City weights regulation of mobile carwash firms
by Meda Freeman

The Conejo Valley Daily NewsTHOUSAND OAKS - Mobile carwash businesses should be required to obtain a $150 permit from the city and the written permission of property owners before they roam through Thousand Oaks looking for vehicles to scrub, according to a recommendation by city staff.

The Planning Commission, which will review the staff report on Monday, could recommend that the City Council require all mobile car wash operators to begin operating under a one-year administrative action permit, which the city would grant on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to the permit, proposed regulations would allow mobile carwashes to clean only five vehicles per day in one parking lot and also require them to have written permission from the owners of the property where the washing occurs.

Proposed regulations of mobile car washing under consideration by the Planning Commission on Monday include:

*Requiring a one-year, $150 permit.

*Limiting washing to parking lots of commercial office buildings, industrial complexes, apartments, condominiums, townhomes and single-family homes by appointment only.

* Requiring written permission from property owners, excluding single-family homes.

* Limiting total vehicles washed in one lot to five per day.

*Banning the use of any soaps, solvents or other chemicals.

*Backflow devices on storage tanks of service vehicles.

"The only proposal in there I didn't like was limiting the number of cars per lot," said Lance Winslow, owner of The Car Wash Guys, explaining that customers will be upset if their cars are not among the five washed that day.

"If everybody wants it, we should be allowed to do it," Winslow said. 

Under the proposed rules, mobile carwashes would be allowed to clean vehicles only in parking lots of commercial office buildings, industrial complexes, condominiums, townhomes, apartments and single-family homes.   They would not need written permission from a homeowner to wash a car in the home's driveway.

The city council has already decided that mobile carwashes are not allowed in retail centers.  Now, the Planning Commission will have to decide whether the carwashes should be prohibited in all centers that are a combination of retail and office buildings or allowed in some centers that have stand-alone office buildings with separate parking lots.

Also, commissioners will have to decide whether to prohibit the car washers from soliciting business door-to-door while cleaning vehicles.

The proposed regulations are a combination of suggestions made by a special Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce committee - comprised of mobile carwash businesses, fixed carwash owners and city officials - and fine-tuning by city staff.

Reprinted from The Conejo Valley Daily News, September 10, 1993.

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