Auto auctioneer eyes Columbus

This farmland along CR-23 in Columbus might be developed into an automobile auction facility. (Photo by Clint Riese)
This farmland along CR-23 in Columbus might be developed into an automobile auction facility. (Photo by Clint Riese)

Company requests rezoning Lake Drive lot


Paul Rignell
Columbus Reporter

Columbus could soon be welcoming a new business, to the chagrin of some neighbors of the proposed 59-acre automobile auction facility.

A current proposal from Insurance Auto Auctions Inc. would turn farmland into an office building and a lot for damaged vehicles, and city residents who live near the site have opened a petition in protest.

Project area mapLooking to add another location to its business that includes more than 160 auction lots in the United States and Canada, Insurance Auto Auctions wants to build west of Lake Drive (County Road 23), north of Pine Street. Turn lanes into the site from the north and south are proposed.

That access leads to only 20 acres of commercial property, however, and the company has applied with the city of Columbus for a rezoning and comprehensive plan amendment for 40 acres of adjoining agricultural land further west toward Zodiac Street.

The business would add an estimated 250 vehicle trips weekdays to Lake Drive, which currently sees average daily traffic counts of 6,600. All vehicles that are sold from Insurance Auto Auctions lots have been assessed as total losses by insurance companies, dealerships or rental car agencies following crashes or collisions.

When sold through auction, each vehicle leaves just as it arrived with no disassembly. General hours of operation would be 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, typically including one live auction weekly, though the company receives about 70 percent of its bids online.

“It doesn’t belong in a residential neighborhood,” said Zodiac Street resident Steve Wagamon, whose prospects could involve seeing an 8-foot chain-link fence buffered by landscaping around a property where he and neighbors currently overlook corn and soybean fields.

Wagamon spoke during a public hearing before the Columbus Planning Commission in October. The requests for rezoning and a comprehensive plan amendment, plus a conditional use permit, were on the Planning Commission’s agenda for Wednesday, Nov. 6, but the applicant also asked the commissioners earlier this week to delay their discussions until December.

If the Planning Commission approves the company’s requests, the board’s recommendations would go to the City Council.

  • JohnieDoe

    Mr. Rignell …. I believe you have a good start here. Now I suggest you go get the real story. You could start out by finding out how this will affect every residential property owner North of this property from Pine Street to Kettle River Blvd. and Potomac. You could research the effects of the 2008 re-zoning of the property at 13434 Lake Drive that slammed the property values of everyone on Pine Street and adjoining properties on Zodiac Street. You could be asking the powers why it’s an “Auto Auction” instead of an “Auto Salvage Auction”. Maybe it simply doesn’t meet the smell test as an “Auto Salvage Auction”. Go ask the 87 people who signed the petition how they feel about it. These people aren’t activist….they simply want to be treated fairly, equally and equitably. You simply don’t cost the neighboring community hundreds of thousands of dollars while advocating for one neighbor to the benefit of approximately 12 thousand dollars per acre. Sound fair to you?? If this rezoning is aloud to proceed, this will adjoin every residential property North of it on the West Section Line and turn Zodiac Street, Pine Street and 4th Ave. (which everyone on Pine Street invested over $7000 into a hard surface roadway) into a commercial/industrial thoroughfare and further damage every residential property owner in it’s path.