Neighbors in the Blanchard Road area are up in arms about a proposed residential-to-professional rezoning.
A few weeks ago, homeowners in the Wheeler Road area were battling a request to build a batch of apartments nearby.
And a little more than a year ago, citizens in the Baston Road area were complaining about noise from a new car wash. They're still frustrated with the continued intrusion into their neighborhood's peace and quiet.
The good news, though, is that a solution to the car wash controversy seems to be in the works. The diplomacy is a good sign for other fights in which residents see growth as a threat.
The Shine Shop Express Auto Wash is located on Furys Ferry Road. Many residents are unhappy with the big, garish building that hardly seems compatible with the idea of Furys Ferry as a "gateway" corridor to the county.
But the problem isn't in whether the building is easy on the eyes; it's in how hard the car wash dryers are on the ears.
The jet dryers are really loud, and neighbors' complaints have led to a county citation against the car wash owners. The owners say they want to be good neighbors, and at first offered to make changes to their operation to buffer the dryers' sound.
All of that bogged down, however, as the case headed to court.
Instead of continuing to fight, however, the owners, nearby residents and county officials have been talking. While it's too early to know exactly how productive the discussion will be, it's likely at least that suggestions from the car wash owners will lead to a better county ordinance that clarifies what, exactly, is a nuisance.
The county ordinance leaves "nuisance" up to interpretation, without setting a decibel reading that can be objectively measured. Ultimately, setting a limit that anyone can verify is better than leaving it up to whomever might be holding the citation book.
More importantly, the discussion holds a clear lesson for current and future zoning conflicts: Many problems can be solved if both sides will just talk about it.
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