Car wash doesn't gleam brightly in planners' eyes

Proposal is washed out by aesthetic and flooding concerns

May 24, 2011

Greenfield - The Plan Commission didn't much like much of anything about a car wash proposed for 108th Street.

Members didn't like its look, which some people have likened to a Sonic drive-in restaurant because of its arched roof and bright yellow supports in one part of the plan. As proposed, it would also be too close to the road, they said.

But what really did the Sudz car wash in was its potential to make bad flooding in the area even worse.

David Ausloos - who opened his first Sudz Car Wash 40 years ago and owns other Sudz car washes in Menomonee Falls, Cudahy and Oshkosh - could see the Plan Commission wasn't buying into a proposal that he felt lent a "classy" design to a useful facility. As a result, he said he does not plan to pursue his hope to establish the car wash at 4201 S. 108th St.

But he defended his concept.

A different idea

The Sonic-like arched roof would have sheltered outdoor vacuum stalls. The business part of the Sudz Car Wash would have been a brick building.

The whole thing does not look like a car wash, Ausloos said.

"It would be first class or I wouldn't do it," he said Ausloos .

But the arched roofs struck Alderman Karl Kastner as something akin to a Quonset hut, and he wished there was more brick on the front, more landscaping and a service area that was not so close to homes.

Overall Kastner said, "I don't think this adds much aesthetic value."

And better aesthetics is something the city is driving businesses to achieve.

Owners of the Nissan dealership are putting a substantial investment in improving their property, and the city has successfully encouraged Aldi, Walmart and Napa Auto Parts to also go above and beyond, Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke said.

He and others also were concerned that the proposed Sudz would be so close to the road that it would not only stick out but would block views of neighboring Aldi and other businesses. They appreciated, however, that the lot is oddly shaped and not giving many options for where a building can be built.


Washed out

But it was the flooding potential that was paramount for Neitzke.

Even though Sudz would have had a stormwater retention pond to keep rain water on the property, Neitzke predicted it would be overwhelmed by flooding from everywhere else.

Speaking of highway 100, Neitzke said, "The entire highway is a stormwater retention pond."

And the effect of the car wash quadrupling the impervious surface on the site would just make that flooding worse, he predicted.

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