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The owner of MEGA Auto Spa on John Tyler Highway in James City County is hoping to build a second location on George Washington Memorial Highway (Route 17) in York County.
The proposed auto spa would be located behind a Stormwater Management Area on Sports Way, the road leading from Route 17 — where the spa would have a frontage — to the York County Sports Complex. It would contain a 9,000 to 12,000 square foot building with a 120-foot wash tunnel, a nine-car detailing center and an indoor lounge where customers could wait as their cars were detailed, according to a memorandum from York County Planner Tim Cross.
The auto spa is proposed to be built at a site formerly slated to become a mini-golf course. The York County Board of Supervisors voted in January to approve a mini-golf course for the site, however that proposal later fell through after the effort to build it ran into difficulties with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to Gayle Musser, one of the people behind the course. The Corps is tasked with evaluating how development affects wetlands, and there are several on the property.
In his memorandum, Cross said the property is encumbered by power transmission lines from Dominion Virginia Power, wetlands and a drainage ditch, which make it a challenge to develop.
“Given the various constraints and obstacles, staff believes the applicant has proposed a plan for the property that will allow it to be developed successfully in a manner that is compatible with the surrounding area and consistent with the Comprehensive Plan,” Cross wrote.
Because the building would have garages facing Route 17, the owner, Mathew J. Blanchard, has said he would install brick screening between the detailing bays and vacuuming stations that would block the view of the garage from Route 17. Customers would also have access to 20 vacuums. Cross said a range of interior and exterior cleaning services would be available at the spa.
Blanchard told WYDaily MEGA Auto Spa is a family operation, based out of Williamsburg.
“We’ve been studying the whole Peninsula and looking at that area where the competition with newer car washes is not there,” Blanchard said. “The car count on that highway is very high, and the demographic is a good one.”
He said he opened his location on John Tyler Highway in March 2012 and has since generated a well-established customer base. The spa offers a range of services, from a basic exterior wash to a full-service interior and exterior treatment.
Blanchard said the new location will create 12 to 14 full-time jobs and another 20 part-time jobs.
“We’re excited about our Wiliamsburg operation, and we’re anxious to get the second one up and running,” Blanchard said.
Cross said the proposed building seems to be consistent with standards established for Route 17. The structure would be made of brick and feature a monument-style sign on a brick base on Route 17.
The Harwood Mills mobile home park is adjacent to the site where the auto spa would be built. Staff has proposed the construction of an opaque fence to provide a visual barrier between the spa and the trailers.
Cross recommended the York County Planning Commission recommend the Board of Supervisors approve the auto spa. The planners will consider the matter at their Feb. 12 meeting, at which point they will issue a recommendation on what the supervisors should do. The supervisors have not yet set a date to consider the matter.
The commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal. Anyone interested in commenting on it may do so at Wednesday’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at York Hall.