David Paulk

FAIRLAWN: Protests from a local competitor did little to stop the Fairlawn Planning Commission last week from approving preliminary plans for a car wash on Cleveland-Massillon Road.

John Mallo, the owner of Montrose Auto Spa, was represented by attorney Robert Konstand at the planning commission meeting.

The dominate issue at the meeting was traffic and sidewalks.

Mayor William Roth said he wants to ensure pedestrians can move freely in the area.

Keeping the area free of traffic congestion was important to everyone including Konstand, who will be presenting a traffic study, and lighting and sidewalk plans to the planning commission in two months.

Konstand said the $2 million automated car wash is expected to employ eight to 12 workers and would be on 1.70 acres. Mallo wants it open by winter.

Kurt Loos, the owner of Montrose Laserwash on Brookmont Road, is opposed to the proposal.

His attorney, Stephen Pruneski, said they are concerned about traffic and the rezoning that was needed to move the project forward.

Loos said “this isn’t about competition,” but he is worried about the impact the car wash would have on his business.

“If you keep adding car washes, the number of people that go to each car wash keeps getting smaller,” Loos said.

He pointed to Conrad’s Tires on Ridgewood Road that was built last year.

“They [Conrad’s] copied me exactly,” Loos said. “They built an exact copy of my car wash last year and now I have one within sight of me that is going to decrease my numbers.”

Loos said he isn’t sure if he’s going to appeal the rezoning or not.

Konstand said Loos is entitled to challenge the rezoning.

“I understand where they’re [Loos] coming from,” Konstand said. “But we’ve done everything we were supposed to do.”

Randles said he doesn’t want to get in the way of businesses having the opportunity to locate in the city.

“Its direct competition for them,” Randles said. “Its competition on their doorstep, but our role as government isn’t to decide if we got too many car washes.”