WATERVILLE — The Planning Board late Monday voted 4-1 to recommend the City Council rezone the former A.L. Weeks & Sons property on Kennedy Memorial Drive to allow a car wash to be built there.

The business, to be an automatic, touchless car wash with no staff, is being proposed by Jerald Hurdle, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. Hurdle proposes the car wash operate 24 hours.

Neighbors, including residents and business people, turned out for the meeting at which they cited concerns about potential air pollution, noise and increased traffic from the car wash.

Stanley Theriault, of nearby Merryfield, was one of the more vocal residents.

“Once that car wash is there, what am I going to be listening to?” he asked.

Nick Champagne, an engineer for A.E. Hodsdon Engineers, of Common Street, said the decibel level would comply with zoning requirements.

Planning Board Chairman David Geller asked Hurdle if he was willing to limit the hours of operation of the car wash in the event the decibel levels during operation exceed the zoning ordinance maximum amount.

“Yes,” Hurdle said.

But Champagne said if the 55-decibel level requirement is met at the property line, there is no reason to limit the hours.

“Right, but we won’t know what that is until it’s built,” Planning Board member Alicia Barnes said.

Planning Board member Scott Workman said 60 decibels would be about the level of noise Monday’s audience heard when he and Planning Board member Paul Lussier, who was sitting next to him, spoke to each other.

Planning Board Chairman David Geller was the lone dissenter in the vote. Planners Justin DeMott and Jackie Dupont were absent from Monday’s meeting.

Geller said after the meeting that he voted against it because he opposes contract zoning, which changes the zone of a particular lot to accommodate a lot owner in the absence of any public necessity or need.

“It is exactly spot zoning,” Geller said.

The board recommended the property be rezoned from contract zoned district/commercial A to contract zoned district/ commercial C with several conditions, including that a 30-foot setback from the front property line and a 20- foot setback from the side and rear property lines of the commercially zoned portion of the property be installed; that off-street parking be set back a minimum of 15 feet from the Kennedy Memorial Drive property line and a minimum of 5 feet from all other property lines; and that a 15-foot-wide buffer be built along Kennedy Memorial Drive and a 20-foot-wide and 10-foot-high landscaped strip be installed. A solid six-foot-high fence along all property lines abutting homes also should be installed, according to proposed conditions.

Also, no driveway as part of the business may provide access to or from Merryfield Avenue, traffic may not back onto Kennedy Memorial Drive and traffic leaving the business must turn right only, according to proposed restrictions.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17