Commission partially agrees with car dealer’s plans

Tom Krumland, second from left, owner and founder of Krumland Auto Group, speaks about his company’s demands for zoning changes Tuesday evening at a meeting of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. The company is preparing to build new Ford and Hyundai dealerships and further develop its Nissan dealership. Neighborhood residents, including Charles Currier, center, and Hessel Yntema, right, have filed written protests against the plans. Left, Director of Community Development Kevin Maevers. (Photo by Juno Ogle)

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With an agreement in principle between Krumland Auto Group and neighboring residents, the Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission gave unanimous approval on Tuesday to the preliminary dishes and a request for a zoning change by the car dealership so it could proceed. planned construction projects estimated at $ 25 million.

However, the committee voted unanimously to defer the vote on two more requests for zoning changes by the company until next month, when it expects to review the final dishes. The delay could affect the amount of funding the company is able to receive, said KAG owner and founder Tom Krumland.

KAG applied for approval on a preliminary platform to consolidate lots and adjust lot lines and change R-2 residential neighborhoods to C-2 community commercial neighborhoods in the 1900 and 2000 blocks of West Second Street. KAG plans to develop and finance a new Ford dealership in Block 1900, which is the current location of its Hyundai dealership. A second zone change from residential to commercial is also requested for a construction project for the current Nissan dealership at 2111 W. Second St.

Another preliminary flat and zoning change request for the 2300 block of West Second would allow the development and financing of a new Hyundai dealership.

Several residents across an alleyway north of the dealerships filed written protests with the city and spoke at Tuesday’s meeting. None of those who spoke said they were against development itself.

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“We are in favor of economic development,” said Charles Currier. “I have no problem with people making money. I want them to make a lot of money.

“Regarding this proposal, it affects us directly. What we’re talking about is a change in ownership, ”he said.

Community Development Director Kevin Maevers said correspondence received by the town of Currier and other residents was more about potential issues in the future if the property were to be sold and come under a different use.

Some of the lots are zoned residential with special use permits for parking lots that were meant to act as a buffer between commercial areas and residential areas to the north, Maevers said.

“We took the commercial use of the land and wedged it into a residential zoned property with the help of a special use permit, thus nullifying the R-2 development requirements,” he said. .

When this was done in 2003, it was considered good zoning, but Maevers said he thought the special use permit was a mistake.

What the city did around this time is what is now called a transition zone, Maevers said. Transition zones allow the change from one type of land use to another, but still offer development opportunities. What is needed instead is a buffer zone or physical barriers between different types of land use, he said.

“A buffer zone is made up of physical elements that are on the ground. It’s not an area, ”he said.

These components include fencing, berms, and landscaping that can help block sound and create an aesthetically appealing appearance, as well as building setback requirements.

“We need to provide mitigation measures that will create the buffer zone that will mitigate any negative impact,” he said.

Maevers said he sketched out a proposal and discussed it with Krumland and Currier on Tuesday. The proposal contains five requirements for the developer to create this stamp. If the requirements are not met, the city will not issue a certificate of occupancy for the new construction, Maevers said.

According to the proposal, the developer will extend an existing 8 foot perimeter wall around the properties in the areas to be rezoned, plant trees to the rear of the property and provide additional flood protection with retention areas. water.

The final part of the proposal is to include limited development rights in a 125-foot-wide strip of land to allow further separation of commercial property from residential property. No major structures would be permitted in this band, although ancillary structures may be constructed. If the existing Nissan dealership is ever expanded, it will need to have a similar strip of land.

The requirement for limited development rights would also pass with any sale of the property, Maevers said.

Currier said he and his wife were “preliminarily” withdrawing their protest based on the proposal.

“If the final dish continues with all of these things, then I would say our preliminary withdrawal of our protest is a permanent withdrawal of our protest,” he said.

However, one of his neighbors, Hessel Yntema, questioned the commission’s authority to approve zoning requests from current Ford and Nissan dealers, as at least 20% of owners protested. Under state law, that 20% rule means the city council must make the decision, Yntema said.

Yntema said he practiced land use law in Albuquerque and now teaches constitutional law at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia.

He was also concerned about the deal offered by Maevers.

“Something so complicated shouldn’t have been written overnight. I think it would behoove us all to approve the preliminary platform and then come up with a more established agreement on mitigation measures, where we could then formally withdraw our protests next month, ”he said. -he declares.

This would ensure that the commission has the power to approve zoning requests because with the protests withdrawing, the 20% rule would not apply, he said. He urged the committee not to vote on zoning requests for current Ford and Nissan dealerships until January.

The committee voted 7-0 to postpone consideration of these two zoning changes until January. The third zoning change request for the Hyundai dealership has been approved. Krumland said after the meeting that he was a little disappointed but the project will continue.

“We already have people from Ford and Hyundai coming in for an assessment. Making this zoning change affects the appraisal price of what we’re going to do with that land. Without it, we won’t get the amount of funding we need, ”he said.

Krumland said he appreciates the process his company has gone through with the city and residential neighbors.

“Everyone was very courteous tonight and spoke and made their points. I appreciate that. We want to be good neighbors. We have always wanted to be good neighbors, ”he said.

Construction is expected to take two years, he said.

Maevers and Mike Espiritu, president of Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp., highlighted the economic benefits to the community of the KAG project.

The auto industry is expected to return to pre-COVID revenue levels by 2022, said Maevers, which at Roswell was $ 251 million.

The construction is expected to cost $ 25 million and bring in $ 1.8 million in gross revenue taxes, he said.

Maevers said the auto industry as a whole is of net economic benefit to Roswell. Almost 50% of auto sales at Roswell dealerships are sold to people who live out of town, he said. He said other industries were seeing a “hemorrhage” of income as Roswell residents spend money outside the city.

Espiritu said that in addition to the construction work the project will bring, when completed, KAG is expected to hire an additional 100 employees, adding $ 4 million to its annual payroll.

City / RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or [email protected]

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