Gardner businessman gives up fight after city forces him to close

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GARDNER, Kan. -- A Gardner auto dealer owner learned that he has six months to liquidate his inventory before the city shuts down the operation.

One day after the city council denied a special use permit for Gardner Auto Sales, there are still vehicles for sale at the business.

We first showed you this unusual used car lot that shares space with a convenience store back in March. That's when the city first wanted to shut it down. Since that time, owner Tyrone Jones says business has improved, and he thought the city had backed off, showing a willingness to welcome his business. But he says all that changed overnight.

"I couldn't get a reason why they weren't going to follow through what they've said and why they have led us on to believe that they work with us when they had no intentions of doing that," he said. "I think we deserve an answer on why you want to take my livelihood away."

Gardner city officials have declined our requests to comment on camera about the situation. But in an email to Jones, the community development director says the city will fully enforce the restriction on used car sales six months from now.

"They don't want one in the town because we asked if we could move to a different site, if that would make it easier for them to allow us to do business, and they told us they didn't care, they wouldn't let us move anywhere," Jones said.

Jones said he's put his home in Gardner up for sale and is giving up the fight. He says he plans on moving back to the west coast.

"In Gardner your zoning regulation in my opinion is about who you know and how you know them," he said.

Jones wants to live in a small town and operate his own business there. And he says he'll be looking for a place that will treat him fairly.

While Jones is the only African American business owner in Gardner, he said citizens have welcomed him. He believes the case is tied to city politics -- not race.

Watch Mary Pulley's earlier report:

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4 comments

  • Andy

    This is a disgrace. These guys went through all of the proper channels to open this business in Gardner. To obtain your license to sell used cars in Kansas you are required to obtain zoning approval from the municipality in which you are located. They contacted the city and obtained this approval only to find out after the fact that someone at the city MISREAD the zoning map. Used car sales are allow by right in a C3 zoning district but the individual at the city who reviewed their application didn’t look closely enough at the zoning map to notice they were in a C2 district. The city leveraged this fact to deny them an extension of their business license after they received complaints from nearby residents. I was on the Gardner Planning Commission when the owners of the used car business petitioned to have the property rezoned to comply with the zoning ordinance. While I didn’t necessarily agree that the location was appropriate for the used car lot these folks did everything they were supposed to do to be in compliance with the law. It was not their fault that the city planner misread the map. This is despicable! Why anyone would ever open a business in Gardner is beyond me. Small business owners beware.

  • Angie Mull-Jones

    I am not sure who you are either haha karmasucks first of all yes we did have our house up on Oct. 28th in preperation for the commision meeting on the 19th of November and then the Council meeting that was to take place for the FINAL decision on the 2 year permit we DID NOT expect that it would pass and we knew we would likely be asked to be out by JAN. Its called prepairing when you have been jacked around for one year. We did not lie and who ever you are I hope you have the nerve to call me directly – clearly you are a female if you are calling me a skank really lol :)