That ugly word again: Plan Commission to consider “luxury” car sales at HyperCars on 13th and Spring.

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Better or worse than a neighborhood crematorium?

Oh, dear.

I was surprised to see this one on the Plan Commission agenda.

Public Meeting Item(s):

Docket B-36-18: HyperCars LLC requests a Special Exception to permit luxury auto sales in the C-1b, Local Business district at 1212 E. Spring Street.

It’s funny what sort of precedents comes bubbling up from Google searches. This one’s from Las Vegas, 18 years ago.

An informal group of citizens on the western reaches of Sahara Avenue is mobilizing to fight another battle against used-car lots in the neighborhood.

Twice the group has defeated proposals and zoning amendments for 10-acre used-car lots along Sahara that would have held hundreds of cars. Now they are fighting a smaller proposal for a seven-car used-car dealership at the corner of Sahara and Belcastro Street.

The would-be dealership, Total Eclipse, is currently a small window-tinting and auto-detailing shop.

More recently over in Jeffersonville, the city council declared a moratorium on gas stations, which are about as car-centric as it gets.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) — Jeffersonville leaders have put a city-wide hold on new gas stations.

“We don’t want to be a city of gas stations,” Councilman Ed Zastawny said.

Council recently enacted a six-month moratorium on new gas station development permits.

“With all the development in Jeffersonville, we found that a bunch of gas stations wanted to come to the same corners,” Zastawny said. “And we thought that’s a problem.”

This next one is from Warren, Michigan in 2015. The counties of Oakland and Macomb are part of Detroit metro, north of the city center — and Detroit’s the veritable Mecca of car-centrism.

Warren Mayor Fouts to veto approval of used car lots, by Norb Franz (Daily Tribune)

Reiterating his concern that Warren will be dubbed “used car lot city,” Mayor James Fouts said Monday he will veto the City Council’s unanimous approval of another used car sales lot and the expansion of a second one …

… on Eight Mile at Albany Avenue, Majed Marogi purchased vacant parcels and buildings next to his existing Julian Auto Sales and proposed to expand the size of his sales lot by tearing down empty buildings and installing wrought iron fencing.

“It’s going to be such an improvement,” Mallet said.

“It’s exciting to see business come to that area of the city,” Councilwoman Kelly Colegio said.

The wrong type of business, according to Fouts.

“Even if this was going to be a stellar used car lot that everyone is proud of … it’s still a used car lot and sends the wrong message,” he said.

Along East Spring Street amid the acreage comprising the East Spring Street Neighborhood Association (ESNA), a used car lot has been located on the northeast corner of 15th for quite a while.

Just a few months ago, an auto repair business appeared on the southwest corner of 15th and Spring, next to the body shop that’s been operating there for decades.

Now the owner of HyperCars, a newly minted auto detailing shop in the former ServPro building on the southwest corner of Spring and 13th, wants to sell “luxury” used cars.

This recurring word, “luxury.” But like Mayor Fouts up in Warren said, “it’s still a used car lot.”

I looked all over New Albany’s zoning code and found no reference to “luxury” anything. The C-1b zoning classification refers to a “local” business, and it references the stipulations of C-1a, which seems to be describing small neighborhood retail shops, not car sales, hence the special exception being sought.

I’m the first to admit that the owner of HyperCars has improved the appearance of the building, and you’ve got to hand it to him for keeping up with current events in New Albany, and grasping City Hall’s fetish for “luxury” over all other modifiers, whether applicable to products and services or the human condition itself.

I find it annoying for other, more sadly comprehensive reasons.

When I finally was allowed to attend an ESNA meeting recently and the question of used car sales at HyperCars was raised, the association’s Greg Roberts said there’d be none.

Yesterday I asked Greg for a clarification, and he offered this revision: it seems the neighborhood elders have been monitoring the situation, and they knew all along that HyperCars someday would seek to park no more than seven cars at a time on the lot for sale, but no one thought the business actually would pursue an exception this quickly, and learned of it only when the Plan Commission mailing arrived.

That’s poor communication on several levels.

The larger irony of yet another used car lot on Spring Street in a residential neighborhood is that when internationally renowned expert Jeff Speck wrote a street grid plan for New Albany, it was significant precisely because it showed how we could begin transforming downtown into a walking, bicycling kind of place.

Then Mayor Jeff Gahan, whose fundamental car-centrism no longer is a topic for debate, blithely stripped Speck’s plan of nearly all its usefulness for walking and biking, declared war on street trees, loudly announced victory, and voila — traffic’s barely slowed, the pedestrian crossing signals are a joke worthy of late-night television monologues, almost all of Speck’s proposed bicycle infrastructure was deposited on the cutting room floor, and now there’s to be an automobile-related business coming to every vacant commercial space on Spring Street.

Combine the purely intentional street grid regression with the Plan Commission’s concurrent consideration this week of the peak car-centric Summit Springs Raised Middle Finger, Phase Two …

Plan Commission to consider phase two of the Summit Springs Kelley Enrichment cluster muck development atrocity.

… and one has no choice except to confirm the wisdom of my high school baseball coach, who turned to us after a botched play and said, “He could fuck up a wet dream.”

Yes, indeed. Jeff Gahan’s very adept at that.

#FireGahan2019

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