A used Car Lot will not set up shop next to Williams Insurance Agency on Government Avenue in Niceville after a vote of the city council on Tuesday. The lot would have taken the place of the old Angels Attic Thrift Store building.ย 

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The Niceville City Council Voted 1-4 to reject a variance request from Kimberly Thomas to use the lot, zoned for light commercial to sell cars. The denial came after a tie vote from the planning commission to allow the car lot to operate on the plot of land.ย 

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The Council learned that there was a loophole in the Land Development Code, which determines what kids of homes, businesses and industries can go where in town. You can see a zoning map for the city of Niceville and a copy of the Land Development Code.

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Without getting too deep into the weeds, the planning and zoning department goofed and left a possibility for the C-1 designation to allow for used car lots.

The Arguments

One resident came before the council to ask that the car lot be denied – Mary Griffith of Iowa Street. Griffith lives behind the lot that would have been used to sell cars. She cited loud noise, additional lighting, increased foot traffic, and runoff concerns. โ€œI just feel itโ€™s not the best location,โ€ Griffith told the council, โ€œI brought my babies home from the hospital there.โ€

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Thomas, as the petitioner, made her points as well. Thomas argued that the property would be used almost as a billboard and that most transactions would take place over the internet – meaning less commercial-type activity taking place on the property. Thomas also argued that the car lot business would be less traffic-intenesive than the propertyโ€™s previous use. โ€œI did a little research, and the bargain box in town, which is really busy, gets two hundred customers daily and an average of 100 credit card transactions a day – so they are very busy.โ€ Thomas added, โ€œThereโ€™s a Hilton hotel going in at the corner [of 85 and 20], I donโ€™t think this is going to have a huge impact on stop-and-go traffic compared to the hotel.โ€

Location of the proposed car lot on Government Avenue which was rejected by the Council at October’s meeting.ย 

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