A debate about developing the last acreage on Loop Road’s auto dealer row could be decided Monday night when City Council addresses a proposal by the Voss Auto Network to build a parking lot just west of the curved bridge over I-675.
Voss wants to use the lot for storage of used vehicles it will sell at its nearby dealerships on Loop Road, which runs between Far Hills Avenue and Alex Bell Road.
Preliminary work to prepare the site was halted by city officials in late 2012 because grading and landfill under the property exceeded the limits of the permit.
City planner Steve Feverston said Centerville was concerned about the possibility of a mudslide down the slope on the north side of Loop due to the quantity of material. “There was not enough oversight on how soil was being placed on the property.”
The neighborhood below includes the Village South residential area, Village South Park and Centerville City Schools’ Primary Village North.
The city planning commission tabled a decision on Voss’ final plan in April, requesting more information, then voted 5-1 to reject it in June.
The city planning and engineering staff had previously voiced conditional approval for the same plan, which will now come before city council for a final decision.
Council, city manager Greg Horn and other staff members met Monday with Village South residents, Voss president John Voss and his representatives for what Mayor Mark Kingseed called “a fact-finding discussion” over “what has been a controversial issue. We want to hear everyone’s position.”
Council also planned a visit to the neighborhood.
South Village Drive residents Regis Lekan and Rodney Miller were among those who expressed concern about light pollution, increased runoff and resulting problems including mosquito infestations.
Plans for the property date back more than a decade when a proposal to build a used-vehicle sales lot for the Hertz rental company received conditional city approval.
Instead of the stairstep-type treatment of the slope for that project, which the city approved, the Voss plan proposes enlarging the flat area, using fill to level an additional portion of the site. It would also expand dimensions of a detention basin designed to prevent water from draining any more rapidly from the location than it does at present, despite the paved surface.
City engineer Doug Spitler said the plan calls for expanding the lot by three-tenths of an acre.
The lot parking lot would cover less than 1.2 acres of the 10.9-acre site. Voss said there are no plans to build a dealership or other building on the rest of the property. He said that land could be donated to the city schools.
Bradley Judge, project engineer, said runoff from the site would actually be reduced 30 to 70 percent from present rates, depending on the intensity of the storm, “primarily by capturing the water in the basin.”
As for concerns about standing water in the vicinity of the school property, he said that location has a federal designation as a wetland and reducing moisture there would require federal approval.
Voss said the company’s Chevrolet dealership was built in 1972 and was one of the first buildings on Loop. “Our total investment on Loop Road is $45 million to $50 million. We employ more than 500 people in the Centerville area.”
He said the parking lot project would cost about $500,000.
“It’s a lot harder to build something in Centerville now than it was then, even something a lot smaller. There are more regulations, but there is also always citizen opposition to anything now.”
The company’s facilities on Loop Road also include the Voss Collision center, a used Chevrolet business and a Voss Certified Used Car operation.
Jeff Walker completed a $1 million renovation of his Chryster, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealership in 2012.
Feverston said city staff approved the project based on a dozen conditions that included grading, screening and slope.
Auto dealers on Loop Road
Mercedes Benz of Centerville
Bob Ross Buick GMC
Bob Ross Fiat
Voss Certified Used Cars
Walker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
Centerville Auto Mart
Infinity of Dayton
Bart’s Car Store