Car wash would be environmentally sound

A promise of a car wash unlike Grandpa’s on Pine Hollow Road in Oyster Bay


The hamlet of Oyster Bay and the surrounding villages are without a car wash, which forces motorists who don’t want to wash their vehicles themselves to drive several miles to do so. Some say they don’t mind, and that it’s important to preserving the historic nature of the hamlet, which should not include a car wash.

But David Jacobson, who lives and works in Oyster Bay, would like to see that change. He spent roughly two hours on Feb. 29 at the Life Enrichment Center, introducing his vision for a state-of-the-art car wash, to be built on Pine Hollow Road, at the gateway to the hamlet — not in the historic section of town. For the most part, the crowd that gathered at the center seemed enthusiastic about the prospect.

Jacobson owns a 27,000-square-foot vacant lot across the street from a 7-Eleven on Pine Hollow, where he would like to see a car wash, for a variety of reasons. It would not only benefit motorists, but also increase business in Oyster Bay, he predicted. After having their cars washed, many visitors would head into the hamlet to explore the shops and restaurants, Jacobson said. They wouldn’t be permitted to turn left from the property and head north on Pine Hollow, so they’d end up driving south, into Oyster Bay.

Jacobson owns and operates Collector Car Showcase, a car museum on Pine Hollow, north of the lot. He said it was James Belmonte, whom he introduced at the meeting, who helped him in making his decision to pursue the idea of a car wash.

“His email address is ‘car boy’ — I mean, this is the ultimate car wash guy,” Jacobson said. “Not only is he honorable, honest and trustworthy, but people love him. And he has tremendous experience in a full-service car wash.”

Knowing nothing about car washes himself, Jacobson spent four years attending seminars with Belmonte to understand the business. Car wash technology has changed, he said.

“In the last five to 10 years, there’s been such an investment from corporations to buy each other up that the technology has grown beyond anyone’s understanding in this industry,” Jacobson said. “And what does that mean to you? It means that this is not your grandfather’s car wash in any aspect — safety, speed and everything the car wash does is completely different.”

For example, he guaranteed that cars would not be lining up, with their drivers waiting to have them cleaned, because his car wash, which he would call Clear, would have what he described as the “fastest, most efficient equipment available, able to handle 130 cars an hour.”

Clear would offer full service, express wash and a monthly unlimited pass. And cash would not be accepted, making the payment process faster. “You can actually go on your cellphone while you’re online, press a button and pay for it,” Jacobson said. “And then you go right through.”

And washes at Clear would not be typically expensive “North Shore pricing,” Jacobson said. The cost would be comparable to “Bethpage pricing” — in other words, considerably less.
Additionally, he plans to use technology that would eliminate the typical conveyer-belt system at car washes.

“Imagine driving up to a car wash where you don’t have to be worried about, ‘am I going to hit my tire on that groove?’” Jacobson said. “You’re going to drive onto a tray. And it’s going to be pulled down so you can see way in front of you, so you know exactly what you’re driving onto. And at the end, the machine does your tires for you.”

The dryer system will not produce any runoff, Jacobson said, so cars won’t need to be dried after they’re washed. “We won’t need three or four people on your car, even if you do a full service like at most car washes,” he explained. “The car comes out dry, and they’ll just have to use Windex.”

And the system will work not only efficiently, but quietly. Jacobson said several times that he was committed to being a good neighbor, because he lives in Oyster Bay himself.

Clear would have a 100-foot-long tunnel instead of the typical 80-foot tunnels, through which, Jacobson said, vehicles move more slowly and less efficiently, and cause traffic tie-ups. And any of the “messy” work done at a typical car wash, like adding Armor All or oil, will be done in the tunnel.

Clear would be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

But before Jacobson can move forward with his proposal, he needs approval from the Town of Oyster Bay. So far, he hasn’t received any support.

“Most of the people that live here, businesses and everybody I ever talked to, want it to happen,” he said. “But the people that don’t live here have no interest in anything we spoke about today.”

Jacobson encouraged people to sign a sheet he provided to show the town that residents have an interest in a car wash, and to reach out to elected officials, too.