Tire Shop Stirs Controversy


The City Council voted to uphold a Planning Board decision to terminate a conditional use permit prohibiting any future automotive repair and tire sales business to operate at 1200 Park St. during its July 18 meeting.

The Council voted to revoke Conditional Use Permit 88-36 4-1 with Councilmember Jim Oddie casting the sole opposing vote. 

The Garfinkle family has owned the property since the 1920s. They lease the property to the current business operator Big Discount Tire Pros. The decision will prevent the Garfinkles from selling the property to Big O Tires after Big Discount moves into its new location at 1835 Oak St. when its lease expires on July 31.

Representatives at Big O Tires spoke at the meeting to assure the Council they would not violate the use permit like their predecessors. They even “proposed and offered to accept and comply with an additional condition that will subject them to monetary penalties” if it violated the permit. 

The council voted to revoke the permit anyway. The Council determined the business “is not consistent with the zoning ordinance of the City of Alameda” and “the property has been used in repeated and continued violation of the conditions of the use permit,” according to a city staff memorandum. 

The main violation is condition number three that states “Applicant’s business vehicles shall be stored on the site and not the adjacent residential streets.” 

Residents and adjacent business owners have complained that the company’s staff have used residential parking areas to park its customers’ vehicles. Twenty-one residents signed a petition opposing the operation of a future automotive repair business at the site. The Garfinkles attested that many businesses do this. Representatives of Big O believe they are being punished for violations they did not commit. Planning board member Lorre Zuppan said at the May 8 meeting that this is not just about parking, but about compliance. 

The current permit was last revised in 1989. With the upholding of the termination, Council said the current use permit will terminate 60 days after the July 18 meeting. 

This will not affect Big Discount Tire Pros. They have been planning to leave the site since purchasing the Oak Street location in Nov. 2015. Big O Tires became Big Discount Tire Pros after the Big O Corporation and the 1200 Park St. franchise owner had a disagreement about moving to the Oak Street location.