When is government too little or too much?
The Covington City Council denied a Special Use Permit (SUP) permit to Classic Collision.
Classic Collision, a metro-Atlanta collision repair center was asked by insurance companies to open up a site in Covington. The insurance companies cited that the increase of repairs by the insured located in Covington, Georgia as a demand best addressed with a satellite facility in Covington.
The property in question, located at 10500 Eagle Drive, in Covington currently sits vacant, again. The site was once the home to a transmission repair shop and a Goodyear tire company shop until 2012. Reports indicate that it has been vacant since 2012.
Classic Collision sought appropriate permits and found the vacant property to be a perfect location for a satellite location for its growing business.
The property has no issues, but the type of work the private business plans to engage in required a “SUP” approved by the city council. The request was denied in a 5-1 vote, with Commissioner Josh McKelvey being the only yay vote.
The residents at an adjacent property, a 55+ community, petitioned the city to deny the permit. The reasons stated were the increase of traffic and noise, a conflict with the reason they purchased their homes.
Capital Collision’s study presented to the city council anticipated a slight increase in noise and possible 35 trips a day at the most. The facility had adequate indoor storage for their anticipated volume. There was no anticipation of outdoor storage of cars.
In addition to the presence at the meeting, the residents of the community presented a petition signed by 27 residents against the SUP.
Mayor Ronnie Johnston indicated he wished the business and the residential community could have created a compromise, seeing the value of both sides of the debate.
The vote is based on the rights of citizens to petition, protest, and engage with their local government, whom they elected to serve the city. It was also part of a process that businesses have to follow with regulations, permits, and permission from the government to establish a business.
Both sides followed the appropriate processes and the people’s wishes were executed over the will of the business expansion.
Editorial and Speculation, reader input desired
Does the company have a right to an auto repair business or do the people who anticipate challenges they do not want have a right to deny the free-market based private business? Driving throughout Dekalb, Rockdale, and some parts of Newton County people often criticize “that run down lot” or “that building been vacant for 10 years” and cite that as one reason for the reduction in property values among other concerns. These counties often ignore these existing real estate and approve new construction. Nancy Jester, Commissioner in Dekalb County, has been in a personal crusade to end “blighted communities.” Should a municipality motivate business owners to acquire vacant properties and repurpose them before permitting new construction?
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