West Roxbury car-wash owner wages all out war to keep competitor out

Adam Korngold, the owner of the Waves Car Wash on VFW Parkway, lost a battle tonight when the Boston Conservation Commission declined to order a would-be competitor across the road to return nearly half his available land to its natural state, a move that effectively would have blocked construction there.

Korngold had earlier hired an engineering firm to help him fight Ronen Drory's proposed car wash where the McDonald's that burned to the ground in 2013 used to be, but now appears to be focusing his efforts on something called Protect West Roxbury Wetlands, which took out full-page ads in the West Roxbury Bulletin for two weeks and which has hired its own lawyer and engineer to fight Drory, who already operates car washes in Canton, Brockton and Taunton.

Neither the ads nor the group's Web site say who is behind it. The group's attorney, Matthew Watsky of Dedham, acknowledged tonight that Korngold is one of the "ten citizens" involved in the group. He declined to name the other nine or say if anybody but Korngold is actually paying for the fight against Drory. Such ten-citizen groups are often formed to pursue lawsuits over zoning or other regulatory decisions; Watsky said whether his group goes to court will depend on what the Conservation Commission does in the coming weeks.

Although the commission decided tonight it would not make Drory, who bought the land in late 2015, "remediate" roughly 23,000 square feet of the land near the Charles River that had been built on or filled in over the past four decades, it also decided to hold off on any go-ahead for his car wash until after his attorney gets word from the MWRA on just what it wants done to protect its sewer line and small access road that run across the property. Earlier this year, the commission had ordered Drory to clean up about 1,700 square feet on the site.

The commission is involved because the Charles River runs along the site.

Watsky argued Drory should be forced to repair the damage he or somebody allegedly did by chopping down large numbers of trees on the land; as proof he showed blowups of Google satellite views he claimed showed a "before" shot with lots of trees and an "after" shot of barren, brown land.

Drory's attorney, Ann Sobolewski, however, called the after shot ridiculous, saying it didn't show the effects of clear cutting but the effects of autumn making the trees lose their leaves. She said that somebody who looked closely at the photo could still see all the trees and their larger branches.

"If I went and built a plaza nobody would care," Drory said. "These guys hired a lawyer and brought all his customers over [to the hearing] just to shut us down. It's not about wetlands, it's about stopping competition."

An engineer hired by Korngold's group took issue with the plans Drory's engineer submitted for capturing and treating stormwater runoff before it flows into the Charles to remove oil and sediments. Jeffrey Walsh, vice president of Graves Engineering in Worcester, said the pipes called for by Halim Choubah might be insufficient to handle the flow.

Choubah said he has been doing civil engineering for more than two decades, knows what he's doing and, if anything he over-engineered the pipes and drainage, to handle more water than could actually be reasonably expected on the site. Commission member John Sullivan Jr. also questioned Walsh's questioning of Choubah's work, noting that as a professional engineer, Choubah's signature on plans carries considerable weight. Walsh retorted that out in the Worcester area, where he's from, such "peer review" of civil engineers' work is routine, at least for the sort of municipal projects he's involved in.

The commission takes up the car-wash issue again on Aug. 2.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Since Mr. Korngold is such a stickler for regulatory compliance

It seems fair that his existing operations to include compliance with federal and state employment & wage laws are being observed. I have no knowledge that they are not but since he seems free to speculate that a prospective competitor is like to violate laws, I would think that he should face the same level of scrutiny regarding his existing business.

For example:

I assume Waves reports all new hires to MA DOR as required by state law.

I assume Waves completes and maintains accurate records regarding I-9 compliance as required by federal immigration law.

I assume Waves is in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act with regard to employee pay classifications.

I assume Waves is in compliance federal and state minimum wage regulations.

I assume Waves is in compliance with all overtime pay requirements.

I assume Waves is in compliance with FICA withholdings and matching contribution requirements.

I assume Waves is in compliance with IRS and DOR tax withholding & reporting requirement to include the timely distribution of W-2, M-2 & 1099 forms .

I assume Waves in providing accurate and comprehensive Workers' Compensation coverage for all his employees.

I assume Waves maintains all the required OSHA reports and records?

I assume Waves is in compliance all state and federal safety standards regarding work conditions to include safety and protective equipment.

I assume Waves has posted all required state and federal employment notices so employees are informed of the rights and what remedies are available to them.

I assume Waves maintains all required DEQE records and reports pertaining to their operations.

And, I assume employee meal and break requirements are being observed.

These are a few of the things I think of just off the top of my head.

Fake Pictures

By on

Good article, I saw that ad in the WR Bulletin a few weeks ago and didn't understand the reason behind it. It looked like it was just taken at two different angles and at different times of the year(one in fall/winter and one in spring/summer) with no actually loss of wetland area. Thanks for the info, keep up the good work.

Waves is hugely overpriced.

By on

Waves is hugely overpriced. Unless you're going for their "unlimited" monthly washes paying for a single wash at a time is a rip-off. He's afraid of losing money because he'd have to lower prices as soon as that competitor gets built. Also Waves is quite difficult to get into due to the convoluted lanes and the entrance is not at all obvious from the main road.

How to fight

By on

I would say up your game. Your car wash is Ok. That's it. Lower your prices (gouging), update your brushes, and do a little something for the neighborhood.
May the best car wash win.

Obvious motive from the car wash owner...

By on

But it is kind of crazy that anything is built between VFW and the Charles. It's a shame that there isn't money to acquire those properties as they come up, do some site remediation, and let them support the ecology of the river.

A Riverwalk!

By on

Like the Harborwalk. Support the river's ecology and create a simple recreation walk. That would be lovely.

& Adam, Thanks for attending and keeping us all posted.

That would be cool, but ...

By on

That particular stretch of the Charles, from the Dedham line down to, um, the Dedham line again, at Bridge Street, is kind of amazing for how built up the banks are. Down by Bridge Street, you've got an apartment complex, a gas station, a restaurant, the building where Chair Fair used to be and, of course, a Dunkin' Donuts, all literally right on top of the river (well, OK, the Dunk's is actually set back a bit). After Bridge Street, it becomes more wild again, what with Cutler Park and Millennium Park, both of which have lots of paths (but let's not forget that Millennium Park used to be a Boston city dump - you can still find evidence of what it used to be along the path that runs next to the river).

Competition

By on

I recently moved to the area from the South. I used Prestige Carwash and i cant wait for them to open. The carwash is $5 and FREE Vacuums. Also they have big discounts on gas. I am excited and i think this is all nonsense and someone is a little afraid of competition.

It's our only environment

By on

I also question allowing car washes and gas stations to be built on a waterway. And previous neglect of the environment should never be used as an excuse for new degradation. I do not understand how the American Legion Scrub-A-Dub was allowed to build, not next to, but right on top of the open Canterbury Brook, and I do not understand why there is no political will to get that remediated.