I can’t possibly say it’s a good idea — Randall Guarnieri




The Rio Rancho Governing Body approved a site plan request Thursday night to build a car wash at 507 NM Highway NE. (Matt Hollinshead Photo/Observer)

The Rio Rancho Governing Body approved a site plan Thursday night to build a second Champion XPress Car Wash in the city, but not before residents spoke against the proposal.   

The company opened a car wash off 1890 Abrazo Road NE in March. The proposed location would be by Northern Boulevard, Monterrey Road and New Mexico Highway 528.  

“When looking for new locations for development, our primary considerations include sites that the city has zoned for commercial use and areas with existing high traffic counts,” company spokeswoman Lindsey Joy told the Observer in an email. 

‘Hate to see this turn into another Stripes situation’ 

The Governing Body voted 5-1 in favor of the site plan. Councilor Dan Stoddard was absent.  

Councilor Bob Tyler voted against it, arguing that Champion XPress chose a poor location to open .  

While the city does not have a right to tell a business what they can or cannot build on a piece of property, the location of the access, off Monterrey Road, could be a hindrance to the residents, he said.  

Several residents agreed.   

The car wash would only be a few yards from Cleveland High School teacher Randall Guarnieri’s house.  

There could be dozens of cars lining up in the street in the afternoon when school buses come down to drop off kids. The traffic would turn the street into a one-lane road, he said.  

“I can’t possibly say it’s a good idea,” Guarnieri said. 

Resident Darryl Gregerson said he is worried about the traffic coming to and from the car wash. 

“I’d sure hate to see this turn into another Stripes (Burrito) situation,” he said.  

The proposed car wash would have three lanes that can accommodate up to 34 vehicles as well as 16 drying stations, according to the company.  

“Those items help us to understand the speed at which the cars will be able to get through the queue and start to move out to the roads, so they all won’t be exiting the road at the same time,” Councilor Karissa Culbreath said. 

The Governing Body later approved an amendment directing Champion Xpress to come up with a design to create a right-hand turn lane at the car wash. The plan would then be presented to the city’s public works department.  

Other concerns 

Resident Andrea Lerner said she was worried about flooding down Monterrey Road getting worse with the opening of the car wash. 

Hull later proposed an amendment — which was approved — asking for the company to submit its grading and drainage permit for city review.  

Some residents also felt that the car wash would impede their scenic views of the city. 

Kevin Breen said he enjoys being able to look at the Sandia Mountains and the balloons during the annual fiesta. 

“Mass Ascension is going to be totally obstructed by this car wash,” he said.  

The car wash would only be about 36 feet tall and things could be worse. For example, the proposed business could have been bigger, Hull later said. 

“Unless you own the property between you and the mountain, there are no protected views in the city of Rio Rancho,” he said, adding that the city “can’t deprive someone a property right that has been set.”