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New Lavery Porsche plans postponed again

By Grace Lovins

Final site plans, special land use permit approval and a lot combination for the new Lavery Porsche dealership, which would replace the current building located at 34350 Woodward Avenue, were once again postponed by the Birmingham city commission at their meeting on Monday, April 3.

City staff and developers reportedly have yet to reach an agreement on who will be paying for the improvements to Elm Street and Haynes Street, where the dealership is located.

Designs for Fred Lavery’s new dealership were first reviewed by the city planning board in October 2022. The board eventually moved forward with recommended approval to the city commission in February, with most members agreeing they didn’t want to stall plans over the intersection issue that still need to be addressed by multiple parties.

At the February site plan and design review, the planning board was presented with a few options on how the intersection between Haynes Street and Elm Street could be reconfigured based on the dealership designs, including a vehicle exit onto Elm. The multi-modal transportation board proposed a design that would reduce Elm Street to one southbound lane with a new bump-out extending across Elm to Woodward.

Lavery proposed a different idea, where Elm would remain two lanes and a larger bump-out would be added to the proposed service drive so cars could still turn right on to Elm. Board members voted on a motion that requires Lavery to work with city staff when the reconfiguration is finally addressed.

The city will also have to work with MDOT and SMART to ensure the reconfiguration meets all of their requirements.

The new development will require a lot-combination to connect the two land parcels purchased, along with updated plans with specifications of a utility pole placement, lighting and landscaping specifications before coming to the commission.

Plans for the development were originally supposed to be presented to the commission on March 13, but was postponed so the commission could review the lot combination and special land use permit requests during the same meeting. At the commission meeting on Monday, April 3, the requests were again postponed at the request of the applicant.

According to planning director Nick Dupuis, the applicant was hoping for more time before coming to the commission. City manager Tom Markus indicated that the developers seem to have concerns over the city’s expectations that the developer will be required to pay for the changes to the intersection.

“The language of the SLUP is somewhat being discussed and we are taking a pretty consistent position on what that language should be as to who pays for improvements. There is some discussion regarding that and that’s why it’s being continued,” Markus said.

“When we deal with a development that creates an impact on the right-of-way or the improvements of a right-of-way, the expectation is that the development will pay for those changes and the improvements that are necessary,” he later continued.

Commissioners voted 7-0 to table the discussion and will review the plans, lot-combination and special land use permit at a date to be determined.


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