The Wichita auto enthusiast won City Council approval Tuesday to open a small car-sales lot near Central and West, after a lengthy stop-and-start process that’s been going on since July.
The council action clears the way for up to four cars at a time to be sold on the parking lot at 4231 W. Central. Currently, that parking lot is shared by an automotive shop and a car upholstery business.
The car lot will be separately operated from the other businesses by applicant Jeremiah Leathers, who’ll be leasing four parking spaces along with a small office in the upholstery shop.
Leathers, a quality inspector in the aircraft industry, said cars are his passion and he’s been buying and selling them on the side for years.
He said he’s still working, but layoffs and furloughs in the aircraft industry, hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, nudged him toward trying to turn his part-time hobby business into a full-time business.
He said hopes his tiny car lot will soon outgrow the location.
The council’s unanimous vote settles a split between the District 6 Advisory Board, which unanimously recommended denial and the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, which unanimously recommended approval.
Getting a conditional-use permit to sell cars on Central “has not been the best experience,” he said.
The Planning Department originally recommended denying the permit because it would introduce a new use in that part of the “community core,” a roughly three-mile radius around downtown.
In July, the District Advisory Board agreed and unanimously urged the council to deny Leathers’ plan.
The next step was the Planning Commission. He won a recommendation of approval there, after agreeing to limit his stock to four cars at a time and other conditions dealing with lighting, signage, fencing and other issues.
Then, he had to go back