Auto lot rezoning challenged

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A public hearing was held Feb. 4 in Canal Winchester regarding the rezoning of property owned by Wendy’s International at 202 Cemetery Road, south of U.S. Route 33.

The rezoning seeks to change the property from general commercial to exceptional use for a Byers Automotive used car retail sales site.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the request and said it does not believe the proposed use is appropriate for the property because of its location. According to the commission, if the request was approved, it would open the door for a full-scale auto dealership or similar use relying on exposure from a major thoroughfare.

In addition, the commission also felt the use was incompatible because it would be located directly next to the Winchester Village subdivision.

Bob McDorman, of Bob McDorman Chevrolet in Canal Winchester, said he is not against healthy competition, but he didn’t think the village would ever be big enough to support two car dealerships.

"Byers Chevrolet already has three Chevrolet dealerships in the Columbus area and they certainly can find another location, other than having a used car lot down the street from another Chevrolet dealership, who has been here in this building since 1968 when Gender Road was just a crossroad on Route 33," said McDorman. "Last year was our worst year ever as a dealership. I have never seen it this tough in my 54 years in the car business. Our personal property tax bill alone was $300,000. I don’t need another Chevy dealer helping me go down. All I want to do is to stay in business in Canal Winchester. I tell people I’m going to run the dealership until I’m 99 and then I’ll retire. You bring another dealership in and give me more competition and it’s going to hurt me. I think the world of the Byers family, but they’re moving in the wrong direction by coming here."

In a letter to Councilman John Bender, McDorman said he’s never failed to vote for any tax or school levy in the 42 years he has been a dealer in Canal Winchester, he has furnished scoreboards for local schools, and just opened a second building to generate more business for his dealership and the local economy.

Canal Winchester Village Council agreed with the Planning and Zoning Commission and McDorman and upheld the denial.

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