The Columbia County Planning Commission approved on Thursday a design variation for a Martinez car dealership that is undergoing an expansion.
Milton Ruben Toyota sought to add architectural metal paneling and glazing that exceeded maximum standards set forth in the Evans Town Center Overlay District, which applies to the dealership at 3510 Washington Road. Design criteria in that overlay district allows only a quarter of metal panels and architectural glazing on any elevation of a building.
"I think it's going to upgrade the real estate value not only on their property but that whole stretch of highway," said Planning Commissioner Jim Cox.
The second set of plans shown at the meeting by Studio 3 Design Group and approved by planning commissioners revealed a building with a stucco-style finish and 38 percent metal paneling on the front of the dealership. Part of the project will include construction of a new service area fronting Washington Road.
"We're going to take that building that was constructed in or around 1987 ... (and) make it certainly a more modern facility," said Jim Bernstein, the managing partner of the Milton Ruben dealership, which also carries Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles.
The main entrance wall, where the Milton Ruben Toyota sign is located, will contain glass paneling that is illuminated at night.
Both the service and sales operations will be in the front of the building.
Work could begin in two months and take about 10 months to complete, he said.
Milton Ruben Toyota, which opened in February 2009, is one of the first businesses that motorists drive past on Washington Road as they enter the county.
Development Services Director Richard Harmon said after the meeting that he thinks plans for Milton Ruben could start the revitalization process in Martinez.
In other planning and zoning business, the board approved a plan revision for Oakey Grove Baptist Church to add two mobile buildings at 911 N. Belair Road.
The modular buildings will be used for church-related activities, including Sunday school, day care and Boy Scout meetings. After permanent classroom space is built, the units will be removed from the property.
Also at the meeting, planning commissioners gave final plat approval to The Hills at Berkley Hills subdivision off William Few Parkway.
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