With its business license secured, the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional use permit for Tork Ltd.

The permit, approved at Tuesday’s meeting, will allow a small inventory car sales lot at 1114 N. Service Road near Union.

Tuesday’s approval comes more than a month after the commission was unsure if Tork could actually have a conditional use permit. Prior to the April meeting, it was discovered that Tork Ltd. was not a registered business with the state of Missouri.

Planning Director Scottie Eagan told the commission a permit could not be issued to a business that doesn’t exist.

The request was tabled at the April meeting and Tork was given until Tuesday’s meeting to provide registration.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Tork produced a proper license and the permit request was back on the agenda.

Limited Cars

With the business registration issue settled, the commission had several conditions of the permit request to discuss. The first was just how many cars could be on the lot.

Wary of the lot turning into a junkyard with dozens of non-working cars, the commission sought to limit the number of vehicles up for sale or put a condition in saying the vehicles had to be in some sort of working order.

A condition on the vehicles turned out to be problematic. Making sure all cars had proper registration was discussed, but all cars have some registration, even if they don’t work.

Checking for licensing would be an issue, too, since cars up for sale typically don’t have plates.

County Counselor Mark Vincent advised against a condition that would say cars for sale had to be in working order. He said it would be legally questionable.

“You’d have some trouble,” Vincent said. “You’re going down a slippery slope. It’s almost like you’re building in a warranty.”

Ultimately the commission decided the best way to keep Tork from turning into a junkyard would be to reduce the number of cars up for sale. After tossing out numbers between 50 and 100, the commission was unsure what the magic number of cars on the lot should be. Commissioner Russell McCreary, however, provided some insight.

McCreary consulted his notes and found in the minutes from March’s meeting Tork had said the lot was only big enough for 20 or 30 cars.

The commission discussed setting a low number and letting Tork apply for more cars at a later date, but were reminded that wouldn’t be possible. The county is in the middle of changing zoning codes and regulations and, because of the changes, the site will no longer be zoned to allow auto sales.

Tork applied for the CUP prior to the zoning changes so it was allowed to request the CUP, but it couldn’t alter the request after the changes go into effect.

With that in mind, the commission decided to limit the cars on the lot to 30.

Up for Sale

The commission also discussed what types of vehicles should be for sale. The permit requested the sale of motor vehicles, however the review committee added a condition to limit sales to cars, trucks and SUVs.

Chairman Bill Evans said the idea behind the condition was to limit the sale of trailers and bigger vehicles like dump trucks.

New Commissioner Bill McLaren, in his first meeting after replacing Tim Baker, thought the condition was too restrictive. He wondered about vans or even motorcycles.

The commission toyed with the idea of potentially adding a weight limit to cars that could be sold. Another suggestion was to just use the definition of motor vehicles and exclude those they didn’t want  — instead of telling Tork what it could sell, the condition would say what would couldn’t be sold.

Commissioner Todd Boland asked what was wrong with Tork having a dump truck.

The rest of the commission agreed. As long a Tork kept its inventory to 30, it didn’t matter if it had a dump truck or another larger vehicle.

With all the issues hashed out, the commission unanimously approved the permit.