Council holds off on enforcing carwash ordinance
WESTLAKE VILLAGE - The City Council has placed a moratorium on enforcing an ordinance regulating carwashes in the city and directed staff to study options for revising the city code.
Council members said at Wednesday night's meeting that they wanted staff to review the ordinance because owners of fixed carwashes had complained that the mobile firms compete unfairly by violating the ordinance.
"The city has two options," Hamid Arshadi, associate planner for the City of Westlake Village, said in a report to the council. "One is prohibiting mobile carwashes. The second is the City Council could regulate mobile carwashes similar to fixed ones. In this case, the city would have to amend the city ordinance. Until then mobile carwashes will be allowed to operate as usual."
An ordinance adopted in July 1982 regulates carwashes by prohibiting activities that adversely affect underground or surface waters or discharge pollutants into sanitary sewers or storm drains, Arshadi said.
Zoning laws allow fixed carwashes in commercial and industrial zones subject to a conditional use permit, he said.
About half a dozen representatives of both mobile and fixed carwashes showed up at the council meeting to discuss the issue.
Nadir Moradian, owner of Westlake Village Car Wash, said the mobile washes are able to circumvent many regulations.
"We are required to have the waste generated hauled to authorized waste-haulers," Moradian said. "The mobile carwashers violate the industrial waste laws by dumping pollutants on the parking lot, therefore, directly into the environment."
Greg Dumond of Polish Masters of America, a mobile carwash firm, presented a report claiming that cleaners his firm uses to wash cars are organic and don't pollute water systems.
"We use citrus-based cleaners," Dumond said. "I was going to bring some to drink to prove that our cleaners don't pose an environmental threat."
Councilwoman Berniece Bennett said that she was concerned about the allegations of unfair competition.
"I know that the one fixed carwash in Westlake Village pays about $6,200 in fees and taxes to the city," Bennett said.
"If mobile carwashes are allowed to continue, the council should enact strict licensing. And if they don't adhere to regulations, there should be stiff penalties," she said. "They either pay up or get out."
Councilman Ken Rufener said that he hasn't heard of any complaints from residents.
"I don't want to see mobile carwashes banned," Rufener said. "I want to see some fact finding on pollutants in storm drains. I think the city has a need for both fixed and mobile carwashers.
Reprinted from The Conejo Valley Daily News, January 29,1993.