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August 1, 2017

Proposed Marshall car dealerships face hurdles

This conceptual drawing shows the two proposed vehicle dealerships at East Main Street (top) and Old Stockyard Road (left) in Marshall.
Public Hearing
• Topic: Special permit to construct Ford and Nissan dealership buildings and carwash on 8.1 acres at East Main Street and Old Stockyard Road in Marshall.

• When: 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3.; work session, 1:15 p.m.

• Agency: Fauquier County Board of Zoning Appeals.

• Where: Warren Green Building, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton.

• Applicant: Leckner Ford Three LLC.

• Landowner: Main Street Ltd. Partnership.

• Details: Business owner Carl Leckner wants to move the century-old Ford dealership at 8323 W. Main to a proposed 19,800-square-foot building at East Main Street and Old Stockyard Road. Mr. Leckner also wants approval for a 14,300-square-foot building to house a Nissan dealership. A proposed 2,250-square-foot carwash, including detailing bays, would serve both dealerships. Under the plan, the 8.1-acre site would store up to 515 vehicles.
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Staff Journalist
His plan for a two-dealership auto sales and service park in Marshall could face two big hurdles.

Leckner Ford of Marshall owner Carl Leckner seeks special permit approval to build a 19,800-square-foot building to serve the century-old business and a 14,300-square-foot building for a new Nissan dealership at East Main Street and Old Stockyard Road.

The Ford showroom and offices occupy a two-story, 4,800-square-foot stucco building at 8323 Main St. The dealership services vehicles in a separate building.

The vacant, 8.1-acre site also would include a proposed carwash, with detailing bays, and a storage area for up to 515 vehicles.

While the site has commercial zoning, Fauquier’s comprehensive plan — a guide to future growth — deems auto dealerships and related uses as incompatible with the kind and scale of mixed-development suited to the area.

The Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority also lacks the water capacity to serve the property.

Fauquier’s board of zoning appeals on Thursday will conduct a work session on the application at 1:15 p.m. in Warren Green Building at 10 Hotel St. in Warrenton. The board then will conduct a 2 p.m. public hearing on the project.

Mr. Leckner could not be reached for comment. His representatives referred all questions to him.

The proposed site lies within Marshall’s “Southern Gateway,” one of four such comprehensive plan-designated areas in the Northern Fauquier village.

“The four gateways are the ‘front doors’ to Marshall and should provide a fitting entry, while being of the traditional town fabric,” the application’s staff report reads.

Marshall’s service district plan “states that freestanding ‘category-killer’ type stores . . . . including dealerships, repair facilities, parts retailers and gas stations, should not be part of the Southern Gateway,” according to the report.

Marshall for years has struggled with an inadequate water supply. It remains unclear when the WSA will be able to meet the demand for new development.

In a June 7 letter to the county staff, WSA Engineer Michael Edelen stated that “currently there is not sufficient water capacity” to serve the proposed dealership property.

But, the authority “has and will continue to work diligently to explore the limited water resources in the area to increase the regional water supply,” Mr. Edelen added.

A proposed special permit condition would require the project be served by WSA.

The BZA has several options, according to staff. The board could:

• Approve the special permit application, if it determines that the project, along with recommended or additional permit conditions, conforms to the comprehensive plan.

• Delay action to give Mr. Leckner’s representatives more time to work with staff.

• Deny the application.

BZA member Bill Chipman, a Realtor who represents the landowner, will recuse himself from special permit deliberations.

For an undisclosed sum, Mr. Leckner last October bought the Marshall dealership from David Baird and Thomas O’Brien, who had owned the business since 1989.

Founded in July 2015, Mr. Leckner’s company has six other dealerships in Ellicott City, Md., King George, Stafford and Woodstock.
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Jim Griffin · August 7, 2017 at 8:51 am
Our experience matches Brian Roeder's but predates Leckner's arrival. We've avoided Marshall Ford for years. We were overcharged (and eventually refunded) almost a thousand dollars for an oil change. Yes, that's right, a simple oil change.
brianroeder · August 3, 2017 at 9:41 am
Thank you for posting this Mr. Leckner. I and many others look forward to your success as a responsible, responsive, respectful member of this great community.
Carl Leckner · August 3, 2017 at 4:45 am
I would like to thank everyone that has made us feel welcome in Marshall. We have tripled the employee count and I am very proud of our employees that are counting on me to improve the facility. I only want the best for Marshall. We have had so many people thank us for our improved service. Our plan will add an additional 50 jobs and greater service. I want to further invest into Marshall if it is wanted. I hope to be a part of your community. If any of the residents or business leaders ever needs to contact me my cell number is 703-296-4719. Carl Leckner
brianroeder · August 1, 2017 at 10:30 pm
I am a huge advocate for Marshall continuing to become a town that serves our local residents' needs. My business, Barrel Oak Winery, sends countless customers to Marshall for gas, groceries, restaurants and other services. And We are so grateful for the community's support of our business. As a local resident and business owner; as the President of the Warrenton Chamber of Commerce (although I am not speaking on their behalf in this editorial comment) here is my experience with Leckner.

I bought my F450 King Ranch from Marshall Ford in late 2011. Amazing truck. I always took my service needs to them...they were more expensive than going to Warrenton, but I wanted to support the local guys and they were fair. I am willing to pay a bit extra for the convenience. Leckner takes over. I bring them my truck for inspection renewal. They gave me a long list of "required" repairs to pass inspection. Brake Drums, oil pan must be replaced to pass inspection. Nope. I took the truck to Sheehy in Warrenton. None of that was necessary. Saved $1000. But the point is that the service dept tech and manager simply lied to me. Simple. I spoke to the service manager. He made excuses. This is their values - and it is clearly pushed from the top down. I do not blame the staff. Clearly senior management is trying to monetize every detail at the expense of honesty and integrity. Money over honesty folks. This is small a working close-knit community. I have worked hard to support it. I say no to a company that does not understand taking care of its customers. There are many valid reasons to say no to this project...code already prevents it. Exceptions can be made for those who add to community. My personal experience is that Leckner does not understand this. Bottom line: I do not see why we should accommodate Leckner when they are NOT focused upon simple honesty and supporting local residents in our automotive needs.
Bonnie C. · August 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm
There goes the end of Marshall. Once car dealerships start setting up shop, it's only a hop, skip, & jump before Marshall looks like Manassas.
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