Planning officials unveiled a proposal this week to spruce up Manchester Boulevard's "Auto Row" and rezone the area from generally commercial to strictly auto.
Details of the plan range from replacing drooping sycamores with palms to closing off access to Manchester from nearby 9th and 10th streets.
Auto row extends from Beach Boulevard to Dale Street, but areas north, south and west of Manchester could support auto-related businesses in a more consistent development pattern, the planners said.
Currently, seven dealers have spots on auto row and there is room for about two more, Senior Planner Leslie Kyle said.
"The market is there for dealerships," said Development Services Director Thomas E. Lynch, who added that officials are negotiating with several franchises.
Council members were generally receptive to the concept of the new zoning map, but plans for adjacent streets caused more discussion.
"By expanding, I am concerned that we are impacting residential areas in several spots," Councilman Donald L. Bone said. "Since I live up around there, I care deeply."
Proposals to close 9th and 10th streets would provide a buffer for the auto row and keep commercial traffic from going into residential zones, Kyle said after the meeting.
Members of the task force that drafted the plan will be taking it to auto dealers on Manchester and then to the Planning Commission. Final documents for the rezoning should be before the City Council sometime in January, Kyle said.
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A proposal to block off 9th and 10th streets would provide a buffer for the auto row and would keep commercial traffic from going into residential zones, officials say.