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Vehicle detailing business gets zoning approval

Council decision concludes lengthy process
Xtreme Reflections on 10th St. owned by Chris Meints can now legally be operated from the location. (File photo/Houston Today)

It’s taken months, has been the subject of debate at several council meetings and has consumed considerable District of Houston staff time, but Chris Meints now has had his 10 St. property rezoned so that he can legally operate his Xtreme Reflections vehicle detailing business there.

Council May 7 adopted the bylaw zoning amendment adding car washes to the property’s allowable uses, something Meints has wanted since last year.

He had been running his business there for the past three years under a temporary use permit, but when that ran out last fall, he submitted a rezoning application.

Council also dealt with two outstanding issues, the first being whether Meints needed a building permit for improvements to the property and whether he needed specific clearances for the handling of waste water.

Meeting any requirements from these two issues were contingent upon council adopting the rezoning bylaw amendment.

A four-page District of Houston staff memo to council dealt first with the matter of a building permit, determining that a small structure moved to the location by Meints was not attached to his main building and assumed “satisfactory inspection took place at [the] original construction of the building at a prior date.”

All that was required, building inspectors determined, was that Meints pay $112.50 for a permit to move the structure.

The matter of needing a permit for how waste water was handled was more complicated, involving contact with provincial environmental officials and with Urban Systems, the District of Houston’s primary consulting firm.

“After extremely extensive discussion with various ministries, engineering and environmental professionals and after review of the current development bylaws, staff are interpreting that the current setup of Xtreme Reflections and its oil and grit separator is compliant with both local and ministerial regulations,” corporate services director Karen Hogstead outlined in a memo to council.

Part of the council’s adopting of the zoning amendment, however, was a condition that the property owner would need authorization from environmental authorities should there some day be a proposal to add another operation on the property that would discharge solid or liquid waste or air contaminants.

The motion to adopt the bylaw amendment legalizing the operation of a carwash by Meints was moved by councillor Troy Reitsma and councillor Tom Stringfellow and passed unanimously.

Councillor Jonathan van Barneveld, who was acting as mayor at the meeting in the absence of mayor Shane Brienen, did refer to the process by which the rezoning application was processed.

“I think it has a benefit for both the District and the proponent in terms of knowing exactly what it’s about. It clears the air on the rules and we can all move forward,” he said.

The Meints application was first dealt with by council Jan. 7 when it agreed to move the rezoning request forward for a Feb. 9 public hearing.

It was councillor Troy Reitsma who advocated for both building permit and environmental clearance being obtained prior to the zoning amendment being approved.

To not do so, Reitsma said, would send a message to people that they can do what they want without bothering first to get permits.

About the Author: Rod Link

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