In a water use application, Metro Carwash describes itself as a ‘state-of-the-art carwash facility which will utilize cutting edge water conservation measures and techniques.’ Metro owns two similar car washes, one in Reno and one in Sparks.
Metro Carwash, a prospective Carson City business, went before the Growth Management Commission on Sept. 29 to request 29,500 gallons of water daily. Though the commissioners approved their application in a 3-2 vote, Metro’s prospective competitors say that it’s too large of a water allotment.
Sierra Car Wash, owned by Raceway Car Wash Co., has appealed Growth Management’s decision to the Board of Supervisors. Raceway’s facility on 3130 S. Carson St. is less than a quarter mile north of Metro’s proposed site.
James Cavilia, an attorney with Allison MacKenzie, representing Raceway, filed the letter of appeal, which says that “allocation of nearly twice the allotted amount of water for a commercial use to a drive-through car wash is an inappropriate use of Carson City’s limited water resources.”
Similar car washes use an average of just over 9,000 gallons per day, with a high of 14,900 gpd. Commercial and industrial projects are allowed up to 15,000 gpd. Any property that requires more must file an application with Growth Management.
Metro originally requested 46,000 gpd but lowered the ask to 29,500 gpd after Growth Management commissioners expressed discomfort with the allocation and encouraged representatives to come back with a decreased request. City staff reassured the commission that Carson City has the infrastructure to support the water use.
Alongside the 29,500 gpd of city water, the approved application also gives Metro the option to seek out other water sources. If Metro is found at any point to be in violation of its water agreement, it has more options for reconciliation, such as licensing water rights to the city in an amount equivalent to any excess water used.
In an email correspondence with the Appeal, Ernie Ionno, founder and operator of Metro Carwash, said that “Metro is not requesting an inappropriate amount of water. Metro is simply requesting enough water to wash .033 percent of the average daily traffic count on S. Carson St., which is a standard capture rate metric in the professional car wash industry and our anticipated capture rate in year three.”
Ionno has worked in the car wash industry for over three decades, and he said that car washes like his own use an average of 35 gallons per vehicle, compared to over 100 gallons that many residents use in an at-home wash. He said that Metro is hoping to capture their market from a portion of those at-home car washers.
Capitol Carwash LLC, the name under which Metro purchased their site along South Carson Street, also filed an appeal of Growth Management’s decision. Filing an appeal allows Metro to bring their case before the district court if the Board of Supervisors does not vote in their favor.
The city has yet to schedule the Board of Supervisors hearing for the appeal.