WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday voted 6-0 to postpone voting on a site plan for a controversial automatic car and dog wash at 145 Kennedy Memorial Drive until after the City Council has voted whether to rezone the property to allow for the business.

Monday’s unanimous vote followed more than an hour of discussion about Jerald Hurdle’s request to build Yellow Dog Car Wash on the former A.L. Weeks & Sons property. Hurdle, an osteopathic doctor, proposes to have the touchless car and dog wash business open 24 hours seven days a week.

Hurdle stood to explain why he thought a car and dog wash would be good for the neighborhood and the community, saying many people, including health care workers, work the graveyard shift and can not wash their vehicles or dogs during regular hours. Neighbors complained, however, that it would cause noise, draw vagrants and drug dealers, and make the streets icy and dangerous in winter.

Board member Alicia Barnes moved to postpone voting on the site plan for the business until the council votes to rezone, if it does. City Solicitor Bill Lee recommends that the council consider whether to rezone the property before planners review a site plan, Barnes said.

Board Chairman David Geller seconded her motion, saying that despite what members of the city administration have said to the newspaper, Lee recommends that the council consider the zoning change before the Planning Board votes on a site plan.

Geller read aloud an email from Lee to City Planner Ann Beverage that confirms that recommendation.

“While the Planning Board can probably approve a site plan contingent upon the council approving a zoning change, the strongly preferred route is to have the zoning change approved first,” Lee’s email, dated Monday, says. “That way, the proposed use is legal at the time the Planning Board considers the site plan.”

If the Planning Board were to approve a site plan with conditions and then the council approves a zoning change with terms contradicting those conditions, the applicant would have to appear before the Planning Board again with a modified site plan, Lee’s email says:

“Regarding the KMD rezoning proposal, I am aware that the council wants to see the results of the site plan review before voting on the proposed contract zone, and I expect the Planning Board will provide that review tonight. For the future, I think it would be helpful to have language in the zoning ordinance expressly allowing or disallowing this way of proceeding.”

Barnes said not taking Lee’s advice would “set a horrible precedent.”

Al Hodsdon of A.E. Hodsdon Engineers, which represents Hurdle, said Hurdle planned to come back to the Planning Board regardless of what action the board took Monday.

Geller asked Hodsdon if the proposed project is in compliance with current zoning, to which Hodsdon replied that it was not.

Geller was the lone dissenter in a 4-1 vote June 15 by the board to recommend the council rezone the property to allow Hurdle’s business. Geller said doing so amounts to spot zoning, or changing the zone of a particular lot to accommodate a lot owner in the absence of any public necessity or need.

Planning Board member Scott Workman was absent from Monday’s meeting.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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