NEW PORT RICHEY — Over the objections of two neighbors, commissioners on Tuesday gave their blessing for auto auctions at the old Sun Toyota car lot on U.S. 19 in Holiday.
Sun Toyota plans to lease the property to Your Auction Inc. of St. Petersburg. The auctions would be held inside a building that for more than two decades served as a used car operation.
Two residents on nearby Westwood Drive complained that the auctions would bring back noisy public address systems and parking headaches around their front yards. Sun Toyota previously held auctions at the site but outside the building.
"Sun Toyota has typically been the worst neighbor possible during their tenure there," said Mike Mahoney, who lives across the street from the site. "It's traditionally been very loud."
Neighbor Naji Fsaisi added that past auctions have brought customers who tried to park in his front yard.
"This land does not have enough space for loading and unloading the cars and also to have parking for the clients," he said.
The County Commission drafted a proposal limiting the auctions to calm those concerns. The site would be limited to two auctions per week. Auctions could only be held before 7 p.m. on weekdays, and car unloading would have to end before 9 p.m.
The agreement also limits auctions to three hours and requires auctioneers to close the building's doors to contain the sound.
"It's a very low-impact use compared to what's been there historically," said Clarke Hobby, a lawyer representing the auction company.
Hobby added that many cars for the auction would simply come from the new Sun Toyota dealership next door, reducing the need for large trailers to drop off cars.
"I am sympathetic to the neighbors out there, but I really truly believe this is a net benefit to them," Commissioner Ted Schrader said.
The lone vote against granting the conditional use permit for the auctions came from Commissioner Jack Mariano, who as a former car salesman said he understood that car auctions can annoy neighbors. He wanted the decision postponed to allow the company more time to address the neighbors' concerns.
"I don't think it's good for the residents," he said.
Lee Logan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236.