Automobile

Tesla showroom decision in Conn. delayed until August

Tesla Inc. won’t be able to move on building a showroom and service center in East Hartford, Conn., until August at the earliest, when the town’s planning and zoning commission decides whether to rescind the automaker’s special use permit.

In April, the commission granted a permit and site plan modification to InSite Development Services, an Illinois real estate developer acting for Tesla. But Hoffman Auto Group of East Hartford in June sued all three entities — Tesla, InSite and the commission — to stop the brick-and-mortar store from going up in the region.

Tesla’s presence in Connecticut has long been challenged. Legislation that would allow Tesla to sell directly to consumers has not passed, though the EV maker has been appealing that to lawmakers.

Hoffman Auto Group’s legal complaints say allowing a Tesla site goes against Connecticut state laws that prevent automakers from selling vehicles directly to buyers in lieu of through franchised dealerships.

Hoffman Auto is contesting the permit’s legality. The dealership group claims InSite was dissolved in March and, because of that, didn’t have standing to obtain the permit the following month, according to the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.

The legal complaints also allege that the commission didn’t give the public proper notice about the zoning sections that are part of the site plan application and permit.

A lawyer for InSite pushed back on the claim that the company lacked standing to issue the permit, the Journal Inquirer reported. He told the commission on June 23 that InSite was involuntarily dissolved because of an unpaid fee, but that it was later paid and the matter was resolved.

The commission will consider on Aug. 11 whether to revoke the permit.

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