Commission approves site plans for gas station, car wash project

Construction on a new gas station and car wash development could start as early as this winter after the Planning Commission approved site plans for the project Wednesday.

The development includes a 4,288-square-foot Fresh Fill convenience store, 4,590-square-foot Chevron fuel station and 525-square-foot automatic car wash at the northwest corner of Ward Road and East Pacheco Boulevard.

The commission also voted in favor of a conditional use permit for the convenience store to sell beer and wine.

“It’s going to bring a few more jobs into town, which is something we all need, and hopefully a little more city revenue,” Commissioner John Cates said.

The project would create 19 parking spaces, including one handicap space. Drought-tolerant plants will be planted along the south and east ends of the property, buffering the development from the major intersection.

The building includes design elements on both sides, and would conform with Spanish or mission style design guidelines.

The car wash uses its own “gray water,” or recycled water. Any excess gray water would be used for irrigation.

The primary concern with the project questioned if it conformed with covenants, conditions and restrictions.

However, Los Banos Senior Planner Stacy Souza Elms said the “CC&R” issues were civil in nature, so the city was moving forward with the project.

The architect for the project said the applicant, Windecker Inc., has addressed the “CC&R” issues.

“The elephant in the room was CC&Rs,” said Harry Heady, of Heady Design and Associates. “The Windecker family has put together signed letters from a majority of landowners. We wanted to make sure we’re not trying to force feed this.”

Representatives for the project said if all goes well, ground could break on the project this winter.

WIC location

The Planning Commission also approved a conditional use permit for a new location of the Merced County Community Action Agency WIC Program, at Suites A and B of 30 W. G St. It is located in the Hacienda Business Park.

The WIC Program, which helps pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children eat well, stay healthy and be active, already has a location in Los Banos at 340 I St.

That location will remain as WIC sets up the new site. But Elms said the program may end up closing the I Street site, depending on operations.

The project needed a conditional use permit because it’s located in an industrial zoning district, along with the rest of the Hacienda Business Park.

“But (the business park has) kind of turned more into a business park or employment center,” Elms said, noting the mixed use with a brewery, MMA center and other commercial entities.

In addition to the social service agency’s site, commissioners approved a Baby Nutritional Care retail store that works in tandem with the WIC program next door in Suite C.