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City seeks info on luring car dealers


While the owner of 49er Subaru wants to expand, Angels Camp Administrator Tim Shearer wants to bring the city's lone car dealer some competition.

Shearer said he's talking to "other government professionals" who have successfully brought dealerships to their cities.

"I'm finding out how others have done it," Shearer said. "I need to have some information before I go and talk about bringing any business to the city."

So what does the owner of Calaveras County's only new car dealership think of this?

"It might help us all (and) bring more people into the area," said Richard Wilmshurst, owner of 49er Subaru on Highway 49. Still, he expressed doubt that the area can support two dealerships.

Shearer said there would be several benefits: The city would get more money from increased sales and property taxes, jobs could be created and car buyers would have more choices.

Because businesses are attracted to high-traffic areas, like state highways, the new dealership could be built along Highway 4, Shearer said.

"If put in the right place, I think it would be a valuable addition to the community," he said of a possible new dealership.

One possibility is a 6.38-acre lot on Highway 4 next to Angel Oaks Drive with a 2.38-acre lot across the street. The lot is zoned for light commercial use.

Shearer said he's not sure how much space a new dealership requires. Wilmshurst said his Subaru dealership is on "an acre or two" and he plans to expand.

But the proposed Highway 4 Bypass is holding things up.

Wilmshurst owns 14 acres near the northern intersection of highways 4 and 49, where the $32 million, 2.4-mile expressway will cut through and loop around downtown Angels Camp, reconnecting with eastbound Highway 4 near Rolleri Bypass Road.

Angels Camp City Council members passed a controlled access highway agreement with Caltrans last month, stating the bypass will have no access points other than where it begins and ends.

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