A man is looking to start an automobile restoration business on his parents’ property about three-quarters of a mile off Country Side Lane west of Freeburg.
Kraig Auth said he plans to buy old vehicles, restore them and sell them at auctions or car shows. He has asked the county for a special-use permit to run the small business in the agriculturally-zoned area.
“The purpose for me applying for the special-use permit is take what used to be a hobby and turn it into a small proprietorship business,” Auth said.
He said there is no plan to add any buildings on the property, at 5805 Country Side Lane, as the current structures serve all of his needs.
There is a roughly 22,000-square-foot building already on site, and all equipment and vehicles will be stored inside, Auth said. The building already is used for storage.
He added there would be no retail traffic coming through the driveway and there would be no sign or advertisement on the property.
Auth said the hours of operation would be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and he would have a maximum of three employees — himself and two other people.
“We would own all the vehicles we would do the work on, we would not do the work for someone bringing in (their) property,” Auth said.
Auth’s parents, who own the property, are getting older.
“I’d like to have the opportunity to have something I could do from the house, so I could take care of them,” Auth said.
Bill Schwartz, who is a member of the Freeberg Plan Commission, said he had concerns about a business being run out of a house in an agricultural area.
“I just don’t like seeing these businesses go in the agriculture (areas),” Schwartz said. “Freeburg has a business district, which they could build into… There are areas set aside for business. I’m just not too wild about somebody putting a business into their home.”
Auth said he would keep the property clean to respect the area and the neighbors. He added he would be open to moving to a more traditional business area in the future.
“If things go right ... down the road, we might seek a place in Freeburg and might move into a regular place like that. We’re trying to take baby steps like that,” Auth said.
The St. Clair County Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this week recommended that the County Board approve Auth’s request.