Photo by Chris Burritt/NWO | Ronnie Hedrick said he may be forced to close his used car lot on Summerfield Road unless the Town Council amends the zoning of the property to allow him to store more cars on the premises.
by CHRIS BURRITT
SUMMERFIELD - Over the years, the brick and glass building at 7211 Summerfield Road has housed the town's post office and a day care center. It's now at the center of a zoning dispute between the town and its current occupant, a used car lot run by Ronnie Hedrick.
The property is zoned for conditional use - general business, which allows two vehicles to be stored on the premises at night. Earlier this week, the parking lot contained nine cars and trucks, typical of the inventory that's for sale, according to Hedrick.
Chris York, Summerfield's planning manager, said he recently told the property's owners, A.J. and Dora Rose, the car lot is operating in violation of zoning rules. Unless the Town Council changes the regulations, Hedrick is required to reduce to two the number of vehicles parked there overnight.
As a result, the Roses are seeking to amend the property's zoning to allow the storage of as many as 15 vehicles at night. The town has scheduled an open house next Tuesday, April 20, to gather feedback about the rezoning request.
The 5:30 p.m. open house will take place at Summerfield Community Center on Centerfield Road. Afterward, the request goes to the Planning and Zoning Board April 26 and the Town Council May 11.
If the council denies the request, Hedrick said "we might as well close down" because it's not financially practical for him to move the vehicles elsewhere at night and bring them back the next morning.
Hedrick's business has occupied the property for more than 10 years. He and his salesman, Ed Arrington, said they're puzzled by the town's periodic efforts to crack down on the zoning rules.
"We keep the cars clean and mow the property," said Arrington, arguing the car lot is better kept than some properties nearby. "What do the cars hurt sitting here at night?"