Schicker Ford is asking the city of Union for an extension so it can continue operating a mobile sales trailer.
The city’s parks, buildings, development and public services committee heard the request at its meeting Monday night. While the committee didn’t take a stance on the issue, it told Schicker Ford representative Dan Helmsing his request could move forward and be placed on a future planning and zoning commission meeting agenda.
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.
Helmsing said the extension is needed because the dealership can’t move forward with construction right now. He said the dealership’s owner, Bill Schicker, died in January. The family is moving forward and trying to settle the estate, but has been told it will take time.
While the estate is being settled, Helmsing said the company is limited on what it can do. He said the estate settlement is expected to take 36-48 months.
Helmsing said the mobile sales office was opened as a sort of test. The dealership wanted to know if sales would be impacted by opening an office with direct access to Highway 50. He said once it was open, sales increased.
The dealership tried shutting it down at one point and saw a negative impact. Helmsing said losing it would be “detrimental” the dealership.
“That facility is important to us,” he said.
Helmsing told the committee the dealership began looking at building a permanent structure a few years ago, but had to allocate money to make safety and technology upgrades first. He said that is what prompted the first extension.
With the extension set to wind down, he said plans were being made again before Bill Schicker’s death. That forced the dealership to pause all plans.
“No one is in a legal position to sign off for a construction loan,” he said.
Helmsing asked the city for help. He said the dealership’s situation is similar to a person in a burning house asking to borrow their neighbors hose.
Zimmermann said the last time the request went through the city’s planning and zoning committee. The committee looked at the request, made a recommendation and then aldermen had final approval.
The city’s parks, buildings, development and public services committee agreed that is likely the right path to take on this request. The committee told Helmsing to meet with city staff to have the request placed on a future planning and zoning agenda.
Zimmermann said the first opening would likely be the November meeting.
Helmsing thanked the committee for its support. He said he’s happy to move the request forward and will attend the planning and zoning meeting.