Randy Jeffers, manager of Jeff’s Auto Sales in Denison, Texas, has been working out of a temporary office since a tree crashed onto their building and destroyed it in a summer storm.
But due to changes in the city’s zoning rules, the business can’t rebuild without first getting the city’s OK.
Jeffers said the storm on July 9 did significant damage across the city of Denison, and “came out of nowhere.”
“The radio kept saying it was going to be 100 degrees and sunny all day,” he said. “There were bad straight-line winds – it was just a really bad storm.”
Three people were in the office when the tree landed on the building, but no one was injured.
“We were all standing pretty close to the door,” Jeffers said.
Jeff’s Auto Sales has been in business at 1316 S. Armstrong in Denison since 1978, and typically keeps between 60 and 90 vehicles in its inventory.
After the storm, Jeffers said they rented a mobile office like the ones used on construction sites, and installed computers and phones. Insurance covered the damage, he said, and they are getting ready to put up a 1,200-square-foot building to replace the old one.
But first, the business needs to get permission from Denison’s zoning office.
Since 2009, the city has been requiring auto dealers to get a conditional use permit to operate in a commercial district. The business had previously been grandfathered into compliance, but since they’re putting up a new building, the property will have to conform to current zoning standards.
Also, a portion of the lot had to be rezoned from two-family residential to commercial use. The business now will need to put up a screening fence on two sides of the property that face a residential area.
Jeffers’ application still must go before the City Council for final approval, but the permits were unanimously approved at the Planning and Zoning Commission, where members said the new building would be an improvement over the old one.
“It’s just a formality,” Jeffers said. “We’ve been here since 1978, so they don’t want us going anywhere.”