McHENRY – The distance between the drivers heading down Route 31 and the cars on display at Gary Lang Auto Group has been a disadvantage to the dealership for years, its owner said.
That’s why Gary Lang asked the city for permission to park some cars on the grass, closer to the road.
The McHenry City Council will vote on an ordinance authorizing the change at its meeting Monday evening.
The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the ordinance in mid-August in a 5-2 vote, and a vote to reject it failed 3-4.
Commissioner Bill Buhrman originally had voted against the plan, raising concerns about whether the vehicles would detract from the look of the property, but ultimately voted in favor of it, according to meeting minutes.
Eight car dealerships and one motorcycle dealership are in the city limits, according to council documents. The changes would affect only Gary Lang Auto Group and Buss Ford because they have large grass setbacks.
The proposed ordinance would allow one vehicle per 100 feet of property frontage, which means Gary Lang could display 11 vehicles and Buss Ford would be allowed to display seven vehicles along Front Street and six along Dartmoor Drive, according to council documents.
The proposal also stipulates that the grass beneath the vehicles would have to be maintained and the vehicles cannot be displayed on the grass over the winter. Ramps would not be allowed on the grass.
The vehicles also could not create any line-of-sight problems, their lights must remain off, their hoods and doors must be closed, and they must be evenly spaced across the full property frontage, according to council documents.
“The cars are clean,” Lang said. “The cars are displayed in a tasteful matter. From an aesthetics standpoint, it should look as good or better than any other display.”
While Alderwoman Geri Condon originally had doubts about the proposal, she said she’s had a change of heart.
“I do think Gary Lang has been put to a disadvantage by previous council,” she said, “in a community where we do need to watch out for every business, yes, in terms of taxes, but also in terms of community service.”
Condon added, though, that she never decides for sure how she’ll vote until she’s heard everyone’s thoughts at the meeting.
If you go
The McHenry City Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers of City Hall, 333 S. Green St.