City Of Saline To Tackle Topic Of Blight

By Angelo Parlove

It’s probably not one of the first matters that comes to mind when considering issues facing Saline, but the city will address blight as one of the topics at its code review task force meeting in August.

The City of Saline currently has a limited blight ordinance, aimed mostly at property owners such as very negligent landlords, City Superintendent and Engineer Gary Roubal said. “A blight ordinance is made for really severe cases,” Roubal further said.

The issue came up at the Saline planning commission meeting on July 12, when commission members and city staff were discussing the proposed Clean Get-A-Way Car Wash on Sage Court.

In late 2016, Douglas Deal of Huron Valley Sales requested approval from the planning commission for a combined preliminary and final site plan for the car wash, which laid out details for an automated exterior express tunnel, up to six self-service bays, up to two detailing bays and 12 self-service vacuum stations.

The facility was also expected to employ as many as 12 workers.

However, back in 2006, a site plan for Clean Get-A-Way Car Wash was also approved, with building permits previously issued for the location in 2004, 2005 and 2008. Although started, work on the car wash had never been completed.

According to a memo from Roubal to the planning commission dated Dec. 8, 2016, “the site improvements had been about 90 percent completed through a period of time that the applicant experienced legal issues with the contractor and also the impacts of the recession.”

The existing structures of the proposed car wash at 121 Sage Court includes an automated bay, two detailing bays, four self-serve wash bays and a refuse enclosure with an attached storage shed. In late 2016, the surface areas, pavements, interior equipment and building structure at the location all required restoration work.

“He does maintain the site to some extent from being dilapidated,” Roubal said at the planning commission meeting this week.

The planning commission again approved a site plan for Clean Get-A-Way Car Wash at their December 14, 2016, meeting, which detailed the final updates and improvements needed to complete the construction of the car wash facilities and lot. At that meeting, Deal estimated a completion time frame in Fall 2017.

However, there is currently a lack of progress towards the new work at the car wash.

“[Deal] does intend on progressing on the car wash. He’s planning on making improvements to the equipment he is going to install, and he apologizes for the delay made in progress,” Roubal told the planning commission members July 12, reading from an email sent to him by Deal that same day.

The city will now look to segue this particular project and site into the upcoming discussion of blight, Saline Mayor Brian Marl said.

“As a voting member of the code review task force, there is going to be a meeting again in the next month, and I’ve talked to Chairman Little about a number of these issues, not specific to the Clean Get- A-Way Car Wash, but about properties, maintenance and blight,” Marl further said. “In fact, our new code enforcement officer [Gary Scheske] also suggested a change and some enhancements be done to our existing policy.”

The new site plan for the Clean Get-A-Way Car Wash is valid for one year, up to December 2017. “He has 12 months to get his game together, so to speak,” Roubal said.

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