Council members raise concern about planned automall

Several Charlotte City Council members expressed concerns Monday over a plan to put an auto mall near the planned $1.16 billion northern extension of the Lynx light rail line.

At-large representative David Howard and Michael Barnes, who represents the council district where the property is located, both echoed concerns raised by critics who say car dealerships stand in opposition to the kind of dense, pedestrian-friendly development light rail corridors typically create.

The owners of Parks Chevrolet are seeking approval to rezone 39 acres across University City Boulevard from IKEA to accommodate 275,000 square feet of dealership space. Up to four dealers would set up shop there.

Sustain Charlotte director Shannon Binns and architect Martin Zimmerman told council members the tract is about a quarter-mile away from a planned light rail station and would interfere with the kind of dense development that has bloomed along the rail line in South End.

Stuart Parks, whose family owns the Parks Chevrolet locations on North Tryon Street and in Huntersville, told the council the 39-acre tract isn’t directly on the light rail corridor and is close to Interstate 85.

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