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.
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.
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.
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.
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. “I just feel it’s not the best location,” Griffith told the council, “I brought my babies home from the hospital there.”
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 property’s previous use. “I 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.” Thomas added, “There’s a Hilton hotel going in at the corner [of 85 and 20], I don’t think this is going to have a huge impact on stop-and-go traffic compared to the hotel.”
Location of the proposed car lot on Government Avenue which was rejected by the Council at October’s meeting.