Friday , 9 December 2016

Proposed Bob Tomes Ford Expansion Angers Nearby Residents, Again

For the second time in the last few months, a proposed expansion of Tomes Auto Group’s dealerships has angered residents in the neighborhood around the dealership.

In November, hundreds of residents spoke out in opposition of a proposed parts warehouse that was to be built at the southeast corner of Rockhill Road and North Brook Drive. The Tomes Auto Group (which consists of Bob Tomes Ford and Brandon Tomes Subaru) ultimately abandoned their plans to build the 36,000-square-foot warehouse facility.

Location of Bob Tomes Ford Collision Center
Location of Bob Tomes Ford Collision Center

On Tuesday evening, the McKinney City Council was set to consider a new request from the Tomes Auto Group to rezone the area around the dealership’s existing collision center at the corner of North Brook Drive and Park View Avenue. Tomes was requesting a rezoning to build a lot to store new Ford and Subaru vehicles to be sold at the family’s dealerships.

Tomes does not need council approval to build a parking lot on the site under an agreement signed by Tomes and the city in 1999, as long as Tomes maintains a 60-foot setback from the roadway. Tomes asked the council to allow for a 20-foot setback to allow for more storage space.

This request for additional space angered many of the same residents who spoke out against Tomes’ request from November. At least 20 residents attended the council meeting on Tuesday and many took an opportunity to tell the members of council that they should not allow Tomes to “infringe on their neighborhood any more than he already has.”

The residents of the neighborhood again canvassed and collected over 200 signatures on a petition opposing the warehouse. Many residents told the council that they worried that the loss of green space that would be irreversible. “Once this green space is taken away, you can’t get it back,” Mary Struther told the council.

Bob Tomes attended the meeting and told the council that he was willing to put up a six-foot tall masonry fence, with shrubbery on top of it, around the parking lot in an effort to block the view of the cars and beautify the area. Tomes also said that they would honor the greenbelt that is to the west of the collision center and not build anything there.

Ultimately, the council chose not to take action on the item and tabled it until the Jan. 21 city council meeting. Mayor Brian Loughmiller led the charge on tabling the item, saying that he wants to set up a meeting with the concerned residents and with Tomes to hear their concerns and to try to reach a compromise.

He asked the residents who attended the meeting and any others who want to share their concerns to reach out to either the city secretary or the city manager so they could get the meeting scheduled. Loughmiller said he will attend the meeting and other members of council may join him as well.

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