Councilmember Rhonda Logan spoke against a car lot in the Raleigh Historic District, amplifying the voices of residents who strongly opposed it.

by James Coleman —

Raleigh will have one less used car lot after the Memphis City Council Tuesday (Aug. 3) voted 8-3 to reject a lot intended for Old Austin Peay Highway. 

Two weeks ago, the council foisted the issue on the Land Use Control Board for review, only to reverse course.

“Constituents were very concerned and upset after the last meeting, and they continued to voice their concern with the decision that was made. Therefore, it was pulled and put back on the floor for discussion,” said Councilmember Rhonda Logan, who spoke against the proposed car lot on behalf of residents who strongly opposed it.

Also, the council approved, by an 8-2 vote, a four-month moratorium on used car lots, gas stations, used tire shops or similar operations along the stretch of highway.

The plan is to give planning and development and zoning departments and land use boards an opportunity to study the issue comprehensively. They will also be tasked with finding sustainable solutions to curb the proliferation of similar businesses.

“We want to make certain we can provide time to review it in respect to the Memphis 3.0 plan, so those two can be more aligned,” said Logan.

Memphis 3.0 is a comprehensive plan for the city’s growth and development over the next 20 years. It guides land use, development, transportation among other considerations.

At issue is the protection of a once vibrant major retail thoroughfare, which is in transition, from more intensive, disruptive commercial businesses like the proposed used car dealership. 

A special license is required to operate a dealership.

“It’s the historic district of Raleigh. Some of the oldest landmarks are in Raleigh. That particular area is the old Raleigh town center,” said Logan.

Giving the car lot the thumbs down were council members Frank Colvett, Jamita Swearengen, Worth Morgan, Edmund Ford Sr., Michalyn Easter-Thomas, Chase Carlisle, J. Ford Canale and Logan.

Council members Cheyenne Johnson, Martavius Jones and JB Smiley Jr., rejected the rejection. Jeff Warren and Patrice Robinson were absent for the meeting.

Johnson and Smiley also voted against the moratorium. It was sponsored by Canale, Carlisle, Morgan and Logan.