More than four months after Glendale denied the proposed expansion of Bob Smith Toyota in La Crescenta, dealership officials are now angling to move across the street to an empty lot that will offer twice the square footage.

Company officials were embroiled in a heated debate with neighbors and the city's Design Review Board over plans to build a new three-story, 63,900-square-foot structure at its 3322 Foothill Blvd. location.

Nearby residents, faced with the prospect of losing their mountainous view to a hulking concrete structure, objected to the dealership's plans.

After repeated attempts to have the city's Design Review Board support its plans — and regular opposition by residents at city meetings — company officials decided to forgo the proposed upward growth when Foothill Nissan of La Crescenta left their sprawling location at 3333 Foothill Blvd.

“This is a huge blessing for us,” Service Director Kevin Young said. “As far as I'm concerned, this issue is all done.”

Bob Smith Toyota first moved into its 10,200-square-foot Foothill Boulevard location in December 1993. The dealership consists of a one-story sales building in the middle of a parking lot — used for inventory — and an on-site maintenance shop at the rear of the downward-sloping property.

Dealership officials hoped to construct a three-story, 46-foot-high structure that would occupy most of the lot and enclose all operations within its walls to accommodate its burgeoning customer base.

But after the Nissan location became available, the dealership found another way to serve their estimated 10,000 customers.

The new location, to be called Bob Smith Toyota & Scion, will double the frontage square feet from 400 to 800, allow more employee on-site parking and more than double the number of car service bays.

Young plans to renovate the showroom at the new location and outfit, and the service center is in the process of being outfitted with state-of-the-art machinery.

“This is an absolute plus for the community,” Sales Manager Mark Near said.

Dealership officials hope to avoid clashes with neighbors by engaging residents who live behind the expansive new location.

“The facility backside was in a terrible state,” Young said. “[Nissan] didn't clean it, and it was a fire hazard. We're pulling weeds and cleaning it up. People really appreciated that.”

Young might also have to smooth things with the city, where planning officials said no new plans have been submitted since they announced their intention to move.

If they do not make any changes to the new location, Toyota officials might not need to petition the city for a new permit. But that does not mean they can avoid filing new documents, Senior Planner Brad Collins said.

“The main thing they need is a zoning-use certificate for the business,” he said. “It's useful to make sure they are not making changes to the inside and that they comply with all the regulations. As of now, I'm not seeing anything that's actually been submitted.”

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World