BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON RELIC? — Keith Maretsky sits outside his family’s business, DeBary Family Auto, at 174 S. Charles Richard Beall Blvd. in DeBary. A new law working its way through the channels at DeBary City Hall would prohibit more auto dealerships like this one from locating on the city’s main drag — which is also known as U.S. Highway 17-92.

DeBaryites may soon have few options for a good deal on a car, as the City Council has tentatively approved a ban on car dealerships along its main drag.

Dealerships already on U.S. Highway 17-92 in DeBary will be exempted.

“We’re not trying to run anybody out of town,” Council Member James Pappalardo said.

The ordinance bars new auto-sales businesses in DeBary’s B-4 (General Commercial) and B-5 (Heavy Commercial) zones.

Those zones are prominent along U.S. Highway 17-92, which bisects DeBary and is its main street.

The City Council’s action comes as city officials seek to improve the appearance of the part of DeBary that is most visible to passersby, especially the segment of the highway between Highbanks Road and Dirksen Drive.

“The City has identified, during its previous strategic-planning session, that it would like to revitalize the U.S. 17-92 corridor,” a memorandum reads. “Most of this area is developed with antiquated uses and structures that will likely not conform with the City’s vision for future revitalization.”

If dealerships want to set up shop in DeBary, the council agreed to allow them in the town’s industrial zone, located generally on the south end of Shell Road. The law would apply to used-car dealerships as well as to new-car dealers, even with high-end brands such as Mercedes-Benz or Lexus, that may be of interest to the more affluent residents in DeBary.

The dealerships now doing business are “grandfathered,” meaning they will be allowed to continue operating. However, if for some reason, any one of them ceases to do business for as long as six months, they may not be allowed to reopen. 

The City Council rejected the idea of banning outright such businesses in its main business district, as well as on the properties around the SunRail station, and giving them a deadline to close.

The ordinance, which the City Council unanimously approved on first reading Jan. 5, also applies to sales of boats, motorcycles, mobile homes and recreational vehicles.

The ordinance will need to be approved at a second reading, before becoming law.


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