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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