The applicant requests a Special Use Permit (SUP) to operate a used car dealership at 13801 E. 35th Street Court S. The former retail site consists of a large “barn-like” building, a large paved parking/driving surface covering nearly the entire northern portion of the property and a rear green space surrounded by the six-foot tall, chain-linked fence abutting multiple-family properties to the south.
Although there is little green space on the northern portion of the property. Planting areas are available in the right-of-way along E. 39th Street S. and additionally could be provided for by saw-cutting portions of the pavement contiguous with the curb along the west side of E. 39th Street Court S. and abutting the east side of the building. The green area at the rear of the property should have a landscaped buffer as required by the Code.
The applicant has submitted a parking/site plan. The parking area appears in fairly good condition and is of adequate size for a sizable inventory, employee parking, and standard and handicapped customer parking spaces. However, the submitted drawing does not show plantings per Code along the north parking lot perimeter, in the plan depicted endcaps and in the rear residential buffer. Inspection of the site by City staff found that a number of trees and shrubs have already been planted, but were not planted in a number, manner, size or kind as required per Code. Of particular concern to staff, the islands/end caps created from already completed saw-cuts are too small to keep parked cars a sufficient distance from E. 39th Street Court S.
These needed modifications to the applicant’s parking/landscaping plan should be required if approval of the SUP for used car sales is granted. However, staff and the Planning Commission are recommending denial of the application. The proposal does not conform to the Comprehensive Plan as a used car lot would be out of character with the existing neighborhood. The use is not only incompatible with the nearby residential uses, but with the small scale retail/service uses in nearby strip malls to the east and west.
Special Use Permit Standards: The following analysis is based on the review criteria in Section 14-704-09 of the Unified Development Ordinance.
A. The character of the neighborhood – A used car sales lot at this location would be out of character with adjacent apartment properties and the small strip centers located along the south side of E. 39th Street S.
B. The extent to which the proposed use is compatible with the adjacent zoning and uses – A used car sales lot at this location would be incompatible with adjacent multiple-family uses and small scale retail and service uses located along the south side of E. 39th Street S.
C. The impact of the proposed use on public facilities – As this is an established commercial site; all public facilities are in place and operational.
D. The suitability of the property for the uses to which it has been restricted under the applicable zoning district regulations – This Special Use Permit would allow an additional land use not already permitted by right by the C-2 classification.
E. The extent to which the proposed use may injure or detrimentally affect the uses or enjoyment of property in the area – It could detrimentally effect the small scale retail/service character of the area south of E. 39th Street.
F. The extent to which the proposed use will create excessive stormwater runoff, air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution or other environmental harm – As this is an existing commercial property with some additional green space planned, these items are not an issue.
G. The extent to which there is a need for the use in the community – Given there have been ten Special Use Permit applications for used vehicle sales approved over the past few years, there seems to be a demand for this type of business in Independence.
H. The ability of the applicant to satisfy any requirements applicable to the specific use imposed pursuant to this Article – If approved with a Special Use Permit, the application appears to satisfy the all but the residential distance and lot size requirements of Section 14-409 of the Unified Development Ordinance.
I. The extent to which public facilities and services are available and adequate to meet the demand for facilities and services generated by the proposed use – This is an existing commercial building with all public facilities in place.
J. The conformance of the proposed use to the Comprehensive Plan and other adopted plans and policies – The Comprehensive Plan envisions Residential Neighborhood uses for this area.
K. The extent to which the use will promote and encourage sustainability or revitalization of a given area – This Special Use Permit would allow this business to utilize a vacant commercial structure helping to sustain the commercial base of the area.
Planning Commission Action - At its August 14, 2018 meeting, the Planning Commission voted 0-7 failing to recommend approval of this application with the conditions listed above, after consideration of the following facts:
- That, this request is not consistent with the review criteria listed in Section 14-704-09 of the City Code.
- That, a public hearing was held pursuant to a notice duly published according to law, at which time all interested parties were given the full opportunity to be heard.
- That, the C-2 zoning classification allows for offices, banks, restaurants, schools, churches, grocery stores, gasoline sales, taverns and other similar uses by right.
- That, at the Planning Commission hearing, no one spoke in opposition to this Special Use Permit application.
- That, the use would be inconsistent with the small scale retail/service character of the area.
- That, the use would be inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan designation of Residential Neighborhoods.
Draft Planning Commission minutes are attached to this Council agenda item.