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updated: 6/9/2011 6:46 AM

Palatine rejects unique used car dealership catering to Japanese expats

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A unique used auto dealership catering largely to Japanese expatriates won't be coming to one of Palatine's busiest corridors -- for now, at least.

Citing possible adverse effects on neighboring residences, the village council this week by a 4-2 vote denied a proposal to open Japan Auto Services on the Aspen Exteriors property at Northwest Highway and Consumers Avenue.

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"Everyone loves a revenue generator for the village ... (but) I do think it'll spill into the neighborhoods," said Councilman Scott Lamerand, who asked that village staff try to identify a better Palatine site for the dealership.

In its business plan, company Vice President Joe Xu wrote that he expected 90 percent of its customers to be Japanese working professionals transferred to the U.S. for their job. The 25-car inventory would consist mostly of vehicles those professionals would sell back when they return to Japan.

It's a similar setup to Japan Auto Services' other location in Arlington, Va., where many of its clients work at the United Nations' Washington, D.C., office.

Xu said up to eight employees would be hired, with salesmen bilingual in English and Japanese. The business would be open to the general public.

Xu, who wasn't at the council meeting this week, previously told the village's Zoning Board of Appeals that test drives would be minimal because customers preselect a vehicle before moving to the U.S. and have it delivered to their home. But he promised that any test drives would take place on Northwest Highway.

"The community does not have to worry about the test drive safety issue," Xu said.

A few neighbors also stated concerns about lighting from the dealership spilling over into their yards and decreased property values.

Councilmen Aaron Del Mar and Jim Clegg voted to allow the business, saying officials should take the company at its word about the test drives. They also pointed to the estimated $6 million to $8 million in sales Xu projected.

"I look at it as a possible new revenue source," Del Mar said.

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