The city’s Zoning Hearing Board on Wednesday granted a waiver so the owner of a former used-car parking lot and towing service between the Seventh and Eighth Street Bridges can set up his own used car parking lot – on condition that he removes about twenty vehicles that he has stored there.
Adam Bowers needed the gap because it’s been over a year – in fact at least seven years – since the Seventh Avenue property has operated as a second-hand parking lot, which is improper use in this area neighborhood business.
Bowers wants to establish its sales ground there alongside the ongoing relocation of its “overwhelmed” Key Way Auto Service Center on Chestnut Avenue at 11th Street to the old Chuck’s Auto Body Shop on Eighth Avenue across the Seventh Street Bridge.
Bowers is trying to start the auto sales batch with “zero debt on the books,” he said.
He hopes to start with around 10 cars “and grow from there.”
There is plenty of on-site parking for the three to five employees and for customers, Bowers said.
He will have 30 days after receiving the written version of the Régie’s decision to remove the vehicles from the lot, 90% of which are “repairable and salable”, he told the council.
The city recently filed a notice of violation against Bowers, who purchased the property in September, due to the presence of these vehicles, including a school bus.
“It looks like a dump” said Rebecca Brown, director of the Codes and Enforcement Department.
She doesn’t want cars coming to be repaired at the shop that Bowers prepares on Eighth Avenue for “overflow” at the Seventh Avenue sales ground.
Bowers should only keep cars on the sales lot that are immediately available for purchase, attorney Bill Stokan said.
“It’s not a problem for me,” said Bower.
He’s been trying to clear the land for some time, and work should speed up because he recently acquired a tow truck, Bowers said.
He would like to pave a modest portion of the property to serve as parking for the cars he will offer for sale, then add more paving as his inventory grows, he said.
The city may not allow the lot to be paved piecemeal, Brown said.
That could trigger storm runoff control requirements, Stokan said.
This could be part of the land use plan that Bowers will have to get approved by the city’s Planning Commission.
There is a billboard on the property leased from the previous owner, from whom Bowers purchases the land on a deed of engagement.
Responsibility for this lease will pass to Bowers when he pays the article of the agreement.
The Mirror’s staff writer, William Kibler, is at 814-949-7038.