GRAND REPIDS, Michigan (GRES) – A plan is underway in Grand Rapids to replace the Adobe In & Out restaurant with shutters with a car wash.
On Thursday, c Grand Rapids Planning Commission narrowly approved a special use permit for Quality Car Wash for the construction of the Tommy’s Express tunnel car wash near the corner on Leonard Street east of Fuller Avenue, NE.
QCW plans to demolish Adobe In & Out to build a car wash and self-service vacuum cleaner parking that will be located on two plots with a total area of about 35,000 square feet.
Jeff Bursma, who owned Adobe for decades before handing over the business to his son, addressed the commissioners before the vote.
“Suffer me when I’m a little emotional. Little history there. We have been working with Adobe for 20 years. We have been in Grand Rapids for more than 50 years … With a heavy heart we decided to close this place for the health of the family and the atmosphere in which we have been for the last two years. Tommy, I saw that they were persistent in a positive way. They’ve been looking at this site for the last five to seven years, and I’ve put it off, and put it off, and put it off because we’ve done good business there. We served the public well. But when it came time to do something, they were still there, ”Bursma said.
“I support this so we can relocate our family. I think this is a good use for this area and we will keep Fulton Street and our restaurants in Chicago Drive and move on, ”he concluded.
Some members of the community were not so interested in change. Two members of the Northeast Civil Action Association shared their concerns, saying the car wash, which was expected to service 950 cars a day, was not in line with the city’s vision when zoning the area for traditional neighborhood / traditional business use.
“If approved, the city will abandon the concept of a pedestrian district at the intersection of Leonardo and Fuller,” said Paul Greenwald of NECAA.
Greenwald also said the Family Fare is the only grocery store next to adjacent living and ancillary living spaces, so wheelchairs are often found on the sidewalk that runs across the site.
At least three commissioners voiced opposition to the proposal at the beginning of the debate: Laurel Joseph, Christopher Germain and Lawrence Williams.
“A restaurant with a driveway, something like that and a car wash are also two very different things for the neighborhood. You walk into a restaurant, you can see your friends, and it can become a gathering place next door. You will never get this at a car wash. You know you’re going to go there, you’re going to pay, you’re going to reduce. It’s hard. I think the letter from the district association has a lot of weight for me. I think they came up with something here. I have no doubt that the applicants tried very hard to build a really good facility. I doubt it fits here, ”Germain said.
Williams said the proposal “would be quite helpful” but would not lead the city to its vision of a passing community.
“I think we need to start with something, and if we want to see that it might be more accessible for a walk, then maybe it’s time to act on it,” Williams said.
Other members of the planning commission pointed to the nearby enterprises with involvement, which were developed before the new zoning rules, saying that this business should not be an exception.
“It won’t become more accessible to the public intersection for walks because of this use if we already have existing uses that don’t match the accessibility of the intersection,” said Stacy Beller, a member of the planning committee.
“It’s not the Rich, it’s not Bridge and it’s not Leonard on the other side. I don’t think I have the same expectations about meeting the TBA (zoning) standard here, “said Paul Roosebum, a member of the planning committee.
The Planning Commission has added two more conditions to the project that require the developer to use landscaping to screen utility bins for three of the four seasons and get the approval of a city stormwater engineer.
At least two members of the planning commission voted against the project in the final vote, but the project received enough support to continue.