Jacksonville cracks down on “bucket and hose” car washes

2015-04-15 12.42.07

A Jacksonville City Council subcommittee is looking for ways to reduce blight, but some residents are asking whether there aren’t more important issues the council should focus on.

The full council approved legislation this week to crack down on so-called “bucket and hose” car wash operations.

Many have sprouted on Jacksonville street corners in the past few years. Some appear to be dealing with more than just soap and water. Neighbors have complained about seeing possible illegal drug activity on the sites. Witnesses say they’ve seen some operations that continue to operate even during intense thunderstorms and others where many vehicles pull in, but few actually get washed.

Councilwoman Denise Lee, who is a member of the Neighborhood Blight Committee, said it is not the intention of the legislation to put legitimate car wash establishments out of business.

“Not every business is a bad business,” she said. “But there have been many complaints from citizens throughout this city relative to car washes that were not being regulated and unfortunately there was illegal behavior that was going on.”

Some the establishments have no problem with regulating operations.

At the corner of Myrtle Avenue and West 22nd Street on Jacksonville’s Northside is Zoe’s Hand Car Wash. It’s been in operation for about three years and, unlike several other similar bucket-and-hose operations, it has a city license.

Operator Michael Brooks said, “You’ve got to have the proper criteria to do what you need to do in order to run a business,” he said. “But that’s on them. I have what I need to do what I’ve got to do to take care of my family.”

Brooks and others, however, question why their car wash establishments have become such a priority when there are so many other problems the city faces.

Supporters of the legislation said the intent is to push out the drug dealers posing as car wash establishments and not hurt the legitimate business owners.

The bill now heads to Mayor Alvin Brown for his signature.

2015-04-15 12.42.07
2015-04-14 17.45.04

Kevin Meerschaert


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