McHenry City Council OKs grass displays for dealerships

McHENRY – Dealerships now will be able to display vehicles on the grass in McHenry.

The McHenry City Council unanimously approved the ordinance change as well as a change to its garage sale ordinance at its meeting this week.

The ordinance sets detailed regulations aimed at keeping the properties in good condition, addressing the main concern that some aldermen originally had, City Administrator Derik Morefield said.

Alderman Victor Santi abstained because of business relationships, he said. The other six aldermen voted "yes."

The changes would affect only Gary Lang Auto Group and Buss Ford out of the city's eight car dealerships, because they have large grass setbacks.

The ordinance allows one vehicle per 100 feet of property frontage, which means Gary Lang now can display 11 vehicles and Buss Ford is allowed to display seven vehicles along Front Street and six along Dartmoor Drive, according to council documents.

It also stipulates that the grass beneath the vehicles has to be maintained and the vehicles cannot be displayed on the grass over the winter. Ramps are not allowed on the grass.

The vehicles also cannot 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.

Gary Lang, who has owned the Gary Lang Auto Group for 30 years, had approached the city seeking the change.

The McHenry City Council also unanimously approved a change to its garage sale ordinance, limiting the number of items residents can sell from their homes without getting a garage sale permit to three items. They also can sell only one of each type of item.

Previously residents could sell up to five items, but some residents were using the provision to continually sell items from their homes, according to council documents.

The staff analysis pointed to one situation where a resident apparently was buying vehicles from auctions and reselling them from a home.

The ordinance is mainly designed to address items on display, not direct-sales businesses such as Mary Kay, Morefield said.

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