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Neighbors Fight New Fla. Body Shop

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Oct. 31, 2019—Residents near Wright, Fla, a small town just east of Pensacola, have raised concerns about a new paint and body shop in their neighborhood, according to NWF Daily News.

Michael Josemans, owner of Beal Paint and Body, wants to build a new shop on a 2.4-acre parcel because another company has bought the site of his current shop, forcing him to relocate. Josemans is willing to talk about the new location with residents, who are concerned about the noise and possible paint and chemical fumes. He’s seen their concerns on social media and believes many are simply “way over-reacting.”

The new location is adjacent to Emerald Village, a subdivision of 250 houses built between 1998 and 2003. Jennifer Fuhrman is a resident of Emerald Village and is leading the charge against the shop. She drafted a petition and has over 170 signatures protesting its establishment.

“The noise from tools such as air compressors will affect our home values and the quality of living,” Fuhrman said on Monday, Oct. 28. “We don’t like the idea of coming home after work one day and having a beer or a cup of coffee on the back patio and having to hear that constant noise. We’re also concerned about possible paint and chemical fumes.”

Josemans has been in the auto repair business for over 30 years and hears their concerns. Modern shops, he argues, use contemporary tools that make far less noise and much of the work is done inside the shop, further shielding the surrounding area from noise pollution.

Emerald Village residents are also concerned about aesthetics. “They’re worried about an ugly building going up, but it’s going to be brand new construction,” Josemans says, “and it’ll have to go by certain design standards.”

Though Fuhrman doesn’t live directly adjacent to Josemans’ parcel, she said she and other residents in the subdivision knew a commercial business would be built on the lot as it was zoned specifically for commerical use in 2005.

“But we don’t feel this is the right place for this type of business,” said Fuhrman, who added that wrecked vehicles that would be parked there and could reduce the neighborhood’s appeal.

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