The former Darrell’s Tire & Alignment Service that will become a satellite location for Advance Auto Solutions.
The former Darrell’s Tire & Alignment Service that will become a satellite location for Advance Auto Solutions.
Madison’s Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance to allow a downtown business that has sat unused for about three years to continue operating as an auto repair shop.

The former Darrell’s Tire Alignment and Service, located at 1019 N. Walnut St., had operated as a service station or tire and repair shop since before the city adopted zoning in that area just off US 421 at the city limits.

The shop closed not long after owner Darrell Powell died in 2016 and has sat unused since until Aaron Grubbs and James Davis, owners of Advance Auto Solutions on Madison’s hilltop, negotiated a deal to buy the building and use it as a satellite location to their repair shop on Clifty Drive.

According to Grubbs, having the second location will allow his business to better service customers in the downtown area and the various fleets that he has contracted for maintenance. He said the location probably will not function as a business front but as a dropoff and pickup location for repairs arranged through the primary repair shop on the hilltop.

BZA Chairman Scott Baldwin noted area is zoned medium density residential but the tire shop had been allowed to do business there jokingly “since the founding of the country” because it preceded zoning. He said the building, an historic former service station, is probably only suitable for similar uses.

Grubbs said he appreciates the historic relevance of the structure and hopes to return the building, now painted bright yellow and black, to a more traditional look as it would have appeared closer to when it was built. He said about two to three employees will work at the shop and the parking area will serve them, and no more than four vehicles that have been dropped off for or awaiting pickup after service.

The board approved a one year variance unanimously.

In other business, the BZA finally issued a ruling on a conditional use permit seeking to allow camping on a piece of property on the south side of Vaughn Drive near Ferry Street. The property owner, Susan Smith, had been to the board three times dating back months seeking approval for seasonal camping at the site zone open space.

Smith’s latest application had asked for one camper and one boat with a trailer plus visitors’ vehicles to use the site from June 1 through Oct. 31 with up to two additional campers on five holiday weekends.

The board heard from Smith and two other property owners before recessing for 10 minutes and returning with an amended proposal that will allow Smith to have one camper, one boat and trailer and vehicles at the side on five weekends a year: Labor Day, Memorial Day and the weekends when the Madison Regatta, Ribberfest and Chautauqua are held with additional restrictions on noise, smoke and fires among others.

The amended uses are very similar to what the BZA earlier approved for property owner Mark Chadwell for his three lots on the north side of Vaughn Drive at 502, 504 and 510 East Vaughn Drive. Chadwell has since sold those lots.