Carthage Board Denies Second Request for Car Repair Shop
The Carthage Planning Board is recommending against allowing automobile repair services as a conditional use in the town's Central Business District (CBD).
The board voted unanimously during a special meeting Thursday night to recommend that the town commissioners deny a request.
Business owner Rick Edelman, who owns the old fire station in the downtown, had asked for the change so he could rent part of the building out to Lee Bolerjack, who owns a foreign auto repair shop.
"I'd like to have the opportunity to rent out the property or a portion of the property to somebody who'd like to run that type of business," Edelman said.
Planning board member Max Muse, who acted as chairman during the meeting, thought it would be difficult for the property to meet the parking criteria. Edelman asked the board to not focus on a single property, but rather the entire Central Business District.
"To focus on any individual piece of property I'm not sure it is totally fair to what should be discussed tonight," he said. "Not only is this a subject for my particular piece of property, it's for the entire central business district."
Town Manager Carol Sparks said parking would be a problem just about everywhere in the CBD.
Last Thursday, the planning board recommended that Town Board not make automobile repair services a permitted use in the CBD. Edelman changed his request to a conditional use, prompting the new special meeting.
A public hearing will be held on the automobile repair service issue at the Town Board of Commissioners' meeting July 20.
The Planning Board is an advisory board that can only make recommendations to the Town Board, which has the final say on the matter.
On another matter, the Planning Board delayed action on Edelman's request for a zoning text amendment to add to the list of definitions in the town's development ordinance of "live auction" and to add live auctions as a conditional use in the CBD.
Edelman owns an online consignment and auction store --also located in the old fire department -- and wants to host live auctions there. He told the board that he planned to auction new and used general merchandise, usually small enough to carry home. He said the auctions would generally attract between 30 and 50 registered bidders at times that he didn't believe would cause parking problems.
He said that the auctions would be a benefit to other businesses in the area because they would bring in new clientele that wouldn't normally come into Carthage.
Edelman said that he discovered that live auctions were not listed in the town's table of permitted or conditional uses but noticed that there were permitted uses for both general merchandise -- new and used -- and miscellaneous retail sales.
He said the town does not have a definition for retail sales, but North Carolina general statute does, and by that definition, believes live auctions are a form of retail sale. If that's the case, he argued that live auctions are already a permitted use in the CBD and adding auctions as a conditional use permit was not necessary. He said the only difference between his business and a conventional retail business is the "method of sale."
Sparks said the statute gives the town the authority to define its uses as it sees fit. She said the fire marshal views an auction house as an "assembly" rather than retail because of the number of people it attracts.
"We do have the right to define auction as the board wants to," she said. "The town can define it the way it wants to."
The board tabled the issue until its August 6 meeting so it could confer with the town attorney.
Because the live auction issue has been tabled, that public hearing will be pulled from the July 20 agenda.
Correction: Because of an editing error, The Pilot reported incorrectly in a story in the Sunday, July 5, edition that Edelman said he had gone to Town Hall on April 2 to ask about moving the car repair business to the old fire station. It was Bolerjack who claimed he had gone to Town Hall and spoken with Sparks about it. Sparks said she did not speak with Bolerjack or tell him that he could move his car repair business there.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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