A proposed gas station, car wash and convenience store project that drew the ire of a nearby business and raised concerns about potential noise can now make a clean entrance into the city.
Brentwood leaders this week confirmed the planning commission’s decision to approve the project — a Rotten Robbie gas station, detached drive-thru car wash and convenience store, at 6860 and 6890 Lone Tree Way — after hearing that a nearby business's appeal of the project lacked merit and a recently completed sound study determined that the business would not generate significant noise impacts.
“What’s been confirmed by all sides is this does follow our general plan,” said Brentwood Vice Mayor Joel Bryant. “This piece of property was specifically planned to house a business of this type.”
The planning commission approved the project in mid-2019, but the decision was appealed by representatives of the nearby Brentwood Auto Spa, who expressed a series of concerns, including the city failed to consider the impact of a competing car wash on the economic viability of the established business; the urban decay that could arise if the new establishment forced others to close; and the potential for underground storage tanks being abandoned.
Hearing the appeal late last year, the council raised unrelated concerns about the business's noise impacts, opting to complete a noise study.
Senior Planner Debbie Hill noted this week that an outside consultant determined no significant noise impacts would be generated by increased traffic or the facility’s operation, including the car wash, gas station and convenience market.
The proposed site is located on the northwest corner of the Lone Tree Way and Fairview Avenue intersection, with the Visions at Brentwood residential subdivision across Lone Tree Way, south of the property.
The nearest residence is an estimated 408 feet south of the car wash building and also across an arterial street in Lone Tree Way.
The business is expected to feature 20 fueling stations, with its convenience store and gas station operating 24 hours and its drive-thru car wash available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
All residents within 300 feet of the proposed project were notified of its possible arrival, with none expressing formal objection.
“I think if there was concern from the neighbors on the south side of Lone Tree — they were all notified of this meeting, of this application — they would have either sent us emails or participated in this meeting,” Councilmember Karen Rarey said.
City staff further noted that there is no evidence to suggest the project’s approval would cause urban decay and struck down the notion that it’s the city’s responsibility to shield current businesses, like the Brentwood Auto Spa, from competition when reviewing land-use applications.
Additionally, it appears that the established auto spa and future gas station and car wash would offer different services, according to a city staff report.
“The proposed use is exclusively drive-through, with price options that would typically range between $10 and $14,” Hill wrote. “According to its website, Brentwood Auto Spa, in addition to washing and polishing, also provides services not available at a drive-thru, including detailing, carpet shampooing, tar removal, odor removal, leather conditioning and water spot removal. As a result of these additional services and features, the range of car wash prices at Brentwood Auto Spa is between $28 to $43.”
Several councilmembers appeared to base their decision on the fact that the proposed project conforms to the city’s general plan and meets California Environmental Quality Act guidelines.
“We have put (the proposed business) through the whole process to see if this is something that can actually happen within that community, and it has done everything it needs to do,” Councilmember Johnny Rodriguez said.
But Brentwood Auto Spa attorney Becky Diel, however, noted the new business's arrival could have negative effects.
She stated Brentwood Auto Spa saw a 10 to 15% decrease in volume when the nearby Arco station opened up a full car wash, and projected that the auto spa’s business could dip by an additional 20 to 30% — rendering the business unprofitable in its current form, forcing a partial or full closure.
She also warned the council that California has mandated a fuel consumption reduction by 2030, meaning the public’s gas needs will be reduced and stations will close.
“Each of these gas stations represents a brownfield, which is a term applied to property where its expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance,” Diel said. “A shuttered gas station presents a potential toxic wasteland.”
Opposing attorney Bryan Wenter, however, said Rotten Robbie officials are excited to come to Brentwood. He claimed that Brentwood Auto Spa’s concerns were centered entirely on economic competition.
“It’s a great project,” he told the council. “It’s coming and you have a committed business owner in a scary economic environment that remains committed to doing a project in a great community like Brentwood.”
The proposed business has not publicly disclosed an opening date. For more information on the project, see packet page 139 at https://bit.ly/2X46Zwc.