Porter County car wash wins board approval
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent April 21, 2013 10:44PM
Updated: April 22, 2013 1:23PM
VALPARAISO — Members of the Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals were pleased with revised plans to put a car wash at the Luke Oil at U.S. 6 and Meridian Road, part of a renovation plan for the gas station, and gave the project the go-ahead at their meeting Wednesday.
The revisions included pushing the car wash farther north on the site —and farther away from U.S. 6 — to help prevent a line of cars from stacking up on the busy highway.
With a 5-0 vote, the board approved the variance for the car wash, with the stipulations that if the BZA determined stacking was an issue, a representative from Luke Oil would return before the board to work things out, and a Luke Oil employee would be onsite to direct traffic during busy times.
Most customers at other Luke Oil sites pump gas first for a discount for getting a car wash, then proceed into the store to get their receipt before heading to the car wash, said Mike Zell, general manager for construction for Luke Oil.
The site design will help customers negotiate from one spot to the next, as well as in and out of the facility, more safely, Zell said.
“I like this plan. It’s much improved. It’s commendable that you took into account our safety concerns,” said board member Michael Young.
In other business, the board granted a second five-year variance for a landscaping and excavating business, as well as a contractor’s storage yard, to Jeffrey Jirtle, who owns the business at 252 W. U.S. 6. in Liberty Township.
The business is open six days a week, and Jirtle stores a limited amount of equipment outdoors.
The approval came with a couple of caveats. A house on the property has been for sale and board members said if Jirtle sells the house, his variance will expire.
And if he comes back before the BZA in another five years, the board will require that the variance undergo a public hearing.
“You’ll be almost starting over,” board member Tim Cole said.