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Hagerstown used car lot operators express concern about proposed land use changes

February 26, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Several people connected with Hagerstown’s used car business appeared before Mayor David S. Gysberts and Hagerstown City Council members Tuesday night to raise concerns about recent changes to land use regulations in the city that affect used car lots.

The land use change determined that any used car lots in the city less than 40,000 square feet in size will be non-conforming, said Bill Feuerstein, who operates Salem Avenue Auto Exchange and Repair.

Although a used car lot smaller than 40,000 square-feet in size can continue to operate under certain circumstances, the speakers said they are concerned how it will affect used car businesses in town.

If a car lot is non-conforming, a lot owner will probably be less likely to buy more property to make the business bigger, said Timothy Gipe, who leases a used car lot at 201 Frederick St.

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Gipe said he also thinks a land owner would also have trouble getting a permit to expand a building on a used car lot if that property is non-conforming.

The speakers also complained how the city informed residents of the land use changes, which were passed last year, Feuerstein said.

The speakers brought a newspaper ad that they said announced a public review meeting on May 30 last year. They pointed out about how the ad did not mention anything about proposed land use changes affecting used car lots.

Gipe said he once received a notice from the city about curb repairs he had to make to his property. But Gipe said he received no notice from the city when it was considering changes regarding the size of used car lots.

“I don’t understand how the city can conduct business in that manner,” Gipe told Gysberts and council members.

Feuerstein said he thinks the city made the land use changes to prohibit gas stations from selling five cars on their lots. Feuerstein said his lot is about 300 square feet short of 40,000 square feet.

Council member Lewis C. Metzner encouraged the speakers to look at a city report that explains the city’s rationale for making the land use changes.

“Maybe we can all work from there to solve the issues,” Metzner said.

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