Legalinfomd : Hello. I will answer your question.
Legalinfomd : You have two issues to deal with. One is zoning, and the other is motor vehicle licensing. The current license is most likely issued to the LLC. If you purchase a 99% membership interest in the existing LLC, the license should not have to be changed, and the business operator for purposes of preserving the grandfathered zoning should remain in effect. The problem is, however, that if you purchase the LLC (or a 99% interest in the LLC) you will be acquiring the company's liabilities.
Legalinfomd : My experience has been that as long as you can show that operation of a car dealership has been continuous and without interruption (usually with sales records), a new entity can assume operations without loosing the zoning exception.
Legalinfomd : My suggestion is that you go back to the zoning office and make sure they understand that auto sales have been conducted at the property continuously, and ask if there is a zoning exception there that would apply for used car sales by you. It sounds as if the person with whom you spoke may have not known that. Ask specifically whether you can continue operations under a new entity (a new LLC), or must it be continued by the current operator (the existing LLC). They should permit you to use a new LLC, as long as there is no interruption in business (typically you need only show a sale or two each month). If Zoning says you may do so, then form your entity, and apply for the dealer license.
Legalinfomd : In sum, you must run the scenario by the zoning office and motor vehicles, and comply with their instructions. Otherwise, you risk a subsequent inspection by either of them, and revocation of your right to do business. Try to get their advice in writing. If they will not give it to you in writing, get the name of the person and send them a letter confirming what they told you, so you will have that in the event that someone else from zoning of motor vehicles challenges things later.
Legalinfomd : I hope that this information has been helpful. Please be sure to leave a positive rating for my response so that I will be credited for my time. Thank you and good luck with your business.