Palmetto considers blocking auto business downtown

- Too much business is never a bad thing, but too much of one kind of business may be a problem for downtown Palmetto.

Auto repair and service stations make up a majority of the businesses there and the local government is considering steps to diversify.

Over the past six years, DabWear boutique owner Jamie Wilson said he has seen a negative effect from the lack of diverse businesses downtown. So much so, he is thinking about moving.

The city of Palmetto seems to feel the same way and wants to stop new auto repair and service stations from locating downtown for the next year.

"I am never against any small business," said Jamie Wilson. "Maybe they need to be rectified or just polished up a little bit... store fronts that are more attractive and that don't look like a junk yard." 

City attorney Mark Barnebey said the move is about working on the city's future. On April 18, the city will hold a public hearing on the moratorium. If commissioners vote in favor of the ordinance, it will be in effect until April 2017.

"We want to look at the businesses we have. We aren't putting anyone out of businesses. We are just putting them on hold. We want to look at how they should look like and how they should be developed," said Mark Barnebey. "One of the problems we have, most of our urban corridors going through the city are not as attractive as they could be. So, what we are trying to do is improve those areas and this is one of those steps in this process."

The hope is to attract more people to one of the area's hidden gems.

"It is a great town for raising families, but a lot of people don't see it off of the main drag," said Barnebey.

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