organization it is.”

Three council members said they were alright with having the car wash there, but wanted to approve it with conditions, adding they didn’t feel the pirate ship and waterfall theme fit Weatherford’s western heritage. Mayor Pro Tem Heidi Wilder did not believe the car wash was fitting for the U.S. 180 corridor.

“I want you to remember back where we have a retail shopping center that was a property and it was not pretty — that detracted from our corridor — and now we have a retail shopping center that is amazing and foot traffic is important. I don’t think this is the right fit for what we’re going for,” Wilder said. “I think retail wants to be around retail. I love car washes, don’t misunderstand me, but I just don’t think right there is the place for a car wash. Our vision has been to clean Fort Worth Highway up and make it more of a retail shopping and dining experience for our customers. We’ve started to turn the corner and we can actually see improvement, we can see our vision coming and I do not believe this is the right use for that property. I think that property could be turned into a wonderful shopping center and maybe we need to wait and see if that’s a possibility.”

The conditions set forth by the city council were that the signage and fountain not exceed a height of 8 feet tall, the vacuums are individual per unit and not connected by piping above ground and that they match, and that the pole sign is removed and replaced with a monument sign that does not exceed 12 feet.

Wilder was the lone council member to vote against the motion. 

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