Two enterprise homeowners on Mauldin’s North Essential Avenue are pushing again on an ordinance handed in April that will drive them to stop their U-Haul rental operations on the finish of subsequent yr.
Each Jeremy Sark, proprietor of Sark’s Automotive, and Yogi Meals Retailer proprietor Jigar Patel mentioned the rule change may damage their means to do enterprise within the metropolis.
The zoning ordinance, which Metropolis Council handed unanimously as half of a bigger overhaul of Mauldin’s land use provisions, prohibits moving-truck leases in any space not zoned S-1, a designation established for transitional areas between business and industrial districts.
That change successfully bans all such companies alongside Mauldin’s North Essential Avenue and East Butler Street. The ordinance features a sundown clause for any already current truck leases not zoned S-1, which signifies they’re required to close down by Dec. 31, 2022.
Patel and Sark’s companies could be the one two impacted by that clause, in line with David Dyrhaug, Mauldin’s director of enterprise and improvement companies.
Mayor Terry Merritt mentioned the zoning change was a response to resident suggestions and is meant to assist beautify the town’s central thoroughfares as Mauldin begins the method of creating a metropolis heart.
Building on the primary section of that mixed-use challenge is about to start early subsequent yr. Officers are hopeful the six-acre improvement will spur funding on one other 18 acres the place it plans to determine a central, downtown space to anchor the rising Upstate metropolis.
“We’ve got a imaginative and prescient for our metropolis heart walkable village,” Merritt mentioned. “As we proceed to develop outward and modernize our metropolis and clear it up, one of many issues that our residents identified is that Essential Avenue regarded cluttered with used automobile tons, and you then’ve acquired U-Hauls and trailers sitting there.”
Sark’s store sits a couple of mile down the street from the 24-acre stretch the place the town plans to construct the town heart.
Patel’s property sits within the coronary heart of that hall, immediately abutting the tract the place the primary section will probably be constructed. A developer who the town had beforehand partnered with to develop the entire 24 acres without delay had spoken to Patel a number of occasions about buying his property earlier than that plan fell via in 2020.
Sark, who has operated his auto store since 2013, mentioned U-Haul leases account for between $40,000 and $50,000 of his annual earnings and shedding that income would nearly actually drive him to layoff at the least one worker. He mentioned he takes exception to the implication that his enterprise would not match with metropolis management’s imaginative and prescient for Mauldin.
“They’re just about saying that our corporations appear like trash,” he mentioned. “To me, it would not have a trash look. I do a very good job of preserving my landscaping and every thing up.”
For Patel the results may very well be extra extreme. U-Haul leases make up near one-third of his yearly commerce, he mentioned. If he had been compelled to discontinue the service, it will put his enterprise in jeopardy.
“It can have a big impact,” he mentioned. “We’re a small enterprise, mom-and-pop. We can not spend $200,000 and construct one thing greater or transform. We depend on this earnings.”
Each mentioned these figures do not account for the income that providing U-Haul leases generates for them not directly. Sark mentioned individuals who hire vans from him usually change into common prospects at his auto store. For Patel, the rental operation attracts enterprise to his comfort retailer.
Neither knew concerning the zoning change till a couple of week in the past, when the town despatched them a letter notifying them that they might now not be allowed to hire out U-Hauls come the tip of 2022.
Sark mentioned he would not perceive why his and Patel’s companies weren’t grandfathered in, given the years they’ve operated within the metropolis. He is contacted an lawyer and mentioned he plans to take authorized motion if the ordinance takes impact as deliberate.
“They cannot simply go in there and alter your online business,” he mentioned.
Patel, who mentioned he’s a longtime supporter of Mauldin’s burgeoning metropolis heart challenge, hopes he can resolve the dispute with the town immediately.
Merritt mentioned whereas he understands Patel and Sark’s issues, the year-and-a-half time period of the sundown clause was put in place to present them time to make different preparations.
Observe Conor Hughes on Twitter at @ConorJHughes.