Used-Car Lot: How Local Government Should Work

It took longer than Larry Spacciapolli wanted, but he will get a used car lot on one of the most heavily traveled roads in southern Chautauqua County.

With so little of that prime space available, of course the Lakewood Village Board would carefully consider its options when a developer finally came forward for the former Carnahan lot on Fairmount and Fairdale avenues. Then, Lakewood residents asked very pointed questions throughout discussions of a special use permit for the proposed car lot, prompting board members initially to deny Spacciapolli’s permit. When James Dillon, Eighth Judicial District Court judge, ruled the board’s action was inappropriate because there was insufficient evidence the car lot violated the village’s zoning laws, board members did the next best thing – work with Spacciapolli to bring his business into the village while addressing the concerns of village residents.

In the end, both sides met in the middle. Lakewood will reap the benefits of new development and the additional tax base it brings. Lakewood residents will have their safety and aesthetic concerns met. Larry Spacciapolli gets a prime location on which to sell cars.

It is a textbook example of how local government should work.