WATERLOO — A city zoning panel endorsed a new vehicle salvage yard in the Broadway Street corridor.
Members of the Waterloo Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission voted 5-2 Tuesday to recommend approval for Can-Am Towing and Automotive to operate the salvage yard near the intersection of Broadway and Grandview Avenue.
A majority of the commission members supported the special permit despite a petition of opposition from nearby homeowners.
The city’s Board of Adjustment is expected to render a final decision on the permit Jan. 23. The business also needs two exceptions to the zoning ordinance because it’s just under the 5-acre minimum size requirement and also sits within 600 feet of homes.
John Dornoff, of the planning office, said staff supported the request because the property was surrounded on the north by other auto salvage operations while the Canadian National Railway and Broadway Street served as a buffer to homes within the 600-foot radius to the south.
Business owner Craig Lindsay said he’s been trying to get a salvage permit for the former Pauline Co. site since he bought it four years ago. He vowed to meet all of the city zoning requirements including a solid fence and landscaping.
“I’m here in hopes of getting a permit so I can fence it off correctly, make it look good for the neighborhood,” Lindsay said. “It’s pretty much the same use as everything else around there.”
Ward 3 Councilman Pat Morrissey led the opposition to the special permit, and presented signatures he gathered in opposition from owners of half the 35 homes within the 600-foot area.
“I’m here to tell you having walked around that neighborhood … there was not one person that was in favor of another salvage yard in their neighborhood,” Morrissey said.
“As the councilperson for Ward 3, I do not want another salvage yard in Ward 3,” he added. “We have 18 or 19 salvage yards already in the city of Waterloo. When is enough enough?”
Several commission members questioned why residents who signed Morrissey’s petition failed to attend the meeting Tuesday.
Larry Westendorf was the only property owner near the yard to speak against it. He also complained city code enforcement officials had allowed Can-Am to park more than 300 cars on the unfenced lot already without having proper permits.
The city has issued a citation for those vehicles that has yet to be addressed in court.
Commission members Craig Holdiman, Matt Miehe, Jamie Castle, Virginia Wilber and Sue Flynn supported the special permit, while Eric Donat and Marcia Buttgen voted against it.