Rules set for mobile carwashes
T.O. council softens planners' proposals
by Meda Freeman
Daily News Staff Writer

THOUSAND OAKS - The City Council on Tuesday approved regulations for mobile carwashes that are significantly more lenient than the restrictions that were proposed by the Planning Commission and city staff.

After an approximately three-hour hearing, council members voted 3-1, with Jaime Zukowski dissenting and Alex Fiore absent, to adopt the revised regulations for businesses that roam the city, scrubbing vehicles.

The council amended the proposed restrictions so they do not limit the amount of time these businesses can spend working in certain areas or require the carwash operators first to obtain written permission from individual property owners.  The council also exempted mobile auto detailers from the restrictions.

"For the most part, I don't think a lot of this can be enforced anyway," said Councilman Frank Schillo as he suggested the majority of numerous deletions and revisions to the proposed regulations.

The city has been reviewing the issue of mobile car washing for about three years, initially responding to concerns about the environmental quality of the water runoff from these roaming businesses.  The lengthy review process included a series of meetings with city staff and area carwash operators in a special Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce committee.

About a dozen people spoke out against the proposed regulations Tuesday, saying they felt it was discriminatory and would force many of these business people out of jobs.

"This resolution puts me out of business," said Michael Tachco, who owns a detailing business and was worried that officials were not proposing he be given enough time to work on a car in a certain area.   "That's all there is to it - at least in the Conejo Valley.  I took a big risk - a chance.  I put my family in jeopardy to do this."

Councilwoman Judy Lazar said Tuesday she could not now support many of the proposed restrictions, especially because water regulatory officials have not taken issue with the possible runoff concern.

"The water runoff at this time is not a problem," Lazar said.  "Sometimes we get carried away with our effort to control what we see as a possibly detrimental (situation)."

The regulations approved by the council Tuesday require mobile carwash operators to get a $150 administrative permit from the city, can only use potable water without any soap of additives and cannot wash on city streets except in residential area.  They also will be prohibited from washing cars in the parking lots or retail centers but can work behind such shopping centers.

And instead of requiring the mobile carwash operators to get written permission from property owners in commercial office and industrial areas or condominium and apartment complexes, landowners will be required to post signs specifying they do not want mobile car washers on the site, the council decided.

Reprinted from Daily News, November 11, 1993.

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