Planning Commission holds public hearing on another Tidal Wave wash

Residents would prefer to see different use for property


The Tidal Wave Express Car Wash, 5677 S Lindbergh Blvd.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

A third Tidal Wave Car Wash may be coming to South County, this time off Butler Hill Road. 

The St. Louis County Planning Commission heard a proposal June 13 for Tidal Wave Car Wash to construct an express wash facility at 13047 Butler Crest Drive, near the intersection of Butler Hill and Tesson Ferry roads. The request is for a conditional use permit in the C-2 shopping district to construct and operate a car wash facility on the 1.3-acre lot, which is currently vacant. It is across from the old MetLife Building property, which is being redeveloped into the mixed-used development “Tesson Ridge.” 

The proposal is in the 6th District of St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas and the Mehlville School District. 

“Along Tesson Ferry Road there are a number of commercial uses,” Planner Gretchen Arnold said. “Behind the commercial frontage, there is a number of single-family homes.” 

Brandon Harp, a principal with Civil Engineer Design, said Tidal Wave is a fairly new company in the St. Louis area, with a total of 11 locations that are open or about to be open. This includes two South County locations in Sunset Hills and Concord, as well as a location in nearby Fenton. 

According to Harp, the drive-thru car wash would be roughly 4,500 square feet and would include an office component. There would be 24 vacuum bays for use by customers and the proposed hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is an existing full-access share drive with a neighboring McDonald’s from Tesson Ferry. There is also an existing stormwater pond on the adjacent parcel and Harp said they would be subdividing the lot to add an additional stormwater pond on the Tidal Wave property. 

“There are three stacking lanes and pay gates that cars will stack through before they go through the tunnel wash. This is a car wash where you do not get out of your car,” Harp said. 

During public comment, neighboring resident Brian Daus questioned the need for another car wash in the area. There is a Zip Car Wash about three minutes up the road from the proposed Tidal Wave at 12884 Tesson Ferry. 

“There’s about four or five of us in this area that are pretty tight with Ernie Trakas. … We give him our concerns from the neighborhood quite often,” Daus said. “When we found out about (the Tidal Wave), we sent out a couple of emails and the grand consensus is this … there’s already I think five car washes in a two mile radius … if you include the ones that are in gas stations. … I think if the residents has their choice, that property should be something that we need.” 

Daus, who added that his family was Tidal Wave Car Wash members, said that with the Tesson Ridge development going in across the street, it would be nice to see nicer restaurants or better retail in the area instead. 

Commissioner William Ballard questioned what happens with the wastewater from the facility. Harp said that the wastewater is collected and treated through a receptor before going back into the public sewer system. 

“We had to fill out a wastewater survey with MSD (Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District) to acknowledge that we’re putting that sanitary sewer,” Harp said. “There are internal drains in the building that collect the water that sprays off the car.”

Ballard further questioned if there was any way the dirty water from the car wash could be recycled to be used again in the wash, but Harp said with the chemicals and solvents coming off the cars, it most likely would not be good for the equipment to recycle the water. 

The panel will make a recommendation on the plan at a future executive session.