Public hearing Tuesday on used car lots in Warren
Posted: 11/23/15, 5:58 PM EST | Updated: 5 days ago
Should Warren allow another used car lot and expansion of a second one?
The City Council will invite residents to share their opinion at a public hearing Tuesday night on two requests for special land use permits for auto sales facilities.
One proposals calls for a new lot on the west side of Mound Road, just north of Eight Mile Road. The other is for expansion of the used car facility on Eight Mile, between Albany and Syracuse avenues.
Warren Mayor James Fouts wants to put the brakes on additional such businesses, saying he fears the city will be dubbed “used car lot city.”
Fouts said he is concerned by the “alarming” number of used car sales lots in Warren, particular in the southwest section of the city. He has directed the city’s planning and zoning departments to not consider proposals for additional lots.
But formal reviews of the two to be discussed tonight already were pending.
Warren currently has 55 used car sales lots, while neighboring Sterling Heights –- which is slightly larger in geographic size –- has 21, according to city administration. Those totals do not include used car sales connected with automotive manufacturers’ new vehicle dealerships.
The mayor said Warren residents have alleged used car lot owners are allowing employees to make repairs on inventory parked on residential streets. Some residents have complained the lots have too little space for customer parking, so shoppers park in front of homes.
Fouts wants the freeze to continue until a thorough review of Warren’s used car lot ordinance is conducted and fine-tuned.
His edict comes years after previous moratoriums. In 2012, the mayor said he was troubled by a proliferation of used car sales businesses, and he remarked then that Warren might have a reputation as “used car lot city.”
At his request, the City Council in April 2012 implemented a moratorium on the approval of any additional used car lots. That October, council members extended the freeze on new permits and zoning various for an additional 90 days to allow city attorneys to draft new regulations. In January 2013, officials extended the ban on additional used cars for another three months.
New rules were approved in August 2013.
That followed a similar moratorium spearheaded by the council from 2007-08 during which Warren’s legal staff studied used car regulations in other communities.
Concerned that some sales lots are “packed like sardines” or too close to others, Fouts feels the zoning appeals board has granted too many variances from zoning rules where he feels car lot owners didn’t face real hardships that hindered them from conducting sales. More applications are pending.
“One more is too many. We’ve reached the saturation point,” the mayor said last month.
The Warren City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Warren Community Center, 5460 Arden (south of 14 Mile Road, west of Mound Road).
—Staff Writer Norb Franz