By Ariana Wilson | [email protected]
During its Oct. 15 public hearing, City Council approved three special use permits to extend Alexandria Hyundai’s operation to 2045. The permits, which council will look at again in 2040 for a storage parking lot, are necessary as the dealership converts to electric vehicles.
Kevin Reilly, the owner of the Alexandria Hyundai dealership, is a prominent figure in the Del Ray community. He has run the dealership on Mount Vernon Avenue for more than 20 years.
“For me, Alexandria Hyundai is not about selling and servicing cars. That is certainly what we do each day but it’s the opportunity to connect with people in the community,” Reilly said.
Previously, the Planning Commission approved two of Alexandria Hyundai’s three SUP requests, denying the SUP to extend the life of the lot.
Reilly’s attorney, Cathy Puskar said at the public hearing that Reilly “has the confidence of the property owners and from their perspective this is the right use, in the right place, at the right time for the next foreseeable future.”
During discussion, Councilor Kirk McPike asked Reilly to clarify the Hyundai parking lot usage.
“The 1605 lot is integral to my business and the sales and service vehicles that move in and out of there. I need [that lot] to service my customers,” Reilly said.
City Council also discussed the dealership development progress timeline and an approximate date for the implementation of electric vehicle chargers throughout Del Ray and Alexandria, as these are major areas of growth outlined in the Alexandria Hyundai SUP.
Electric vehicles are a large part of the plan in the redevelopment of Alexandria Hyundai. Reilly said there will be four publicly accessible electric vehicle chargers on the 1605 lot in front of Alexandria Hyundai.
Reilly is the Chair of Hyundai Motor America’s National Dealer Council which represents all 830 Hyundai dealers and gives him the opportunity to develop relationships between different regions and communicate strategies for growth with other dealerships.
During public comment, seven speakers expressed either support or opposition to the SUPs. Some areas of concern included light pollution at night due to high traffic volumes, speeding vehicles on Mount Vernon Avenue and the potential for Alexandria Hyundai to be replaced by the opposite of the current ownership, which could be someone that is not involved in the community and doesn’t support outreach or events.
John Murton, a Del Ray resident, questioned the car dealership’s effect on the neighborhood.
“We are constantly affected by the noise of the car alarms. Putting electric vehicle chargers there will increase dramatically the amount of vehicle traffic in and around our neighborhood and our street,” Murton said. “The lighting, it feels like we live in an industrial zone because of the dramatic amount of lighting that is spread upon our neighborhood from the lights on the lot.”
Councilor John Chapman suggested a 2032 “re-docketing,” or a proposal to revisit the SUP in the coming years; City Council debated revisiting the SUP in 2032 or the original proposal date of 2045.
Vice Mayor Amy Jackson moved to approve of the SUP, subject to amendments circulated by the applicant. A main concern and cause for hesitation from council to approve the permits was the inability to repurpose the real estate that Alexandria Hyundai resides on within the next 20 years if a business with greater financial or community benefit was to come along.
Ultimately, after reviewing the amendments and addressing community and resident concerns, council shifted the suggested motion to revisit the SUP in 2040. This plan allows the city to address the suitability of the permit and whether Alexandria Hyundai should be renewed until the original projection year 2045 or terminate the SUP.