A former gas station at the corner of William and Little streets may become an auto repair shop, following approval by the city of Delaware’s planning commission on Wednesday.
The building at 147 E. William St. was constructed in 1964 and sits in front of an Auto Zone automobile parts store. It was last a Shell Oil gas station that closed in 2005. The gas pumps, underground fuel tanks and canopy have been removed, and the building has been vacant for more than 10 years.
During the commission meeting, city zoning administrator Lance Schultz called the 1/3-acre site an eyesore.
The applicants are business partners Dan McCann and Liz Sickinger, who operated a now-closed auto repair shop in Radnor. They want to relocate the business to Delaware, which will be called Garage 26, and may open in April.
“It’s going to be a little more upscale than a typical repair shop,” McCann said. “I don’t like things looking sloppy.”
“Basic light mechanical services will be offered, such as oil changes, tune-ups, and minor mechanical repairs,” the city staff report said of the proposed Garage 26. “No body work, heavy repairs or other services that might generate excessive noise for the surrounding properties will be performed.”
The applicants were seeking a conditional use permit for the property, which is zoned as a community business district. The staff report said an “automotive services facility” was a permitted use. The report recommended approval of the permit, with the condition that no outdoor automotive servicing will be allowed.
The staff report said employee parking will be in the rear of the building; repaired vehicles would be parked on the west side of the site; and customer vehicles awaiting service or pick-up could be parked outside.
Commission member James Halter offered a motion to have the tree lawn re-established and extended from the building front on Little Street to the north property line prior to occupancy, and his motion was approved.
Another condition of the request was that “the entire parking lot shall be repaved, striped, and access points identified within 18 months of approval.” Property owner David Drissi estimated the cost would be $35,000. Drissi was told the property owner is ultimately responsible for having the work done.
There was a concern expressed about the 18-month condition, but commission members agreed to the length of time because they said they are happy to see something on the site, and were willing to compromise for the local entrepreneurs.
The request now goes before City Council at a future meeting.