NAPLES — A new car dealership at the present site of an amusement center in North Naples continues to move forward.
The Collier County Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a petition by owners of the land that's now home to King Richard's amusement center on Airport-Pulling Road to change the zoning at the 11.6-acre site. The family park would be replaced by a 65,000-square-foot Tamiami Hyundai automobile dealership with related repair services at 6780 Airport-Pulling Road N.
The Collier County Commission has the final say, expected to come in March.
The petition was presented Thursday by Tim Hancock, director of planning at Davidson Engineering Inc., who said the revised plan is better for residents and the applicant.
Before Thursday, the owners met with residents to address concerns raised by planning commissioners and residents.
Some residents of Walden Oaks, adjacent to King Richard's, were concerned about the car wash that would be near their pool area.
During Thursday's meeting, Marguerite Black, 62, expressed her concern about air quality of a car dealership.
"The particles in the air, you cannot see and you cannot smell them, but they are there and all of sudden they build up and you start coughing," said Black, who suffers from asthma and has been a seasonal resident for 22 years at Walden Oaks.
One change to the proposal is that each end of the car wash will have bay doors that remain closed during the entire wash cycle, including drying of the vehicle, Hancock said. The doors will open only for vehicles to enter and exit. He said it's the first of its kind in Collier to his knowledge.
Other revisions included raising a 6-foot privacy wall up to 8 feet and extending it 100 feet beyond the car wash.
Hancock assured residents there will be no gas tanks nor outdoor paging system at the site.
Top Hat Holdings LLC has a contract to buy the property and develop it, subject to the county's approval of rezoning for the property
The earliest the project would be completed is the first quarter of 2014. The dealership would employ 40 to 50 workers.
Hancock said the proposed dealership would generate less traffic than King Richard's.
David Pezzullo, a member of the homeowner association committee established to address the application, said many residents oppose the dealership, while others favor it.
"We want the best outcome for everybody," said Pezzullo, who has lived at Walden Oaks for more than three years. "We are disappointed that the growth management plan contained this new use clause that allows car dealerships to follow an amusement park."