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Parties at loggerheads in Florida zoning dispute

Recent media reports suggest that a Florida businessman is embroiled in a zoning dispute over a proposed used car lot that has dragged on for more than two years. The entrepreneur, who has 25 years of retail car business experience, says that the lot he wants to open would be a welcome resource for those who live and work in an around Parker, but municipal authorities are holding firm to their position that the zoning rules clearly forbid the kind of business he wants to open at the site.

Parker City Council members are concerned because the property is located close to a residential area. Some members fear that the businessman would fill his lot with undesirable junk cars and begin to perform body shop and mechanical work if he were to be awarded the variance he is seeking. The entrepreneur denies these allegations and says that he only wants to sell attractive used vehicles to area residents and the families of service personnel stationed at the nearby Tyndall Air Force Base.

Municipal leaders are also accusing the entrepreneur of being disingenuous. They claim that the businessman not only knew that the lot was not zoned for used car sales, but they say that he was also aware that the previous owner of the property had applied for, and been denied, the very same variance. However, local business owners are more sympathetic and have said that having a car lot on the property would do more for the area than leaving the lot vacant.

Attorneys with experience in this area may caution their clients against purchasing commercial real estate that is not zoned for the purpose they intend to use it for. Zoning disputes are often highly contentious, and those who oppose changes to land use regulations are sometimes extremely vocal and dogged.


Source: The Panama City News Herald, Parker businessman disputes zoning, hopes to open car lot, Collin Breaux, Oct. 22, 2017

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