CUP issued for Watson Auto Car Plaza

Crestwood City Hall

Photo by Gloria Lloyd

Crestwood City Hall

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a conditional use permit for Watson Auto Care Plaza, 8720-8750 Watson Road, at its meeting last month. 

The CUP to operate a motor vehicle service and repair business at the property was unanimously approved by Crestwood aldermen after a public hearing Aug. 24. 

Plaza owner and operator Robert Goodwillie had to apply for the CUP after Crestwood adopted an updated zoning code earlier this year. The updated code stated all vehicle service and repair uses are conditional in the PD-C: Planned Development: Commercial zoning district, which was the district assigned to 8720-8750 Watson Road. Before the adoption of the code, vehicle service and repair was a permitted use in the PD-C district.  

Issuing the CUP allows for the property to be used for the purpose it was built for in 1987. 

The permit had three conditions added. Vehicles may not be stored for more than 48 hours and must not be visible from Watson Road, hours of operation are limited from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and no major bodywork or painting is permitted.

A condition to only allow one-year leases for tenants at the plaza was discussed but not approved by the Crestwood Planning  and Zoning Commission Aug. 4. Goodwillie said such a condition would limit potential tenants.

“To set up an auto shop is very costly to move equipment in, whether it’s wheel alignment machines or tire balancers. Most people are not interested in a year lease because in the first year of moving into a space they’re not going to earn their full potential because they have to recoup moving costs,” Goodwillie said. “That’s going to present a bit of a challenge for me.”

City Planner John Cruz said the lease limit was added originally because the city designated the area for redevelopment at a to be determined time, and a long lease would stop the city’s plans before they got started. 

Several commissioners were against the restriction, including Chairman Robert Sweeney. He said the city had good intentions including the limit,  but “it’s better left to the market to decide.”

Goodwillie said he wasn’t in favor of the 48-hour limit on stored cars either. He said he has never received a complaint about any stored cars. 

“This is the first time I’ve heard about the 48-hour parking requirement. I do know, especially during COVID, parts and supplies are very hard to get,” Goodwillie said. “To think that cars can only sit on the lot for 48 hours … it’s going to be a challenge to honor that request.”

Sweeney said with the exception of the lease requirement, all of the proposed and accepted conditions were already in place. 

“The city isn’t really asking for additional restrictions on the property. Having not gotten any complaints, somewhat in an effort to defend the staff and city, no one has been cited for a car that is up on blocks. Staff could’ve gone out there and done that,” Sweeney said.

The commission included with the 48-hour condition that Goodwillie may create landscaping instead of building a fence to block off the stored car lot if he so chooses. This condition was later removed after Cruz spoke to an officer who was certified in crime prevention through environmental design. 

“He recommended we not move forward with recommending any additional landscape, and instead gave us some other options that could accomplish our goals and keep the site safe,” Cruz said.