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Toledoans question need for more car washes

Perrysburg City Council recently paused the construction of new car washes.
Credit: Dmitrii - stock.adobe.com
The inscription on a dirty car, "wash me."

TOLEDO, Ohio — The eventual closure of Uncle John’s Pancake House on Secor Road in west Toledo to make room for an expansion of a neighboring car wash has Toledoans wondering about the spate of car washes that are opening or have recently opened in the area. 

Many, if not most, of the comments on WTOL 11’s social media posts about the closure of Uncle John’s brought up the issue. Where many bemoan the need for more car washes, others argue their construction is a sign of positive business development. 

In other words, should the "free market" be the final determinant of what gets built and where, or should the government be able to put the brakes on development of businesses for the sake of aesthetics or quality of life if that's what voters decide should happen? 

The issue, as many see it, is not just confined to Toledo.

Perrysburg City Council recently passed an ordinance pausing the construction of new car washes within their city.

Council president Jonathan Smith says citizens complained when a proposal was made to turn the property where Social Gastro Pub was, into a car wash. 

Smith said council preemptively approved the measure to stop that from happening. He also said there was concern about what happens to the buildings that car washes occupy if they go out of business. 

A car wash on West South Boundary Street, for instance, has been abandoned for years.

Smith said there are, right now, seven car washes in Perrysburg and an additional nine within a mile of the city. 

For now, with the decision of Uncle John’s to sell, the expansion of Whitewater Express Car Wash continues to move forward, pending final approval from the plan commission. 

Another car wash is currently being built across the street in front of the Home Depot parking lot in Perrysburg.

In Toledo, the question of whether this particular style of business should be more heavily regulated is one for the future, however. Toledo City Council, as of now, has no plans to address the issue.


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