The town of Cornelius Board of Commissioners approved an automobile sales district overlay Monday night to encourage more dealerships to open in town.
Commissioners voted 4-0 in favor of the district. Commissioner Dave Gilroy was absent and Mayor Chuck Travis only votes to break a tie.
The town already has several auto dealerships.
The district overlay is about 47 acres on land that is east of Interstate 77 and north of Westmoreland Road, with Statesville Road running almost through its center. The district permits the sales of automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, boats and recreational vehicles.
The district requires parking lots to be segmented into smaller lots so that no lot is more than 3 acres unless it is divided by a street, building or landscaping. It also requires all outdoor vehicles for sale or on display to be set back at least 20 feet from the front property line, and prohibits public address systems that can be heard beyond a property’s borders.
The businesses in the district overlay’s boundaries are mostly vehicle related, including Modern Nissan of Lake Norman and car rental, repair and storage operations. Those businesses are grandfathered in and are not subject to the district’s requirements, said Wayne Herron, Cornelius planning director.
The town hasn’t heard that more dealers are interested in locating to the area, but the idea of the district is that it makes the area more appealing for such development if the land becomes available, Herron said.
Herron said that although several residents asked questions about the district at two public hearings, held by the commissioners and the Planning Board, no one opposed its implementation.