Roy prohibits car washes from commercial areas, spurred by Warrens brouhaha

Tuesday , July 10, 2018 - 5:15 AM6 comments

ROY — Some in Roy think there are already enough places to get a car wash, at least in the city’s main commercial zones.

And with the city largely built out and prime property at a premium, some worry car washes — as providers of services, not goods — don’t generate the level of sales tax revenue that other commercial entities do.

RELATED: Roy pursuing retailers to bolster sales tax revenue, create shopping options

As such, new car wash operators coming to Roy will now be limited to areas of the city zoned for manufacturing, per changes approved by the Roy City Council to the city’s zoning ordinances. The changes, approved last month, will restrict new car washes from the city’s commercial corridor on 1900 West and other areas zoned for commercial activity.

“We’re just trying to balance the needs of the city,” City Councilman Joe Paul, who received a lot of input from the public on the matter, said Monday.

The debate over car washes — Roy has 12 of them, existing or in the works — reached a pitch in May after news started trickling out that Warrens would be closing its 1900 West location and that a Quick Quack Car Wash would replace the eatery. Mayor Bob Dandoy sensed in the uproar that followed — much of it on social media — that the public thought 12 car washes is enough.

“There was no question. There was an outcry from a lot of citizens,” Dandoy said. Many have pressed him to do what he can to bring a sit-down restaurant or movie theater to Roy.

RELATED: Warrens owners plan sale of Roy eatery on 1900 West to make way for car wash

He suspects nostalgia over Warrens’ long-standing presence on 1900 West also factored in the response. A Roy man started the fast-food chain in 1957 — though he long ago sold the business — and another Warrens location in the city at 3500 West will remain open.

“We need a change and we need to stop letting our good businesses leave,” Dandoy said, voicing the sentiments he sensed from the public.

Paul, meanwhile, though cognizant of the service car washes provide, also noted the increased focus among city leaders, including Dandoy, to draw sales-tax revenue generating businesses to Roy to broaden the city’s tax base. Among Weber and Davis counties’ 30 cities, Roy is the fourth most populous but has one of the lowest levels of taxable sales per capita, according to Utah State Tax Commission figures.

If businesses that don’t generate large shares of sales tax revenue move into prime retail space, “that becomes a problem to the city,” Paul said. State law exempts the cleaning of the exterior of cars from state sales tax.

The change doesn’t impact car washes already in areas zoned for commercial activity, which may stay put. Dandoy said a sector in northern Roy is zoned for manufacturing.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at

Sign up for e-mail news updates.