Pat Mulroy, owner of Mulroy’s Body Shop, ran into city snags trying to combine his business operations at a new 3900/3920 Nicollet Ave. S. location. The location has been home to Super Shuttle.
Mulroy’s business is currently split between two other Kingfield neighborhood locations: his 4325 Nicollet Ave. S. body shop and a paint shop around the corner at 8 W. 42nd St. He said often workers have to carry large car parts back and forth, and he wants all operations under the same roof.
He said he also needs more space because of increased business. "We know we’re getting congested, and we don’t want to make anybody mad," Mulroy said. "We were trying to be proactive."
He thinks potential neighbors at the 3900 Nicollet location would welcome his business because he would not operate 24 hours a day, as Super Shuttle has.
Mulroy said he would operate no later than 5 p.m. and remain closed on weekends.
But now comes the zoning quandary:
Mulroy said the city classifies his business as "C4," which permits intensive uses including body shops, car dealerships and gun shops. However, the lots he’d like to move to are zoned "R2B," a residential classification.
Mulroy applied for a zoning upgrade for the shuttle lots, for which he currently has a purchase agreement. However, the Minneapolis Planning Commission rejected the request May 17. The Commission did, however approve a nonconforming-use permit for the new site. (A nonconforming use permit provides an exception for a business but doesn’t change the property’s underlying zoning. Super Shuttle currently operates under a nonconforming-use heading.)
Mulroy said a nonconforming-use classification might not be good enough because he fears the city could one day raise problems about the zoning mismatch.
Mulroy would prefer to stay in Kingfield, where his dad started the business in 1961, especially now that his two kids are working in the family business. Also, he said 80 percent of his customers live within a few blocks, and he doesn’t want to stray.
Mulroy said he would decide what to do before winter.
The Kingfield Neighborhood Association agreed to support the nonconforming use and upzoning the 3900 Nicollet site to a C2 zoning. Mulroy’s is zoned C2 in its existing location. C2 zoning allows broad auto-related uses, prohibits industrial uses and is a "neighborhood corridor commercial district" compared to the industrial, "general commercial district" C4 classification.
Mulroy said the Kingfield board has also worked with him about aesthetic property improvements to buildings on the Super Shuttle site.