By Anthony Clark | The Gainesville Sun
Collin Austin said business has continuously improved since he opened New Scooters 4 Less six years ago, with the shop running out of space at the 3,500-square-foot location in the block north of Publix on North Main Street.
He wanted to open a second location in a high-traffic area that is far enough away from the current shop that it wouldn't cannibalize sales. The business negotiated a lease for a spot in Butler Plaza this spring.
“We thought that was a sure fit,” he said.
But when New Scooters 4 Less submitted the required zoning compliance application to the Gainesville Planning Department, it was denied. A provision within the 340-page land-use code equates scooters to motorcycles, an auto-oriented business that at the time was only allowed in the business automotive zoning along North Main Street and a few other specific locations.
Shortly thereafter, Austin, 31, was one of six people selected to speak at the May 13 forum hosted by the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and then Mayor-elect Ed Braddy about how city government can better foster small business growth.
“There's one thing keeping my company from growing right now and that's this city,” he said at the forum.
By way of example, he said his business with a clean showroom and a maintenance area in the back would not be allowed in the same 34th Street Sweetbay Supermarket shopping center that includes an auto parts store.