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Thread: Towing Service

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Towing Service

    A heated debate over the placement of a automobile Towing service is brewing... Thought I'd get some outside input on where the appropriate placement of a towing service. Currently, our ordinance only addresses wrecking establishments. I'm leaning towards Light Industrial & Heavy Industrial, and possibly as a conditional use in areas where we allow used auto sales... Assuming proper screening among a few other issues...

    Any ideas??? Thanks...

  2. #2
    Permitted by Special Exception only in two of three industrial districts that allow outdoor storage. Lot of performance criteria, among those you mentioned, as well as limiting storage of wrecked/totaled vehicles; environmental issues; no mechanical or other repair permitted on the property and so forth.

    Good luck!
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Hey Gedunker, how is the total number of stored vehicles derived? Is it from lot area, just a flat number, percentage??? Thanks again...

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    I or CUP

    Find out a few things...

    Do they store vehicles for the State Police? If so, then beware of the ditched junkers and abandoned trailers/trucks....
    How many of the vehicles will be innoperable or damaged by crashes as opposed to good vehicles towed from no parking areas...? Leaking fluids? Hard surface storage?
    How long will these vehicles be kept on site?

    Anyway, I would suggest Industrial or at the most a conditional use in a community commercial site....
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by vlaude
    Hey Gedunker, how is the total number of stored vehicles derived? Is it from lot area, just a flat number, percentage??? Thanks again...
    We have been fortunate not to have seen these at acre-sizes, so I had never calculated total capacity previously, but we would use lot area and *parking space* requirements. Based on our current development standards, you could put up to 145 vehicles on an acre. The three tow-in lots we have are all much smaller and none holds more than 40 vehicles.

    Hope that helps.
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    Abraham Lincoln

  6. #6
    Special Use in an Industrial zoning district and be prepared for one heck of a meeting. I've never one of these meetings go well. People come out of the woodwork any time salvage yard, tow yard or landfill gets mentioned. Have your chairman keep a tight rein on the hearing.

  7. #7
    BANNED
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    A heated debate over the placement of a automobile Towing service is brewing... Thought I'd get some outside input on where the appropriate placement of a towing service. Currently, our ordinance only addresses wrecking establishments. I'm leaning towards Light Industrial & Heavy Industrial, and possibly as a conditional use in areas where we allow used auto sales... Assuming proper screening among a few other issues...

    Any ideas??? Thanks...
    Find out what kind of state licenses the applicant has to operate as a towing service. Will they have to obtain the title to the car before moving the vehicle, or are they simply a "my car broke down, i need to you to take it to a repair garage" or worse, "car is in a no park zone, come impound it, car has been in a wreck come pick it up". The former is really not that big of an issue because they probably will not be able to store vehicles on site. The latter, they should have the appropriate licenses to allow them to potentially to deal with environmentally harmful substances, i.e., leaking gas, oil, anti-freeze...etc.. Look in your zoning code for similar uses, do you have a zone that allows vehicle storage (not the same as a car lot), the storing of vehicles is very similar (we have this classification in our port/industrial district). And look for zones where potentially hazardous materials are handled. This is an industrial use and not appropriate in general commercial zones.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Acchhhoooo, I typically agree with you that a towing service is not a use conducive to general commercial areas, especially lighter commercial uses. However, we have a specific commercial use that allows for open display and used auto sales... This area is made up of used car sales and general auto services garages, etc... I tend to think that a towing service (not salvage) might be an appropriate use if controlled. I'm thinking conditional use.. Agree? Disagree? And suggestions for conditions...

    Screened yard
    Limit Vehicles (per lot area)
    Limit Time Vehicles are stored on premisis
    No onsite work on vehicles?
    ???

  9. #9
    BANNED
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    Acchhhoooo, I typically agree with you that a towing service is not a use conducive to general commercial areas, especially lighter commercial uses. However, we have a specific commercial use that allows for open display and used auto sales... This area is made up of used car sales and general auto services garages, etc... I tend to think that a towing service (not salvage) might be an appropriate use if controlled. I'm thinking conditional use.. Agree? Disagree? And suggestions for conditions...

    Screened yard
    Limit Vehicles (per lot area)
    Limit Time Vehicles are stored on premisis
    No onsite work on vehicles?
    ???
    One, we will not allow vehicle storage in our general commercial areas, this definition includes towing operations. The towing operation would have to comply with the following regulations (as a use allowed as right);
    D. Storage areas and vehicle storage areas.
    1. Intent. It is the intent of this regulation to require minimum standards for all storage areas and vehicle storage areas in order to protect adjoining property, minimize nuisances, and maintain a landscaped setting along street frontages. Storage areas and vehicle storage areas are places where minimal movement of equipment and vehicles occur. These areas are not to be construed as parking lots or areas with high traffic movement.
    2. Minimum standards.
    a. Screening. the site shall be screened by a six-foot tall, opaque screening fence.
    b. Surfacing of storage areas. Surfacing of storage areas and vehicle storage areas must provide for the following minimum standards of approval:
    (1) Dust is controlled;
    (2) Stormwater is treated to City standard; and
    (3) Rock and other debris is not tracked off-site.
    If, after construction, the City determines that the surfacing is not providing the standards listed above, paving shall be required.
    Entrances and exits shall be provided in accordance with Section 13.06.510.B.2.a above.
    d. If provided, lighting shall meet requirements of Section 13.06.510.B.2.h above.
    e. Application. The foregoing regulations shall apply in all zoning districts with exceptions only as noted.
    E. Vehicle services and repair; and vehicle service and repair, industrial.
    1. Intent. It is the intent of this regulation to require minimum standards for all vehicle repair uses in order to protect adjoining property, minimize nuisances, and maintain a landscaped setting along street frontages.
    2. Minimum standards.
    a. Screening. Vehicles awaiting repair must be fully screened from public view. These areas shall be screened by a six-foot tall, opaque screening fence.
    b. Junk vehicles and auto parts must be stored inside an enclosed building, .
    c. Customer vehicles awaiting repair or pickup must be parked on business property and not on City right?of?way..
    d. All repairs must be conducted entirely within an enclosed building.
    e. No windows or openings are allowed if facing a residential district.


    The site would also have a street tree requirement of 3 trees per 100 feet of street frontage. The site would also have a 7 foot perimeter requirement, the six foot fence would have to be located 7 feet from the property line in this instance. We don't have a specfic requirment of plantings in this strip, we do however suggest it be filled with a variety of shrubs and trees...sad huh. If the use is abutting a resideential zone, then we hit em with a bigger buffer and more specific planting requirements. We don't have any language in our regs that try to limit these things by cars allowed per acre or restricting time vehicles are left. The latter would be a bitch to enforce on though, wouldn't recommend it. If you are in a rural setting, the cars allowed per acre sounds like a good idea. The fact no salvage or junk cars will be allowed reduces a lot of the obnoxious nature of the use. This use is perfectly acceptable in the proper setting and probably in more people intensive areas if property conditioned, but we don't micro-manage these things here that much, you either can or can't. Hope this helps.

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