Town Meeting OK’s car sales bylaw, makes way for Tesla

With an electric car manufacturer in mind, Town Meeting members on Oct. 17 approved a change to the zoning bylaws to allow for limited car sales at the Natick Mall and in the nearby commercial area. The bylaw, which was passed by a two-thirds majority, allows for a “limited salesroom for motor vehicles,” which is defined as “a retail establishment for the sale of motor vehicles . . . having no more than four vehicles on site for sale, test driving or display, with no repair services.” Under the bylaw, the salesroom would require a special permit from the town’s Planning Board. Because it involves a change to zoning rules, the new bylaw will have to be approved by the state before it can take effect. The new bylaw will solidify access to local sales by Tesla Motors, which had been granted a temporary waiver to sell its electric cars out of a showroom in the Natick Mall in July. The company’s policy of selling cars directly to consumers had rankled many dealers in the state; a lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts State Auto Dealers Association last fall to block Tesla was dismissed by a Norfolk Superior Court judge.