The Press Newspaper
The Oregon Planning Commission last month approved a Conditional Use permit for property on Navarre Avenue that will be used for outdoor display of rental and dealership vehicles.
A vacant building, formerly occupied by a bank, is on the property at 2760 Navarre Avenue. Kmart leases the building, which is located several yards north of the store.
The commission voted 3-0 for the permit.
The applicant, Antonio Osman, plans to seek a waiver from the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) at a meeting on Jan. 23 so he can park more vehicles on the property than what is permitted by the zoning code, according to Jim Gilmore, the city’s commissioner of building and zoning. The surrounding properties at the site are zoned commercial.
“The code says you can display goods if you have a conditional use, but they can’t be displayed in the required yards,” said Gilmore.
Osman wants to store and sell the vehicles in the required front yard on Navarre and Isaac Street Drive, according to information from the building and zoning department.
The Project Review Committee met on Dec. 17 and had no objections to the Conditional Use in the C-2 general commercial district.
Osman said he does not plan to display more than 30 vehicles at the site.
“Probably about 10 cars will be rentals, and 15-20 cars will be for sale. We can’t put more than 30 cars there,” he said.
Osman said there are not many rental car facilities between Sandusky and Downtown Toledo.
“There’s one on Woodville Road and one on Washington Street in downtown Toledo,” he said.
Osman said he also plans to open a Hercules Tire franchise at the former Penske auto service center, also leased by Kmart, just east of the car rental company, on Navarre Avenue. The building had received some unwelcome attention from city council late last year because it appeared to be in bad condition. One councilman called it an “eyesore.” Improvements have been made since then, including a paint job.
“We have done tons of work in there,” said Osman. “We cleaned it out. We would like to have the property next door for car rental and car sales for our customers. When we fix their cars, we will be able to give them a car for rental. It will be a clean place. It won’t be like a used car lot working on cars in the middle of the parking lot or anything like that. It’s going to meet your requirements.”
He said he has already invested about $500,000 in the Hercules Tire building.
“We will have top of the line equipment. We will bring some machines that nobody else in the whole area has,” he said.
The businesses will employ 12 people, he said.
Mayor Mike Seferian, who is a member of the planning commission, said he’s been asked by the public for the last several years about the vacant buildings.
“They’ve been very difficult buildings to fill,” he said. Especially the former Penske building, he added, because it never had its own utilities. Before Penske, the building was an auto service center owned by Kmart, which had provided the utilities from its store. Businesses initially interested in the building looked elsewhere after learning about the costs to install separate utilities.
“I do know that several other people in the past two or three years have inquired about those buildings, and they found it so difficult to retrofit to their businesses. It became a very costly venture to make it usable for someone,” said Seferian.
“It was a deterrent to the business district in that Navarre Avenue corridor,” he added. “There’s nothing worse for your key business district than vacant buildings.”
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