DENISE WATSON BATTS
The dealership has parked vehicles at an underused garage for years, but a zoning request opens the door for changing that.
OAKFORD PARK - The Oakford Park Neighborhood Association wants to stop a car dealer from parking his excess stock at a garage in their community.
Carl Lindell Jr., who owns Lindell Motors on Kennedy Boulevard, has parked up to 150 of his vehicles on the top floor of the Tampa Commons garage for the past seven years. He learned recently, he said, that the garage was not zoned for storing cars and the property manager, Charles Grimm, has applied to rezone the complex. Grimm referred all calls to Lindell.
Kathy Good Jenkins, president of the neighborhood association, said residents have known about the parking and when the association learned of the rezoning application, it jumped at the opportunity to have a voice.
She says it brings unnecessary traffic to a neighborhood already burdened with cars. Oakford Park is immediately north of Kennedy, between Dale Mabry Highway and MacDill Avenue. Tampa Commons sits on the northeast corner of Dale Mabry and Kennedy.
The group plans to attend the Nov. 13 City Council hearing for the rezoning and is circulating a petition. It has more than 50 signatures so far.
"We see this as our chance to stop it," Jenkins said.
Lindell said he's tried to prevent any neighborhood disruption, having the cars driven to and from the garage during nonpeak hours. The rezoning doesn't call for an increase in traffic or any changes to the garage. Lindell said Tampa Commons was built for businesses that never materialized so it has space to spare. Just blocks from his business, it offered the perfect solution for him and a way for Tampa Commons to fill parking spaces.
"No one wants to waste good parking space," Lindell said. "If we didn't do this, it would be terrible for us. We don't have a place to put this inventory."
Jenkins and other residents say they want to keep a friendly relationship with Tampa Commons and Lindell but must speak up. The association is about 3 years old and has spent much of that time lobbying the city for street improvements. The city is now doing an extensive survey of Oakford Park's traffic problems and has already posted 25 mph signs throughout to slow traffic.
The association is looking for other enhancements such as more sidewalks, no-truck signs and speed tables to increase the safety of residents who no longer feel comfortable walking through the community's streets.
"If there's a chance to now change the situation and improve our community," Jenkins said, "we're going to take it."