NORMAN — About a
Hudimax Holdings LLC wants to build a new Automax Hyundai dealership on the west side of N Interstate Drive between Robinson Street and Rock Creek Road on about seven acres that back up to the Dove Crossing housing addition.
To build, the company needs city council approval to change the land use designation for the property from office space to commercial and rezone from C-1, which is light commercial, to a planned unit development that would still be zoned C-1 but would add a car dealership as a permissible use.
“It's a very inappropriate use of this land given its juxtaposition to a residential neighborhood,” Donna Taffe said.
A car dealership would cause noise, lighting and traffic problems for the neighborhood, she said.
“I would never have purchased my home there if I thought a car dealership could be built there, and I don't think anyone in this neighborhood would have,” Taffe said.
Ed Averyt said he worries that customers of the dealership will test drive vehicles through the neighborhood.
“I know they would. They (dealership representatives) say they won't allow that, but you know they will. We have children in our neighborhood playing and getting on and off school buses. It's dangerous,” Averyt said.
Trucks that unload vehicles at the dealership also will cut through the neighborhood when they're finished unloading, he said.
“Our neighborhood just can't support that kind of commercial traffic,” he said.
Mark Benner said he and his neighbors are not opposed to development on the property, which currently is a vacant field.
“We're against irresponsible development of this property. We will be affected every single day, many times a day, if a car dealership is built there,” Benner said.
Attorney Sean Rieger, who spoke on behalf of the dealership at a planning commission meeting Thursday night, said his client has gone to great lengths to address residents' concerns.
The dealership would provide buffering with high fences, landscaping and low-impact lighting, he said.
Employees would not be allowed to park on the street; traffic would enter and exit only from N Interstate Drive; and no test drives would be taken through the residential area, he said.
Rieger said the current C-1 zoning on the property would allow “without any city council approval” construction of such businesses as restaurants, liquor stores, hotels and automotive supply stores.
“We're planning to build a one-story building there. Would they rather look out their back window and see a three-story hotel behind them, because that's what could happen there now,” he said.
The land use designation, which specifies office use, is inconsistent with the land's zoning, Rieger said.
City staff has told him the designation was a mistake and that the land should be designated for commercial use, the same as its zoning, he said.
“We bought our homes knowing it was designated for office use. You say now that is a mistake. We don't want to have to pay for that mistake,” Taffe said.
Averyt said he and other residents would prefer a strip mall, a liquor store, restaurants “or any of the other allowable uses” over a car dealership.
“We knew when we purchased our homes what to expect, and a car dealership was not one of them,” he said.
In a 5-3 vote Thursday, Norman planning commissioners voted against the car dealership plan. City council is expected to consider the dealership requests June 5.