Attleboro City Councilors announced their preliminary support on Tuesday to change the zoning of a South Attleboro property so a Kia auto dealership could be built there.
A City Council committee voted 3-0 to approve the request by local businessman John Martins for a residential-to-commercial zoning change of a vacant 3.25-acre site on Newport Avenue between Horton and Irving avenues. The full council will vote on the adjustment next week.
Several councilors, including those not on the committee, spoke in favor of the adjustment. Councilor Richard Conti said it made sense because surrounding properties are commercial.
"From that point north to the junction of [Routes] 1A and 1, it's all business ... it is a continuous use of the same type of land," Conti said.
Martins, who owns the nearby Mitsubishi/Kia dealership told the council at a March public hearing that he was instructed by both car companies to split the business. He does not currently own the Newport property, which was once a salvage yard, but plans to buy it if the zoning change were approved.
Councilor Jay DiLisio said on Tuesday that he believed supporting the change went against allegations that Attleboro was anti-business.
"I think this is a great thing for the city, and I think going forward, this is just step one of more businesses that are going to want to come in and invest in Attleboro's future," DiLisio said.
Martins told the council in March that he planned to spend $3 million on the project and that it would create 30 to 40 "good-paying" jobs, with locals getting the first chance to receive them. Councilor Peter Blais praised this aspect of the project.
"The automobile industry isn't the grease monkey industry it used to be," Blais said. "They pay decent money for technicians today, and it's not all entry levels; it's jobs with some decent salaries."