COLONIE — A plan to demolish the Scottish Inns motel on Central Avenue and replace it with a “car salon,” was introduced to the Planning Board at its last meeting.
The plan, presented by Scott Shearing of Bohler Engineering on behalf of Farmingdale-based New Potato Creek Holding, would construct a 3,620-square-foot car Tidal Wave Auto Spa car wash and 26 vacuum spaces.
Shearing said to keep the noise level down the mechanicals that run the vacuums will be housed in one separate building, and the blower motor that dries autos as they exit the car wash is located at a door facing Central Avenue and away from the homes along the back of the site on Pinehurst and Lake roads.
“We recognize the residential area and we are maintaining the buffer,” Shearing said. “There are a lot of other uses that could be there but this is a strong one and the best use for this property.”
There are more than 100 Tidal Wave Auto Spas, mostly in the southeast, and the company is looking to break into new areas. This is the first location proposed for the Capital District, where Hoffman’s dominates the car wash industry. The closest Tidal Wave facility is in Watertown.
Members of the Planning Board agreed the car wash is an upgrade to the motel currently on the site but had concerns about traffic at the busy stretch of Central Avenue and about one of the business’s signature features – walls made of glass so everything happening inside can be seen from the outside.
“I take it with a glass enclosure there is a certain amount of lightening that goes on in this car wash. I’m concerned about that, I know it is their gig and fortunately a lot of it is hidden behind O’Reilly’s but I would not like a lot of that in the front 20 feet because I don’t think Central Avenue needs any more distraction for drivers coming eastbound,” said Planning Board Chairman Steven Heider. “There are people who think a four by eight digital sign is going overboard, and you are talking about a 100-foot long building that is a digital sign.”
Planning Board member Kevin Bronner Jr. said he liked the project but didn’t want to create additional traffic problems along the stretch of Central Avenue that includes two malls, a high school, a number of businesses, on and off ramps and a fire department.
The area is zoned Commercial Office Residential and a car wash is permitted but will require a special use permit due to the proximity of the residential neighborhood behind the site. The hotel was also a non-conforming use. Also, as proposed, the project will fall short of the 35 percent required greenspace and only have 32 percent greenspace so a waiver and/or monetary compensation is required.
Shearing said the business plans to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the chance of closing a little earlier in the winter and staying open a little later in the summer. Vacuums will not be available after hours.
The company is projecting more than 250 cars a day but, he said, most are not expected to come to the facility during peak travel times. He said the company sells memberships to customers, which represents the majority of its business, but will also sell car washes on an individual basis.
It will not have a retail component but will employ about 15 people with two or three on site during business hours.