In another sign of resuscitation along Route 35 in Eatontown, the borough's planning board approved an application on Monday for a new car wash to open across the highway from Lowe's Home Improvement.
The Eatontown Car Wash will offer customers two bays for washing and a third for detailing services in the site of a former gas station that is adjacent to the former Eatontown Roller Rink and owned by borough resident Camille Varacalli and her niece Michele Sciangula of Staten Island.
Cars will enter the southern end of the property off Route 35 into one of three lanes that merge into a single lane as they wrap around to the rear of the building to the car wash entrance, according to engineer Charles Thomas of Omland Engineering Associates, Inc. in Cedar Knolls.
Cars will remain stationary in the bays as machines move back and forth spraying the vehicles with a high pressure wash of water and cleaning chemicals, said Robert Criscuolo, vice president of A.E. Styles Manufacturing Company, a manufacturer of car wash products located in Point Pleasant Beach.
Drivers will have the option of only having the exterior cleaned and remaining in their cars, explained Varacalli, or to get out while the interiors are vacuumed and cleaned. There will be a sign with a menu of cleaning options as drivers drive to the back of the building.
The 2,300 square-foot building will house the office, a payment counter, a waiting area and rest rooms, said architect Raymond E. O'Brien. A 12-foot addition at the rear of the building will be used for storage and to house the water recycling system and a handicap ramp.
Variances were approved for the number of parking spaces planned; the number and location of signs for the business; a four-foot chain link fence coated in dark brown to match the building and running along two sides of the property; and rear yard setbacks.
Final approval will be subject to modified lighting of the space; materials used for the dumpster enclosure; and the formalization of a "contingency plan" for the car wash, if more cars have queued than can be accommodated (a maximum of 17 cars can be stacked at one time).
Owners also need to apply to the NJ Department of Transportation to create a left turn lane on Route 35 to enter to car wash. Members of the planning board also asked that the exit lane be divided for cars turning right or left onto the highway. Landscaping also needs to be added to entrance to help screen the chainlink fence and create a barrier between the car wash and the former roller rink lot.
Owners of the empty lot that used to contain the roller rink were concerned about traffic cutting through their property to access the car wash, according to Thomas. Owners of both properties agreed on the installation of the fence to prevent that traffic.
Members of the planning board voiced concern about the aesthetics of the fence and the car wash owners agreed to pull it back from the property border along Route 35 to 30 feet from the curb.