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Michigan City Ends Used-Car Moratorium

August 21, 2008

WARREN, Mich. — Updating a story first reported by Special Finance on July 1, city officials in Metro Detroit's largest suburb have lifted a moratorium on used-car lots and approved regulations for any new ones that may open, according to the Macomb Daily newspaper.

Warren's city council enacted the ban last year in an attempt to contain the blight that closely-packed lots can produce. Since it was implemented, the city received no less than three requests per week from would-be used-car lot operators, officials said. In response, the moratorium was lifted, but a strict set of restrictions was approved for any new lots:

• Lots must be at least 40,000 square feet and be located at least 750 feet from any similar business.

• No storage or display of cars for sale in the public right-of-way.

• A space measuring at least 17 feet by 8 feet for each vehicle on display.

• No paging or other outdoor audio systems.

• Any sales/business office must be a permanent structure of at least 200 square feet.

The rules would not apply to existing lots. Officials estimate about half of such businesses currently lack valid site plan approvals, although a citywide study has not been conducted, according to the Macomb Daily.

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