March 11, 2010
By Tim Simard
Plans for a proposed environmentally friendly car wash moved forward Tuesday night during a Development Review Board meeting. The board granted a pre-application permit to Eco Car Wash based on the design presented by the project’s owner.
Colchester businessman Aaron Vincelette wants to build the car wash on 2.2 acres at the corner of Vermont 2A and James Brown Drive. He said patrons using his facility would experience the “greenest” possible cleaning experience. Vincelette already owns an Eco Car Wash in Milton.
Vincelette said cars would enter a 150-foot tunnel, where the cleaning process will use eco-friendly soaps and less water than standard car washes. He said only 25 to 30 gallons would be used per vehicle.
“When people wash their cars at home, they use about 100 gallons (on average),” Vincelette told the board. “And all those phosphates in the soaps soak into the ground and into our ground water.”
The structure’s roof would be built to allow the sun to light the interior, therefore reducing electricity usage. The roof would also collect rainwater for recycling. Also, Vincelette said he plans to install up to 11 solar panels on the property. He’s looking into the AllSun Trackers, solar panels built by Williston’s AllEarth Renewables Inc.
“I’ll start out with just one, primarily because of the cost,” Vincelette said.
Immediately adjacent to the car wash will be another tunnel for vehicle interior detailing. Workers would clean the inside of a car while the driver waits in a small lobby, Vincelette said.
Another addition to the site would be a display area for Vincelette’s other business, Vermont Eco Cottage. He said he plans to put seven or eight of the garden sheds on a green space next to the car wash.
This addition came as a surprise to Williston Planning Director Ken Belliveau, who said he had not been apprised of the display area in Vincelette’s plans.
“That was the first I’d heard of it,” Belliveau said.
A few neighboring business owners and residents turned out at the meeting to hear about the project’s details. Gary Malle, owner of Champlain Self Storage, expressed concerns about the solar trackers. He said the devices would block the visibility of his business from Vermont 2A. The trackers might reduce a storage renter’s ability to self-monitor the site.
Malle also said the addition of Eco Car Wash could make the traffic situation at James Brown Drive even more difficult. Vincelette admitted to that possibility, but also pointed out that the town hopes to build a traffic light, turning lane and crosswalk at the busy intersection. Since it’s a state highway, the final say comes from the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Vincelette said officials told him a lack of funds at this time prevents any intersection improvements.
For now, the traffic bottleneck the intersection frequently creates will be considered in any future plans, board members said.
“We’re going to be asking for a traffic study between now and the next meeting,” board chairman Kevin McDermott said.