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      City Grants Auto Body Repair Shop Permission to Spray Paint

      By: LeahUko

      luko@kptm.com

      OMAHA(KPTM) - A business owner was granted permission to better her auto retail shop,but she faces a few hurdles--the permission granted from city council will onlylast a year and if a nearby business can help it, her permit won't be extended.

      Maria Torresasked Omaha City Council for permission to install a paint booth into an existingstructure of Advance Auto Sales near the corner of 10th and Bancroftstreets.

      In a 6-0vote, the council granted her permission for 12 months and will revisit theshop's progress a year after 11 conditions are applied to the shop.

      "Atleast better than nothing," said Torres.

      In additionto monitoring the fumes that will go out of the building, the council orderedTorres to make landscaping improvements to the area outside.

      Installinga tree every 50 feet with the landscaping strip, closing the northern drivewayaccess, restriping the parking lot to provide customer parking, removing a polesign on 10th Street and painting the garage doors are some of theconditions Torres needs to follow before her shop is can be granted a permit.

      Once theconditions are met, the council will grant her a permit to operate a spraybooth in the repair shop and revisit its progress a year from that day.

      Torres saidshe was fine with implementing the changes, but feared the city would close hershop after the changes are in place.

      "If I'mgoing to be doing a lot and putting money into this project and down the roadthey say for some reason they want to close us down I'm not just going to make everythingpretty."

      CouncilmanGarry Gernandt voted in opposition to the shop's permit citing concerns aboutfiltering the fumes and the overall look of the shop, rather than its function.

      "About 30 cars out in front of that building today in variousdangers of repair,' Gernandt said in Tuesday's meeting.

      Also against extending the paint booth was business neighbor, BillSeidler.

      Seidler, who owns Bancroft Street Market, argued that the shop wasalready an eyesore to what he called a "tourist friendly" neighborhood.

      Advance Auto Sales is located near the Durham Museum and HenryDoorly Zoo.

      Seidler said that area near 10th and Bancroft isevolving into a tourist attraction and that expanding the auto shop would notgo with the look of the area.

      Torres said her shop would not ruin the look of the area.

      "Thisneighborhood, if you walk through the neighborhood," she continued. "I don'tsee nothing that they would want to come around and see here."

      "Oh Iwould disagree with that," Seidler argued. "If you go to other majormetropolitan areas, people are able to walk several miles and see thehighlights of the city."

      But theshop's development, despite opposition, was approved.

      Torres saidshe hopes her permit will become permanent once she gets the booth up and runningthis summer.

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