AUBURN — A zoning change to four residential lots off Center Street doesn’t mean a car dealership expansion there is looming, but it does give Evergreen Subaru room to plan.

City councilors Monday gave the dealership and owner Doug Weisz a zoning change for house lots on Niskayuna Street and Malibu Drive. Weisz said he hopes to expand his dealership someday, but has no immediate plans.

“We are a dealership and it’s a good time for Subaru and we are trying to create an opportunity to develop it,” Weisz said. “For sure we are not doing it yet. We don’t have a specific development plan right now.”

Evergreen Subaru hopes to expand its 2.89-acre location on the west side of Center Street between Joline Drive and Niskayuna Street.

The dealership purchased the five nearby lots — at 786 Center St., 40 Niskayuna St. and 16, 32 and 40 Malibu Drive — over the past four years. Combined, the new lots would add about 1.8 acres to the operation.

The 786 Center St. lot, formerly home to the Auburndale Cleaning Center, is zoned for business but the Niskayuna and Malibu lots are all zoned suburban residential.

Planner Doug Greene said the change fits with Auburn’s Comprehensive Plan, which calls for expanding retail along Center Street. Greene said the car dealership will have to bring plans for auto service or sales back to the Planning Board before redevelopment can proceed.

Councilors approved the zoning change by a 4-2 vote, with Councilors Andy Titus and Grady Burns voting against it.

Titus said he was uneasy converting a residential neighborhood to commercial.

“I know it conforms to the 2010 Comprehensive Plan, but I’ve been to that area and I think it would be wrong to do what they want there,” Titus said.

Weisz said he purchased the lots because of the city’s plan.

“I know there is a difference of opinion, but this is what the plan says,” Weisz said. “That’s the plan we’ve been following.”

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