By Tia Lynn Ivey
“Instead of thinking about our gateway in 20 years and what we have to do to reclaim it, let’s think about our gateway now and what we have to do to preserve it.”
That is what Madison City Councilman Joe DiLetto urged his fellow council members to consider about a proposed text amendment that would allow car lots to sell recreational vehicles, such as motorcycles and ATVs, in the Commercial 2 (C2) District of Madison, which is a “transitional” zone comprised of residential and business properties.
The proposed text amendment was requested by Richard Adamcik of Complete Auto Sales, currently located at 1331 Atlanta Highway in Madison. The company is looking to relocate to 871 North Main Street, the old Dairy Queen lot, which resides within a C2 zone of the city. According to Adamcik, in order for the business to remain profitable at the new location, Complete Auto Sales needs to sell ATVs and motorcycles in addition to cars, but the current zoning does not allow it.
Council members were hesitant to approve the text amendment, which would apply to all C2 zones, fearing the allowances for recreational vehicle sales would cause visual and auditory disturbances.
“For the public, they need to know that the C2 District is a blend of residential neighborhoods and commercial uses. That’s why a lot of things are not allowed. What is appropriate for the C3 areas is not appropriate for C2,” said Councilman Eric Joyce. “And this location is very close to neighborhoods.”
While the text amendment would open up this allowance throughout all of C2, the council members had concerns with Adamcik’s project.
Joyce worried that the sale of motorcycles would lead to test drives down Main Street and nearby areas causing unwanted noise pollution and increased traffic.
DiLetto worried that the visible display of motorcycles, ATVs, and cars on that size of a lot would be too crammed and an eye sore.
“I am worried about the visuals of this,” said DiLetto. “That gives me a little heartburn. You can create a neat car lot, but it’s hard to create a neat car lot, ATV lot, motorcycle lot, all together.”
“I think we have to be careful here,” said Councilman Rick Blanton.
The planning department recommended conditions for the text amendment should the council vote to approve it. The planning department suggested the recreational vehicles must be stored inside the facility or behind a fenced in area outside in the back or rear of the lot.
“It does appear the zoning proposal is consistent with the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance. It does appear the proposed land use comports with the purpose and intent of the Neighborhood Commercial District (C2), General Commercial District (C3), Interstate Commercial District (C4),” said Mollie Bogle, city planner. “However, to further “nearby residential properties from possible adverse effects” in C2, Staff recommends the aforementioned equipment be located either within a completely enclosed building or in a fenced and screened side or rear yard.”
The council voted unanimously to table the text amendment proposal until the end of June, asking for Adamcik to be present to discuss his business plan further.