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Published: Thursday, 10/19/2006

Car lot owner told to clean up property

An East Toledo used car lot owner has been told to finish cleaning up his lot and apply for a $300 special-use permit if he wants to get his property rezoned.

Yesterday, City Council's zoning and planning committee deferred for 90 days action on a request to rezone 208-228 Oak St. from limited industrial to regional commercial.

Elias Cash, owner of Andre's Auto Sales at 208 Oak St., has been told the business he has operated since 1991 is operating illegally because the parcel is zoned for industrial, not commercial, uses.

Mr. Cash is trying to get the zoning changed so his business can continue.

The Toledo Plan Commission last month recommended disapproval of the rezoning because of confusion over whether Mr. Cash planned to stay in the used car business or try to develop a retail strip center.

Yesterday, Mr. Cash said he was shelving the retail plans for a while, and would stick with the car business.

"We are in a poor area. We sell cheap cars," Mr. Cash said. "I think they need me over there."

Councilman Mike Craig, the district representative, said Mr. Cash had not lived up to promises to clean up his lot and get a special-use permit.

Mr. Cash acknowledged that he had promised to apply for a special-use permit, but said he was unwilling to spend the money unless he was guaranteed he'd get his rezoning.

He said he got rid of 30 cars, many of them straight to a junk yard. He said he bought a new sign but won't put it up until council approves the rezoning.

A previous rezoning attempt involving Mr. Cash's property helped attract law enforcement attention to the activities of former Toledo Councilman Bob McCloskey. Mr. Cash claimed McCloskey improperly opposed his application for a rezoning for a convenience store in 2002.

He claimed McCloskey retaliated against him because he wouldn't contribute to his political campaign. McCloskey denied that, saying he opposed the site, which had a liquor permit, because an elementary school was across the street.

Since then, McCloskey, a Democrat, has been convicted in two unrelated bribery cases and is serving a 27-month prison term.

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