City's zoning rules lead scooter shop to hit the brakes

Source: The Gainesville Sun

Source: The Gainesville Sun

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.


Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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