The Union Planning and Zoning Commission supported a proposal to allow Schicker Ford to keep its mobile sales trailer for another three years.
The extension would be the longest granted for the dealership.
City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said Schicker Ford came to the city in 2014 seeking a permit for a temporary sales structure on their lot at the intersection of south Highway 47 and Highway 50. The request was granted and a mobile trailer was placed along Highway 50.
Zimmermann said the original plan called for the mobile unit to be allowed for one year with the maximum of a one-year extension.
After the two years, he said Schicker Ford sought a two-year extension. The city agreed to that extension, but that is due to expire soon.
The dealership asked the planning and zoning commission at its November meeting for another, longer extension.
Schicker Ford representative Dan Helmsing told the plan board the dealership wants to keep the mobile sales office because it can’t move forward with any construction projects.
Helmsing said the dealership’s owner, Bill Schicker, died in January. The family is trying to settle the estate, but has been told it could take between 36 and 48 months.
During that time, Helmsing said no one is authorized to sign a construction loan. He said the dealership is in good shape and still able to operate on daily basis, but long-range projects have been put on hold until the estate is settled.
Helmsing told the plan board the mobile sales office was opened as a sort of test. After Highway 50 was widened to add additional lanes, the dealership was granted an entrance off Highway 50.
With its sales office up higher on the property, Helmsing said customers would enter off Highway 50 and go unnoticed. The dealership started staffing people down the hill, but he said a lot of fossil fuel was wasted in the summers and winters while the sales staff sought refuge from the elements in cars.
The solution was to open a second office. The mobile office was open and Helmsing said sales increased. He said the dealership tried shutting it down at one point and saw a negative impact. Helmsing said losing it would be “detrimental” the dealership.
The plan was to build a permanent structure after the mobile permit first expired. Helmsing said the dealership had to change course and make a series of safety and technology upgrades to the facility.
Plans were being made again before Bill Schicker’s death. Helmsing said once the estate is settled, the dealership intends to move forward with plans for a new permanent facility.
The plan board backed the idea of an extension. Board member Richard Purschke said the current mobile unit “hasn’t been an eyesore.” He said as long as its maintained, he didn’t see a problem with the extension.
The board unanimously voted to approve the extension. The board’s recommendation will be passed along to the board of aldermen who will have the final say.