Although Hastings City Council members approved the first reading of a rezoning ordinance for a proposed tunnel car wash on North Burlington Avenue, the second and final readings weren’t passed, thus giving more time for public input.

Ordinances require three readings for passage. Typically, the council approves the second and third readings of an ordinance right after the first vote, to pass the issue in a single council meeting.

Councilman Butch Eley voted against the passage of the second and final readings Monday, however. Council members Shawn Hartmann and Joy Huffaker were absent.

According to Nebraska statute, rules for final passage are suspended if the suspension is approved by three-fourths of the members-elect of the council, which would be six votes.

Even though the vote to approve the second and third readings was 5-1, the issue failed.

“I’m for this car wash,” Eley said. “I voted for the car wash, but I do want to give it another week or two for the general public, in case there’s any other input once it goes out into the news media.”

Because the ordinance didn’t pass, council members then voted 6-0 to table a resolution for a conditional use permit for the car wash.

Thomas Kayton of Seward with WashTech presented the plan.

It takes three minutes for a vehicle to make it through the 100-foot cleaning tunnel.

The car wash will incorporate a water reclaim system that will reuse 70% of the water used in the car wash, ensuring no back-up of water in the streets.

Kayton said the intent is to provide smaller cities with the high-tech tunnel carwash service available in larger communities. WashTech is about to open its first such car wash in Norfolk.

With a similar population to Norfolk and daily traffic count of around 20,000 vehicles at that location on Burlington Avenue, Kayton said Hastings was a good fit for the $3 to $4 million investment needed for the project.

Kayton Development LLC purchased five properties on the west side of Burlington Avenue between 13th and Hill streets, where the car wash will be located. Those properties are now vacant. Most of them were in substandard condition and would need complete restoration to get them back to working order.

Access to WashTech will be from Hill Street and 13th Street to ensure there are no back-ups on Burlington Avenue.

Steve Marvel, who owns the property at 910 W. 13th St. just west of the proposed car wash, encouraged the council to vote against the rezoning and the conditional use permit.

He said the house adjacent to his own that would be removed isn’t in as bad of condition as described.

“The house (to the east of Marvel’s property) has some new paint on the back windows, trim and looks OK to me,” he said. “In my perspective, its present state is much superior to the proposed car wash.”

He expressed concern about the noise and environmental pollution from the vehicles going through the car wash.

To deal with the noise of the car wash, the vacuums will be on the east side only.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Pole lighting on the west side will be full cutoff with poles less than 25 feet high.

A 6-foot fence will separate the majority of the length of the development from residences to the west.

The comprehensive plan refers to Burlington Avenue as a commercial corridor.

There are seven conditions, including providing specific details for the accessible parking space as a van-accessible space with building permit; and working with the neighbor to the south of what is currently 1301 N. Burlington Ave. to establish a private easement for the sewer line that services that property and will ensure that there is nothing built over the line other than impervious surface or landscaping.

Councilman Ted Schroeder thanked Kayton for investing in Hastings.

“Hastings, at this point, really needs people to come in and make multimillion investments, and there is opportunities in here,” Schroeder said. “We have enough population. I think you said with 20,000 cars you could put in a multimillion-dollar investment. That should hopefully give enthusiasm to other potential investors to find lots, whether they are out north or to the south. Hopefully that will stimulate more development for commercial to come in.”

Also during the meeting, council members unanimously approved a closure removal agreement with the Union Pacific Railroad for the 16th Street viaduct.

This is the first of two agreements the city will need to enter into with the railroad regarding the demolition of the viaduct. Once approved, the Union Pacific will send the city a construction agreement that will contain the UP’s specifications and requirements for the demolition, which would become part of the contract to be let to a contractor to do the actual demolition.

Lee Vrooman, director of engineering for the city, said the estimated cost for engineering and inspection is $80,000, and the cost for flagging would be $1,400 per day for 20 days.

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