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West County Honda Lot Idea Goes Back to P&Z

The property owner interested in providing more space for the dealership is exploring other options.

West County Honda dealership is looking to expand for lot storage space and working with property owner Lee Allen to make that use work for a lot on Old State Road across from Pierside Lane.

At the Sept. 12 Ellisville Planning and Zoning meeting, Allen requested a recommendation for a boundary adjustment and zoning switch on his land. The switch would be from M-1 Light Industrial to C-5 Commercial Zoning, allowing the dealership expansion to operate on the 2-acre lot.

After a 4-3 vote, a negative recommendation pushed through to city council (at least 5 votes must be in favor for a positive recommendation), necessitating a super majority city council approval to be passed. Allen's attorney, Todd Massa, presented other options during a public hearing at the city council meeting Sept. 19, requesting council feedback on possible alternatives to keep the M-1 zoning with the same lot operation.

"I don't want to lose potential uses an M-1 allows," Allen said. "The zoning switch was recommended by the city."

According to city code, M-1 allows uses ranging from a convenience or grocery store to a public park. In an attempt to provide storage space for cars for West County Honda, Massa suggested making the lot a parking lot or garage, as permitted by M-1 zoning.

Councilman Matt Pirrello moved to suspend the public hearing until a "clear understanding" was reached as to what Allen wished to pursue. The council agreed the issue would be sent back down to Planning and Zoning for consideration as a potential M-1 use. 

The right-of-way dedication plat and boundary adjustment plat ordinances associated with the project were both tabled until a use is determined.

Mike K September 21, 2012 at 01:34 PM
"Allen requested a recommendation for a boundary adjustment and zoning switch on his land." "I don't want to lose potential uses an M-1 allows," Allen said. "The zoning switch was recommended by the city." So which is it? I think Mr Allen feels (understandably) confused about "the city" saying he needed a zoning change and then P&Z saying he doesn't. And Perrillo seems to be listening to his constituents/residents all of a sudden - an epiphany? I am hopeful it is a trend. And I also hope the community can come up with 1) a location for West County Honda in Ellisville, and 2) some useful development for Mr. Allen. Maybe a mower/small machine repair shop like the one next to 5/3rd that has been shuttered for years now.
Charles Pavlack September 21, 2012 at 06:24 PM
To be clear, Mike K, P&Z never said Mr. Allen didn't need a zoning change. As both P&Z Commissioner Greg Sandborn and I stated during the Public Coments section of the Council Meeting, it seemed that the applicant (at least the Honda rep) didn't have a clear vision of what they were trying to do. The written application stated that they wanted to do "internet sales" on the site, but as the Commission and the public questioned them, the Honda representative backed off of that until it appeared that what they wanted was to use the site for offsite parking of overflow vehicles, but were prepared to put a couple of employees into the building on Mr. Allen's property and call it a sales lot so as to circumvent the city's prohibition of off-site storage for car dealerships. The theory that they can now keep the M-1 zoning and call it a private parking lot and accomplish the same goal, while maintaining the less-restrictive M-1 zoning, meant that what the Council was being asked to approve was not the same thing that the P&Z had considered, which is why it's been sent back down to us.
Bryanna Hampton September 21, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Thanks for your input, Charles! To add to that, Mike K, it appeared the property owner was trying to explore other options with the current zoning, and until more stable plans were determined, a council vote for the zoning switch was tabled. It is kind of a confusing situation, so I hope it's clearer now!
Mike K September 22, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Thanks, Mr. Pavlak. I think you hit the nail on the head. "what they wanted was to use the site for offsite parking of overflow vehicles, [...] to circumvent the city's prohibition of off-site storage for car dealerships." Not sure there is a good solution for WCH. Great that they're doing well enough to need more room, but not so great that we don't have the room to give. Should have bought that land from the Jeep, Kia, or Mitsubishi dealers before they shuttered them, eh?

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