Town unsure if it should allow retail car sales on property

Supervisors divided over owner’s request for change
Ozaukee Press staff

After about an hour of discussion and a tie vote among supervisors, the Fredonia Town Board decided to table whether to schedule a public hearing on whether to allow a resident to sell used cars on his property.

Since 2014, Rick Young has been selling cars wholesale to retail dealers from his property at N6575 Clover Valley Rd., which is zoned for agricultural uses, under a conditional use permit granted by the town.

Young said he buys three to five vehicles per month in need of repair, fixes them on his property inside a barn and sells them.

About a year ago, he wanted to start selling cars retail “and cut out the middle man,” Young told town officials.

At that time, he applied for a retail license from the state that would allow him to sell cars retail. As a condition of that permit, he needed to be commercially zoned, which he was under the conditional-use permit, Town Clerk Bob Eichner told him. 

Armed with the state license, Young began selling cars on a retail basis.

“What I failed to confirm was that Young’s CUP did not allow for retail sales, only wholesale,” Eichner wrote in a letter to the town Plan Commission.

An anonymous letter sent to town Chairman Lance Leider in April alerted officials that Young was selling cars retail from his property.

Young was asked to attend a Town Board meeting in May “to discuss your current operation and determine if the operation still is in conformance with your CUP,” a letter from Eichner to Young stated.

Young said that even though he is selling cars on a retail basis, nothing has really changed from his previous operation.

“Nothing is going to change from what it is now,” he said.

A letter from Town Attorney Edward Ritger advised against approving Young’s request.

“It would not be legal for the Town Board to authorize or for you to issue the amended conditional-use permit,” Ritger wrote in a Sept. 4 letter to Eichner.

Ritger pointed out in his letter that there are only 12 conditional uses permitted and that all “have an agricultural component, none of which is close to the use described” in Young’s proposal.

“My concern is that if the ordinance is not followed at this time, enforceability of the zoning ordinance in the future would be jeopardized,” Ritger wrote.

But the fact that Young has been conducting retail sales for a year led some town officials to look at his proposal more favorably.

“The horse is kind of out of the barn,” Supr. Chris Janik said. “But I don’t think the conditions can be relaxed at all.” 

Those conditions include leaving no cars outside or servicing them after they are sold, and that the permit would not stay with the land if Young were to sell it or move away.

The commission voted to recommend that the Town Board schedule a public hearing on the zoning change to allow retail sales. 

The board could also decide to not accept the recommendation, which would mean Young could not operate as a retail seller.

The tie vote resulted when Ritger advised that Supr. Jim Stemper recuse himself due to Young’s attorney claiming Stemper was biased against Young.

Stemper operates D&D Auto in Little Kohler.

The Town Board is expected to take up the matter again when it meets Oct. 9.

“They want more time to think about it,” Leider said of the supervisors.



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