3.2.12 Passenger Vehicle Sales District (VS)

Intent: The Passenger Vehicle Sales District is established to provide large accommodations for the sale of new and used passenger vehicles and trucks not exceeding the size, weight, and configuration of the medium duty truck standard. It is intended for use in areas not amenable to easy pedestrian access, where a comfortable pedestrian environment is unlikely to be achieved. It is expected that the Passenger Vehicle Sales District will serve the passenger and small business vehicle needs of those in the Huntersville Community and in the larger region. Because of the scale of buildings and parking, and the access requirements of uses in this category, they cannot be compatibly integrated within the Town Center, Neighborhood Center, or smaller scale Highway Commercial Districts. At district boundaries, compatible transitions must be provided by the use of landscaping and/or walls. Property boundaries adjacent to freeways or expressways will require a 50-foot foliated buffer yard and frontages on major or minor arterials will require formal street tree planting.

a) Permitted Uses

Uses Permitted with Conditions

  • essential services 1, (9.14)
  • sales and leasing of vehicles not exceeding the industry standard for "medium duty trucks," (9.25)13
  • sales and leasing of boats and boat accessories (9.25)
  • transit shelters, (9.39)

13Expressly prohibited is the sale or lease of campers, motor homes, trailers and similar vehicles.

Uses permitted with Special Use Permit

  • wind energy facility, minor (accessory) (9.53)

b) Permitted Building Types

  • highway commercial; up to - 65,000 sq.ft. of first floor area on major thoroughfare; up to 15,000 sq.ft.  of first floor area on minor thoroughfare.14

14Maximum first floor area for highway commercial buildings may be exceeded only where massing of building is varied to reduce perceived scale and volume.

c) Permitted Accessory Uses

  • car wash
  • boat wash
  • service, cleaning, mechanical repair and body repair in association with vehicle sales/leasing, including drive-in vehicle drop off facilities in compliance with Section 3.2.10 d), item 4 (9.25)
  • solar energy facility, minor residential; located in the established rear or side yards or roof slopes or façade. (9.54)
  • solar energy facility, non-residential; located in the established rear or side yards or roof slopes, (9.54)
  • warehousing accessory to merchandising and repair, within an enclosed building
  • accessory uses permitted in all districts, (8.11)

d) General requirements and district options

1) Along existing streets, new buildings shall respect the street frontage relationships of existing buildings in terms of building setback and orientation. On new streets, allowable building and lot types will establish the development pattern.

2) Where screening is required by Article 9 for activities involving any sale, use, repair, storage, or cleaning operation, the specified standard of Section 7.6 shall apply.

3) Any Vehicle Sales District shall be bordered on at least one side by a major or minor thoroughfare.

4) Drive-in service windows and service processing, stacking and circulation lanes, and circulation are prohibited in the established front setback of the principal building and prohibited within a 75 foot setback from the right-of-way in a principal building's side yard that abuts a major or minor thoroughfare. On-site stacking lanes for drive-in service windows shall be a minimum of 200 feet in length if accessed directly from a thoroughfare or minimum of 100 feet if accessed directly from a street of lesser capacity.

5) In the VS Zoning District only, the buffer requirement of Section 7.5 (yards abutting I-77 right-of-way) shall be met.

6) All other signs on the site and building shall conform to the standards of Article 10, Signs, including, but not limited to the prohibition of flashing signs, portable signs and fluttering signs such as pennants and pennant swags. Non-conforming signs, if present anywhere on the site, shall be removed prior to issuance of a change of use permit, issuance of grading permit, or commencement of new construction on the site.

7) Vehicles or boats for sale or lease shall not be displayed in the established front yard of the principal building on the site.

8) In the Vehicle Sales district only, the established front yard shall be designed in accordance with the Highway Commercial Building / Lot Type found in Article 4 or a) or b) below:

(a) Vehicles for sale or lease may be displayed in the established front yard in front of the principal building in the VS district only. Such areas shall be permitted on sites where the principal building consumes at least 35% of the frontage. The Highway Commercial Building Type build to line (15’), measured to the face of the canopy (if applicable), shall be increased by no more than 10’ to accommodate one row of vehicle display. An established front yard used for display of vehicle sales or leasing must be constructed of a decorative paving material (if impervious), and must be screened in accordance with 10) of this section.

