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Feb 2 2017

Warren Mayor Fouts to veto approval of used car lots #design #a #car

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Warren Mayor Fouts to veto approval of used car lots

By Norb Franz. The Macomb Daily

Posted: 11/30/15, 7:30 PM EST | Updated: 1 day ago

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.

Both projects shifted into drive last week after the council voted to grant special land use permits for a new used-car lot on Mound Road, just north of Eight Mile Road, and the expansion of a nearby used vehicle lot on Eight Mile near Albany Avenue.

“I respect the council’s right to disagree,” said Fouts, who plans to submit the veto notice today. “My concern is it sends the wrong message out that Warren, especially in the southwest section, that the best we can do is put an offensive used car lot in a residential neighborhood.”

The Warren Planning Commission had previously recommended to the council that it approve the requests for special land use permits. The Warren Zoning Board of Appeals had granted more than a dozen zoning variances.

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Fouts, however, said some of the variance requests didn’t amount to hardships for the owners of both properties.

In recent weeks, the mayor issued public statements urging the council to nix both proposals. However, the council support for both was strong.

Warren currently has 55 used car lots. Neighboring Sterling Heights, which is slightly smaller geographically, has 21.

Warren Council President Cecil St. Pierre blamed poor land use planning by Warren officials for the “spot appearances” of used car lots seemingly dotting the landscape.

“The mistake has already been made,” St. Pierre said.

“For lack of a better term, the cat’s out of the bag.”

On the west side of Mound Road just north of Eight Mile, four parcels zoned for industrial use will be combined into one, and four vacant buildings that have been closed for a dozen years will be demolished, a representative for auto dealer Mazin Marogi said. Those structures will be replaced by a new 2,500-square-foot building with an office and a garage for auto detailing, and a new parking/sales lot will be paved, at a cost of $250,000.

Only two neighborhood residents spoke at a recent public hearing on the special land use permits. Vicky Malette and Larry Luzon said both projects will boost the appearance of that area, and credited Marogi for addressing residents’ concerns about blight in the area.

“It’s one that we enthusiastically welcome and look forward to giving our neighborhood some life and get rid of some of the blight that’s occurring on Eight Mile and on Mound,” Luzon said.

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.

Fouts scoffed at zoning variances approved by the ZBA, including the substitution of a metal decorative fencing over a privacy fence, and allowing one used car lot to open less than 700 feet from another.

The mayor said he’s not aware whether any developers have shown interest at both locations but added: “I would think there are more viable alternatives than this.”

The council is expected to take up the veto at the Jan. 8 regular meeting.


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