The Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday agreed with Luke Oil
on the latest plans to construct a car wash facility at the fueling station
on the corner of Meridian Road and U.S. 6 in Liberty Township.
After tabling the case last month, the board voted unanimously 5-0 in favor
of a variance in a moderate commercially zoned area.
“I like these plans a lot better than what you had last time,” BZA member
Marvin Brickner told Luke’s construction manager Mike Zell.
The board previously objected to earlier plans that would have placed the
car wash on the south side of the property next to U.S. 6, prompting
concerns that lines for the car wash would cause problems with traffic flow
on the highway.
According to the plans presented Wednesday there will be entrance/exits on
Meridian Road and U.S. 6, which will meet the requirements of the Indiana
Department of Transportation.
Zell said this parcel will have more space than its Valparaiso and Portage
locations which have only about an acre. The U.S. 6 location has 3.5 acres
allowing the buildings and gas pumps to be spread out. A roughly 4,000 sq.
ft. convenience store will be 66 feet away from the gas pumps as opposed to
50 feet. The pumps will be spaced at 30 feet from each other instead of 25
“We have a lot of space. There is going to be a lot of flow,” said Zell.
Luke will also add 12 feet of more green space between it and the U.S. 6
entrance, making the total amount about 40 feet. The curb cut out will be
175 feet, 25 feet more than what is required by INDOT, Zell said.
As for the concerns regarding traffic to U.S. 6, Zell said the chance of any
backup would be nearly “nil.” He said the company has never had that problem
at its Valparaiso or Portage locations and the U.S. 6 location should have
about 15 percent less traffic given that it is in a primarily residential
“It’s highly unlikely that would ever be a concern,” Zell said.
There will also be an attendant on duty for the car wash and two will be on
call in case business picks up to direct traffic, he said.
Automobiles would be directed in conveyer belt fashion along a constantly
moving track with a vehicle exiting nearly every 30 seconds, Zell said.
Board member Tim Cole said he would like it if signage could be put up to
restrict car lines beyond a certain point. Zell said that would agreeable
since similar signage is posted at Luke’s current car wash fleet.
Member Rick Burns made signage part of his motion and said that if traffic
ever did create issues, Luke Oil would need to discuss the matter with the
BZA. Zell said he would be happy to discuss solutions.
“That’s common sense. If there is a problem we will need to address it,”
Next the plans will be looked at by the County’s Development Review
Committee. Zell said the look of the car wash will match that of the
convenience store with brick siding and aluminum windows.
Also on Wednesday, the board voted 5-0 to approve continuing a variance
allowing Jeff Jirtle of 252 West U.S. 6 in Liberty Twp. to operate a
landscaping and excavating business and a contractor’s store yard under the
condition that the variance be opened back up for a public hearing when it
is up for vote again.