(b) Notwithstanding the limitations of off-street parking in front of buildings, as described by building type and parking lot specifications, vested parking and maneuvering areas in the established front yard may be constructed in accordance with an NCDOT driveway permit.

9) Outdoor storage of vehicles in process of repair and vehicles-for-sale that are in the process of dealer preparation for buyer pick up is permitted.

(a) Such storage areas are exempt from the interior landscaping requirements for Parking Lots found in Article 6. However, the perimeter landscaping requirements of Article 6 shall apply to such storage areas.

(b) Such storage areas may only be located behind the principle building and/or its accessory buildings, and shall not be placed within 100 feet of any property line that abuts a thoroughfare or local public street.

10) In the Vehicle Sales district only, the landscaping requirements of Article 6 shall be applied as follows:

(a) Vehicle display areas shall be exempt from the interior landscaping requirements for Parking Lots found in Article 6. However, a large maturing tree shall be planted within a 200 square foot pervious area that is permanently protected from parking and maneuvering areas with all vehicles on display being located within 40’ of such pervious area.

(b) Along the frontage, a vehicle display area is exempt from the large maturing tree 40’ on center requirement found in Landscaping of Parking Lots in Article 6.

11) Uses in the VS District are exempt from the Article 6 suggestion to provide for bicycle parking.

12) The arrangement of principal buildings on a single lot shall establish building facades generally parallel to the frontage property lines along existing streets and proposed interior streets.

13) Every building lot shall have frontage upon a public street or urban open space except as follows: in specific locations where factors beyond developer control, such as a limited access highway, an existing development, or the location of an existing intersection, prohibit completing a street connection in the Highway Commercial District, a private drive may be substituted for the interior street which cannot be connected to the public network.

14) Adjoining businesses shall provide for interconnectivity by way of internal street(s) or, if permitted, private drives; internal street(s) shall remain open at all times while private drive connections shall, at a minimum, remain open for public passage during business hours.

15) Businesses in the VS district are prohibited from using amplified speaker/public address systems except within fully enclosed building(s).

16) Lighting in customer parking areas shall comply with Article 6, OFF-STREET PARKING (Lighting for Parking Lots).

17) Lighting in vehicle display parking areas and storage areas may comply with the standards of Article 6 (Lighting for Parking Lots) or with all of the alternative lighting standards below:

(a) Including the base/mounting fixture the maximum height for lighting (pole mounted and wall mounted) shall be 30 feet.

(b) To prevent glare from off-site locations, all lighting fixtures shall be full cut-off. The use of drop lens, vertical burn lamps, and other equipment with similar glare producing effects are prohibited. Lighting shields or hoods shall be employed to result in lighting projection of display areas only.

(c) Floodlights are not permitted for parking lot illumination. In all applications, lighting shall be directed downward. This prohibition does not apply to floodlights allowed elsewhere in this ordinance for external illumination of permitted signs.

(d) Along the front line of the display area, lighting shall not exceed an average of 30 foot-candles, measured at grade.

(e) Uniformity shall not exceed a 3:1 ratio.

(f) All lights, except those required for security as provided herein, must be extinguished at 9 p.m. on all days. For reasons of security, a maximum of 1.5 foot-candles at entrances, stairways and loading docks, and 1.0 foot-candle on the rest of the site is permitted.

(g) The spillover light level from lighting on the site onto adjacent property or property across a public road shall not exceed 0.1 foot-candle measured 10’ into the adjacent property from any orientation of the measuring device.

(h) The average illumination, measured at grade, across the entire property, including the frontage, shall not exceed 30-foot candles. The site area for calculating the average illumination shall exclude the building(s).

(i) Lighting fixtures that produce glare visible from adjacent property(s) and public right of way(s) are prohibited.

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