Property poses challenge for new business

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Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

PADUCAH - Paducah is getting a new car dealership, but its location almost stopped the project before it even started. Perkins Motor Plex will set up shop on Park Avenue on a piece of property not zoned to allow a dealership.

Tim Perkins, the new owner of the Old Moose Lodge location applied for a conditional use permit on Wednesday night at a Board of Adjustment meeting. That would allow him to use the location as a car dealership, without changing the zoning. The City Planning Commission and City Council passed the measure to the board who had the final say, but there were several others in the audience who wanted to voice their concerns.

Most business owners along Park Avenue not only knew when the property hit the market, they pursued it.

"I was interested in that property primarily because it was one block away from where I currently am now," said Chip Wynn, owner of Chip Wynn Motors. He contacted realtor David Nelson who was also familiar with the former Moose Lodge because he was a listing agent. Nelson says he had three other potential buyers who all wanted to change the parcel to pave a new car lot.

Nelson asked the city, but they told him no. However, he wasn't the only one that tried. Auctioneer Chris Colson also checked.

"They seemed to know what I didn't know. Everybody wanted it for a car dealership and it was not permissible," Colson said.

Perkins bought the property last fall and plans to renovate the existing building, but he has agreed not to touch the back portion which is zoned residential. That's why attorney Mike Gardner argued for Perkins' permit.

"All I keep hearing is that they never actually formally went through this process and that's what we did," Gardner said.

The Board of Adjustment agreed, granted the conditional use permit, and offered this advice.

"Anyone that wishes to do something on the property that they don't think they can because of zoning needs to know that they should see the Planning Office and request information about filing for changes," said board member Johanna Rhodes.

There are three conditions the board added to the permit. Perkins can only sell vehicles from the lot; no servicing or renting. They must operate Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and they have to construct and maintain a six feet tall vinyl fence around the property to shield the residential neighbors from the lot.

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