The Town Board is expected tonight to approve a change to the Town’s zoning code to allow for additional car dealerships to compete along Central Avenue in Edgemont — but the measure’s poor wording has the Edgemont Community Council concerned that instead of welcoming new car dealers, which would be a good tax ratable to have, it will instead allow used car dealers to move in.

The proposed change was introduced at the ECC’s request last year when the Town Board approved a law limiting new car dealerships along Central Avenue to the three existing car dealers there today — Curry Acura, Curry Chevrolet, and Scarsdale Ford.  Because the new law was introduced at the joint request of the three existing car dealers, Edgemont leaders warned that the Town was exposing its residents to potential antitrust liability.

The Town Board, in response, is expected to allow additional car dealers to move in, but the measure states, “The outdoor storage of motor vehicles is limited to new motor vehicles for sale on the premises and used motor vehicles acquired as trade-ins or purchases.”

“As currently worded, the measure is not limited to car dealers selling new motor vehicles for sale on the premises,” said ECC president Bob Bernstein. “It can also allow for new dealerships to open even if they only sell used used motor vehicles which they can purchase wholesale at used car auctions.”

Mr. Bernstein said that the Town Board was told at the last public hearing that the ECC did not want to see used car dealers opening up on Central Avenue and that all the Town Board had to do was fix the wording by adding the words “used motor vehicles acquired as trade-ins or purchases ‘in connection with the of sale of new motor vehicles.'”

Mr. Bernstein warned that unless the change in language was made, large used car dealers such as CarMax which was supposedly considering a move to Central Avenue, would be welcomed by the change in the zoning code.

Planning Commissioner Garrett Duquesne said he would look into changing the language but did not do so — and the Town Board itself made no changes.  As a result, the measure on for decision tonight contains the same ambiguous wording that invites “used car dealers.”

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