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New entrance at popular car wash cleans up traffic mess on WPB's south end


A POPULAR CAR wash on West Palm Beach’s south end has finally cleaned up a traffic mess in front of its entrance. 


On April 1, after more than three years of complaints from south end motorists, Mint Eco Car Wash opened a new entrance on Olive Avenue about 75 feet south of Southern Boulevard.


The previous entrance was less than 15 feet south of Southern Boulevard and it often created traffic backups on Southern and Olive from cars waiting in line to enter Mint Eco. Not long after the car wash opened in 2019, the sound of honking horns from impatient motorists trying to avoid Mint Eco’s traffic became a regular feature at the intersection.


But now that the new entrance has opened, the honking horns and traffic tie-ups have disappeared, said Mint Eco owner Geoffrey Jervis.


“We’ve still got to finish up the sidewalks, striping and landscaping but we needed to get the traffic off the street, so we opened’’ the new entrance, he said. “Hopefully in another month we’ll have everything finished.’’ 


The new entrance was not cheap. Mint Eco spent “well more than $1.5 million’’ to make it happen, Jervis said, including the purchase of a 0.2-acre sliver of property at 301 Malverne Road immediately south of the car wash. 



A small apartment building on the property was torn down and the land was converted into driving lanes for Mint Eco customers. 


Now, 15 vehicles can stack on Mint Eco’s expanded site as they wait to enter the car wash. The previous entrance had room for just four cars, forcing many customers to either drive around the block or back up onto Olive and sometimes Southern. 


“From the residents I hear from, everyone is very happy. It has been very well received. It has achieved what it was intended to do so far,’’ said Richard Pinksy, president of the South End Neighborhood Association.


The project was bold because it required a zoning change on the Malverne property from residential to commercial. Jervis and company officers went door-to-door and mailed letters seeking comments from residents. 


The company also hosted a public information meeting at the South Olive Park Community Center. And Mint Eco officers worked with city officials to get the critical zoning change.


“This wasn't us getting it done. This was absolutely a community project,’’ Jervis said.



City officials approved the change with a deed restriction limiting the use of the land to commercial driveways. The deed restriction was put in place to protect homeowners on Malverne, a primarily residential street. If anyone ever buys that land, the new owner would have to get approval from the city for any different use. 


While some residents expressed concern that the zoning change would set a precedent to allow commercial uses in a residential neighborhood, for the most part the overwhelming reaction from the community was to accept the solution, Pinksy said. 

 

“That’s the neighborhood car wash, so how do we support the business and at same time make it a safer intersection. That was a win-win solution for everyone,’’ he said.


When the project is completed in a month or so, the car wash’s border on Malverne will be hidden behind 8-foot caloosa hedges.


“It's been more than two years with a lot of patience and a lot of money and a lot of gray hairs,’’ Jervis said. “But it's a much more relaxed experience.’’ 


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About the author

Joe Capozzi is an award-winning reporter based in Lake Worth Beach. He spent more than 30 years writing for newspapers, mostly at The Palm Beach Post, where he wrote about the opioid scourge, invasive pythons, the birth of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Palm Beach County government. For 15 years, he covered the Miami Marlins baseball team. Joe left The Post in December 2020. View all posts by Joe Capozzi.



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