Boardman residents raise concerns about new car dealership
By Jordyn Grzelewski
As a proposal to build a new car dealership on Market Street moves forward, some township residents are upset about the possible impact of the new business on a small, quiet street.
Township trustees this week approved commercial zoning for a property, part of which previously was zoned residential, located between the Donnell Ford and J.D. Byrider car dealerships. Property owner John Kufleitner plans to build a Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership there, which he said will be “a beautiful project” that will create between 60 and 70 jobs.
Residents of a tiny dead-end street to which the property has access, however, are concerned about increased traffic they believe the dealership will cause.
“We are absolutely outraged,” said Scotland Avenue resident Victoria Collier. “For a large commercial car dealership ... coming back and encroaching into and along the side of Scotland Avenue – they really don’t have any good reason for having the access onto a small residential street.”
“It’s not just the fact that we have all lived here for a very long time and we enjoy our peace and quiet,” she said. “The other issue is, why in the world would Boardman Township ... allow a large commercial dealership to spill out onto a small residential street?”
Kufleitner said he plans to install an access gate on Scotland Avenue so only employees can use that entrance.
Collier, however, said she is concerned about traffic from employees coming and going, and questions why that access point is necessary.
Kufleitner said he does not think all employees will use Scotland Avenue, but noted he owns the property and therefore has access to it.
Township officials said there is nothing they can do to prevent the property owner from having access to a public road. Trustee Brad Calhoun likened it to denying a homeowner access to their own driveway.
“The only alternative was, if we turned [the zone change] down, he can’t build. He can’t bring his dealership to land he already purchased,” Calhoun said. “We don’t want to discourage development.”
Kufleitner said the project will benefit the community.
“It’s a car dealership amongst car dealerships, which is reasonable,” he said. “I’m going to run a good business, and I’m going to give the township and the county something to be proud of.”
The project must next get site-plan approval, then a conditional-use permit from the township board of zoning appeals. The site-plan review process will involve looking at aspects of the project such as lighting and buffers.
“That’s when we really apply the code, and also make sure the property isn’t going to have an adverse impact on the adjacent residential areas,” said Krista Beniston, township zoning and development director. The next site-plan meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 8 at the township government building.