text: public hearing laurel ranch canyon car wash and convenience store city of antioch council meeting. the council members are two black women, a black man, white man and white woman

Antioch City Council, Residents Oppose Car Wash-Convenience Store Proposal

text: public hearing laurel ranch canyon car wash and convenience store city of antioch council meeting. the council members are two black women, a black man, white man and white woman

(Screenshot captured by Samantha Kennedy / The CC Pulse)

By Samantha Kennedy

Antioch community members gathered Tuesday to put a stop to a proposed car wash and convenience store that was doomed from the start. 

The Antioch City Council opposed the proposal, which would have brought a 2,500-square-foot car wash, 18 vacuum stations and a convenience store to a residential area, citing concerns with sound pollution, environmental impact and the overall quality of life for the neighborhood. 

The proposal, still only in the process of receiving feedback, was not expected to make it this far. Much of that expectation was due to the property being designated for residential use, meaning it would require a change to Antioch’s General Plan for the car wash and convenience store to be constructed. Council members said they had no intention to change the property’s designation. 

City staff previously said the property, located at Laurel Ranch Drive and Country Line Hills Drive, was zoned for commercial use but later found it to be designated residential. 

Julio Tinajero of Milestone Associates, which represents the applicant, said the property was bought with the understanding the designation was commercial. Still, Tinajero says the applicant is determined to make something work.

Changes to the proposal over the past year have shown that. Plans presented to Antioch’s Planning Commission in 2023 included a gas station that some on the commission said was necessary and expected for the area; however, this was not the site for that. Some commissioners were also clear that they wouldn’t approve this project, even without the gas station, should it come back to them. 

>>>Read: Council Opts Not to Hit the Brakes on Gas Station Development in Antioch

Council member Tamisha Torres-Walker, who opposed the proposal, suggested the property be sold to a developer who is interested in building affordable housing. 

Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe also opposed the proposal and the property being designated as commercial because of Antioch’s growing population and the need for affordable housing.

Since 2010, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Antioch’s population has increased by at least 15,000 people. Of those, nearly 2,000 relocated to Antioch between 2020 and 2023. 

Antioch has approved housing developments in recent years to attract residents but most have been criticized for not focusing on residents who are lower-income. 

>>>Read: Developers Propose Hundreds of Housing Units in Antioch With Little Focus on Affordability

Tinajero expressed interest in speaking with residents who lived near the property and coming up with a commercial space that might be more consistent with the neighborhood’s needs. A new proposal would also be considered by council members should that happen.

Compensation increase for future council members

In response to a new law that allows an increase in compensation for city council members, Antioch council members voted to later consider an increase in their city. 

Senate Bill 329, introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, shows that Antioch council members could be compensated a base pay as high as $1,900 based on the city’s population. It would also allow an annual increase of 5% or an amount equal to inflation determined by the California Consumer Price Index since Jan. 1, 2024. 

The increase in pay, should it be passed, would go into effect after November’s election and would not change the compensation of current council members immediately. 

The next regularly scheduled Antioch City Council meeting is June 25.

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