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Car dealership's potential move stirs controversy

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The proposed move of a longtime Valley car dealership is stirring controversy.

After being in business for nearly 50 years at Third Avenue and Indian School Road in Phoenix, the owners of Phoenix Motor Company want to move to Scottsdale.

The Mercedes Benz dealership would take over the Highland Park office building near Scottsdale Road and Highland Avenue in 2014, but not everyone is thrilled with the idea.

"It's an absolutely inappropriate use for this piece of property," said Erika Hanson, president of Sarkis Manor Homeowners Association.

Sarkis Manor is adjacent to the property where the dealership would be.

Hanson said Phoenix Motor Company would bring bright lights and 24-hour noise to the area.

"The trucks come in when the traffic is slower," said Hanson. "Anywhere between one and five in the morning, you'll have semi-trucks bringing cars into the dealership."

Hanson said that 60 percent of the residents are against the dealership in the neighborhood, but Jason Rose, a spokesman for Phoenix Motor Company, said that's not true.

"We have over 90 people who have signed petitions in support," said Rose. "While there may be a few people who have questions about it, far and away the response has been outstanding to Mercedes relocating to downtown Scottsdale."

The owners of Phoenix Motor Company plan to meet with potential neighbors on Thursday.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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