By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Plans for a car wash on the former site of Christus Victor Lutheran Church, 25535 Ford Road, was denied on a 3-2 vote by the Planning Commission Nov. 12.
Commissioners Alex Kinani, Siham Jaafar and Tom Waligorski opposed the request, Wissam Fadlallah and Andrea Zammitt were in favor with Wesam Issa and Jim Jomaa recusing from the vote.
A special land use to build the car wash was submitted by Dr. Hussein Darwiche on the site that is in a residential neighborhood and south of Ford Road.
Original plans for part of the site included multi-family units, but Darwiche withdrew them.
The former church was demolished in August after serving its congregation since it was built in 1964.
Before a special land use request is granted, the application is evaluated by nine criteria items, which the car wash failed to meet three of the nine.
Darwiche said Oct. 8 that he came with the proposal with good intention to improve the city he lives in and never meant for this to become such a political issue.
He also addressed the Facebook banter saying he wanted to keep the project professional, meeting the criteria of what the city requires.
Commissioners decided to continue their discussion and asked to receive further information on the traffic and drainage impact before making a decision at the Nov. 12 meeting.
Darwiche said he was willing to work with city and meet suggested recommendations provided to improve the proposed car wash plans.
The planning commission held a meeting Oct. 8, where members spent much of the time discussing the car wash plans and also hearing from the public, including residents who lived near the site.
Residents spoke about traffic concerns, protection to separate the car wash from houses, water safety, flooding and sewage issues, having too many car washes in the city and noise levels.
Supporters of the project said that modern car washes are environmentally friendly by reclaiming and recycling water, jobs would be brought to the city, Darwiche has good intentions with the car wash, and the economic development is an advantage.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])