A Madison Heights used car dealership has received support from the Amherst County Planning Commission to expand its business by licensing an auto repair garage.
The commission voted unanimously on May 19 to approve a special exception request for Motor World to operate the garage on the property just off the intersection of US 29 Business and Dillard Road.
Joshua Huffines, the owner, recently reclassified the site, added lighting, paved the ground and closed an entrance on Dillard Road, according to the county.
Russell Nixon, an agent for Motor World, said Huffines had spent almost $1 million to reclassify the site, improve the building and make it a more attractive property.
“He really does a lot to help Madison Heights become a more beautiful place,” Nixon said. “I think what he has done for this building is remarkable.”
Nixon said the special exception is necessary so the Huffines can perform inspections in the garage and not have to take the vehicles elsewhere for service. Huffines wrote in an app that he hopes the repair shop will bring more business to Madison Heights.
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The site will feature landscaping along US 29 Business and Dillard Road as well as internal landscaping, according to county documents. The repair shop will take place in the rear building.
The members of the Commission congratulated Huffines for the work carried out on the site.
“I’m struck by the difference in appearance,” Commissioner Leslie Gamble said.
Commissioner Michael Martineau said Huffines had “skin in the game” as a local business owner.
“It’s a positive thing for Amherst,” Martineau said of the expansion plan.
The commission also recommended a special exception request for the short-term rental of a historic home in an agricultural neighborhood at 196 Athlone Lane in Amherst. The 31-acre property known as Athlone Farm has over 200 years of history and, along with the main dwelling, comprises seven preserved 19th-century domestic and agricultural buildings, according to county records.
Celia Liebl said her grandparents lived in the property, she had a lot of connection and love for it, and was thrilled with its use as an Airbnb.
Martineau says he is familiar with the site and supports the intended use. “I can’t imagine a site that would be a better fit for what they offer,” Martineau said.
The two special exception requests are expected to be submitted to the Amherst County Board of Supervisors in June.