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City loses fight to block Eagle Drive auto repair business
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The vacant building used to be the home of Goodyear and Aamco. (Jackie Gutknecht | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. – Covington’s fight to stop a tire store and auto repair business from moving into a closed Goodyear Tire location on Eagle Drive ended Monday night when the city council authorized city attorney Frank Turner to sign a consent order requiring the city to issue the appropriate business licenses for the property.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston said the city did all it could to stop the business.

“We went through every process we could and we lost,” he said.

The owner of the property, Jenkins Family Realty, had gone to court to appeal last spring’s denial by the city of a special use permit for the property that would have allowed for the operation of an automotive repair and maintenance facility of the property.

According to the consent order issued by Judge Horace Johnson, a special use permit for the property is not necessary for the business to operate.

From the order, “’Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores’ is a permitted use in the CM (corridor mixed use) district and does not require the issuance of a special use permit. The applicable definition pursuant to the City of Covington’s zoning code of an Automotive Parts and Accessory Store includes establishments that are primarily engaged in both retailing automotive parts and accessories and repairing automobiles.”

 The order instructs Covington to “grant all permits and/or licenses necessary to operate an automotive parts and accessory store” upon the payment of fees.

“Our understanding is that the property will be used as a tire store also performing repairs.  Conditions that were placed on the property back in 2007 will continue to be in force and effect,” Turner said in an email to the city.

He said those conditions include limits on the hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Citing concerns about noise and traffic, residents of a neighboring 55 and older community had opposed an automotive business moving onto the property. 

The building has been vacant since 2012. The city had previously denied two other special use permits for the property.

“This will end the litigation which could have resulted in the City having to grant a SUP for an Automotive Repair and Maintenance Facility on the property,” Turner said in his email.