City of Kyle limits outdoor car sales along I-35 corridor

Vehicle sale and rental lots could be a thing of the past after Kyle city leaders decided Tuesday to shut down all future outdoor sales and display of motor vehicles along the I-35 corridor.

The Kyle City Council approved an amendment to a city ordinance which prohibits the outdoor display and sale of any motor vehicles along the I-35 corridor. The amendment does not require current sales or rental businesses to come under the rules until they wish to expand their facilities.

City officials proposed the amendment because automobile sales do not generate local sales tax, only property tax, and are not typically high volume employers.

As a result, city officials see very little incentive to accommodate automobile sales.

Motor vehicle sales, rentals and leasing are permitted only within a covered, enclosed building and require city council approval of a conditional use permit.

I-35 is the gateway into Kyle and that view forms the first impression of most visitors, Koontz said.

“This amendment is not a land use amendment,” Howard Koontz, director of planning and community development, said. “This amendment is an aesthetic amendment.”

The amendment only changes the manner in which merchandise can be displayed to encourage better use of land, Koontz said.

“We’re not telling anyone they can’t build,” said Councilmember Shane Arabie. “We’re telling them we want review approval. This gives us the ability to clean up the look of our city.”

Council members approved the amendment 5-0, with Councilmember Travis Mitchell and Councilmember Daphne Tenorio abstaining from voting.

Before discussion began, Mitchell and Tenorio both stepped down from the dais due to conflicts of interest.

Mitchell is the owner of Mitchell Motorsports, a motor vehicle dealership on I-35 which sells UTVs and motorcycles. Tenorio said her family property is within 1,200 feet of the I-35 overlay.

While Mitchell did not vote on the amendment, he publicly opposed it in a video published on his Facebook page.

“I think the proposal is heavy-handed, unsubstantiated, and focuses on eliminating auto dealerships without realizing that several of the categories on the list don’t even sell autos and are solid generators of jobs, sales tax, vehicle tax, property tax, inventory tax and more,” Mitchell said.

The amendment includes the sale of water craft, recreational vehicles, ATVs, buses, trailers, farm and lawn equipment, construction equipment, demolition equipment, commercial vehicles, limousines and all other similar vehicles.

Current motor vehicle dealerships in the I-35 overlay would be allowed to operate as non-conforming with city code. An established dealership would have to conform to the adopted code when it decides to expand.

Councilmember Damon Fogley said while motor vehicle sales bring in some income to the city, the burden of high tax rates is on homeowners.

“We have to protect certain areas for development, for potential employers,” Fogley said.

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