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City of Santa Maria discussing future of mobile commercial car washing regulations

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 00:53:17-04

After months of outreach efforts, the City of Santa Maria is now discussing issues regarding mobile car washing businesses.

According to city officials, this was a subject that brought up last June. That's when the council advised outreach efforts to mobile car washing owners be done before making a decision.

"We have been receiving complaints for a long time. The complaints focus on three things that are safety, pollution, and the fairness factor," Santa Maria Public information Officer Mark van de Kamp, said.

On Tuesday night, the city council circled back to discuss the possibility of imposing regulations to address those three factors.

Mobile car washing owner Campos Cisneros says he understands the city’s point of view but adds if pollution is the subject of worry, he does his part.

"I always worry about making sure I have everything clean, I pick up after myself, we all do every time we finish in the afternoon,” Cisneros said.

Multiple letters from different local car wash owners were sent to the city council. For car wash owner John Letters, one concern is fairness.

"My primary reason is out of fairness. I spend a lot of money every year to adhere to all the regulations, the Clean Water Act of 1972 which discusses pollutants into our environment, our groundwater,” Letters said.

In the proposed plan, in order to alleviate the issues discussed, they will be promoting the use of water-less mobile commercial washing as well as banning commercial washing from city streets.

“It is largely unregulated and that is why we are receiving complaints on a regular basis,” van de Kamp said.

Local car wash owners hope an agreement is made in the future.

"I hope the council comes up with some type of plan that will allow mobile washing to continue to safely operate, with a capturing device on private property,” Letters said.

If the council moves forward, mobile car wash owners will be looking at vehicle insurances, liability insurance, and permit applications along with a testing process overseen by the code enforcement division.