Arlington May Draw Line With Used Car Businesses

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ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Look down some Arlington streets and you’ll see car dealer, after car dealer.

Some have old, hand painted signs over the lot, others are actually in old new car dealership buildings.  Some of the businesses simply occupy a spot in a strip center, with cars parked door handle, to door handle in the parking lot.

These businesses are all lining some of Arlington’s major thoroughfares. “The problem is huge,” said Mayor Robert Cluck. “The used car lots… if you look at Division, the development there, its total car lots.”

Arlington officials estimate that more than 260 auto-related businesses have opened in two years — most of them used car dealers. That’s two and a half new car businesses every week.

The city has few regulations governing car dealership location or appearance.  Most of the dealers have moved in the high-traffic areas of Division, Collins and Cooper. While those locations may be good for the car businesses, many consider them eyesores that prevent other development like restaurants and retail.

The new ordinance being considered would prohibit car dealers from the business districts in the future and enforce new building requirements. “There would be standards for how they look, where they are placed, set backs,” explained Mayor Cluck.  “Right now we don’t have any.  If you want to put a used car lot in you buy an old gas station and put cars there.”

Not everyone believes the ordinance would be good for the city. “I think it would be bad for us,” said Auto Maxx manager Chris Jefferson, a used car lot near the resurgent Arlington downtown.

Jefferson said the city already forced his dealership to pull down outdoor advertising. “There are no streamers,” he said. “We’re not allowed to put anything that says we finance or what our interest rates are, our anything like that.”

Jefferson said before Arlington runs used car dealerships away, it should consider that even his small lot is selling 45 to 60 cars a month. “A lot of car businesses have been here for a long time,” Jefferson said.  “I think we’ve brought more business to Arlington then we’ve been given credit for.”

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