CarMax still interested in Tupelo

Tupelo StockBy Robbie Ward
Daily Journal

TUPELO – The future looks uncertain for used car company CarMax’s possible $5 milllion investment in Tupelo after the City Council voted to not approve the company’s proposed site.

The City Council voted 4-3 to overrule the Tupelo Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve a conditional use for the Fortune 500 business to locate on Tom Watson Drive. Council members voted after hearing from used car dealership owners who said they were told more than a decade ago that they couldn’t build used car lots in the Barnes Crossing District Overlay.

BJ Teal, director of development services for the city, said when CarMax representatives approached the city a year ago about locating a used car business at the Barnes Crossing area, the city’s development code allowed it if a variance was granted.

Currently, the Barnes Crossing District Overlay, which includes parts of North Gloster Street’s large retail businesses and restaurants, hasn’t included used car dealerships.
Rudy Dossett of Dessett Big 4 Motors located on South Gloster Street said approving the CarMax request after rejecting local business owners’ requests in previous years isn’t fair to local businesses.

“It’s not fair when you unlevel the playing field,” he said. “We’ve tried to get up there and they said no.”

Council members Willie Jennings of Ward 7, Markel Whittington of Ward 1, Mike Bryan of Ward 6 and Jim Newell of Ward 3 opposed the planning committee’s recommendation to allow CarMax to locate in the area. Council members Lynn Bryan of Ward 3, Buddy Palmer of Ward 5 and Nettie Davis of Ward 4 supported it.

With the car dealership not receiving permission to build on the site requested, it can appeal the City Council’s decision in Lee County Court. Another option, the company can wait until the city approves the proposed development code waiting for council approval, planning committee or Council Council approval to locate at the site.

But no timetable exists for the Council to approve the new development code. The council failed to approve the new development code in June by a 3-3 vote.

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  • shane

    Way to go bunch of cry baby’s that’s 20 people that could have had more money to feed their kids and family. If i was car max I would consider Corinth or Saltillo or Baldwyn or maybe Booneville. I say to H E double hockey sticks to Tupelo

  • LeeCoMan

    “What’s right for the goose, should be right for the gander”. Local car folks were told no, so should out-of-towner CarMax on THIS location–only fair to Tupelo citizen taxpayers. Business folks should go to CarMax and say , “Hey, we still want you, work with us and we will you.” — Come on Mr. new mayor, “win – win here”. Common sense approach, but hey that’s just my thoughts./

    • cindirutledgeparker

      That was 10 years ago. Times have changed. Out with the old and on with the new.

  • 1941641

    With all the car dealerships in the Tupelo City Limits now, I wonder if these CarMax people are ready for the competition? Maybe they are, I hope so.

    • cindirutledgeparker

      The dealerships are scared of the competition. Dossett is wetting his pants.

  • Guest

    This council is too busy coordinating their shirts and planning retreats to worry about things like Carmax and the development code.

  • DoubleTalk

    This is another example of fly by night code and enforcement. New car, used car no difference. Real deal is old timer, got the market sewed up car dealers have ruled and don’t want competition from someone like Car Max.

    Car Max should locate just outside Tupelo City limits. They will do fine. Eliminate any property tax going to Tupelo and smoke the old timer “I got it sewed up” market.

    I believe the Code folks and Council passing some of this junk have gone plum nuts or were hired by nuts because they were nuts.

    Drive on Car Max. You will do fine just outside Tupelo City limits. Folks are tired of a fixed market.

  • cindirutledgeparker

    Looking for a used car for my son last night. The “big” dealers had nothing older than 2011. Inventory was low. I think a Car Max would be great. Like I said, Tupelo Council needs a reality check.

    • Tracey Shawtyt Hoskins

      And I Agree with Ms Cindi a car max would do Tupelo Justice they r more open to the people they really have grate Quality for a Fair Price and Yes they would Knock Out all The Big Competition so Theres My Vote Bring IT On!!!