“It is a judgment call on our part. But I think most of us feel there are a lot of used car lots in the city and we don’t want to encourage them necessarily,” said Councilwoman Betty Price in making the motion to deny the conditional use application.
Mohammad Sharod, who owns several car dealerships including Roswell Mitsubishi, needed council approval to use the former Bank of North Georgia property at 1184 Alpharetta Street to sell used autos. The property has commercial zoning but the use Sharod was proposing can only be granted conditionally, said city planner Jackie Deibel. The city’s planning staff had already recommended that the application be denied because it is an “inappropriate use of the property in its current layout in the parking area,” according to a staff memo.
Parking spaces on the property are to the rear of the lot adjacent to the residential area. Because the commercial zoning is grandfathered, no buffer would be required unless council so decreed.
The city planning commission had also recommended denial.
Representing the application, Tom Fortner of Quinn Group, a commercial real estate firm, told council that the bank property was selected because it fits the city’s requirements for a used car lot.
“We intend to utilize the property as is, no changes,” he said.
More than a dozen residents came to the council meeting to oppose the plan.
“There is no way you should put a used car park there. We’re trying to get rid of them” in the area, said Ian Morey, president of Liberty Lofts and Town Homes homeowners association, who also sits on the city’s Vision Committee.
Eric Schumacher, who lives on Prospect Street, said the application isn’t a good fit for the neighborhood.
“We are really trying to reduce the number of car sales lots in the area and promote a better aesthetic and better use for this particular space,” he said.
At least one of the sales lots that already exist on Alpharetta Street has been a headache for nearby residents, said Jack and Shelly MacArthur, who live next to it.
“It’s very disruptive to the neighborhood,” Shelly MacArthur said.