Collision repair shop eyes Smithfield car dealership

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Caliber Collision, a Texas-based auto body repair shop with 1,500 locations across 40 states, is proposing to repurpose a car dealership on South Church Street as its 15th Hampton Roads location.

Caliber Bodyworks of Virginia LLC has requested a special use permit from the town of Smithfield for an “automobile and light vehicle repair establishment.” Smithfield’s Planning Commission voted unanimously on Nov. 8, with member Michael Torrey absent, to recommend the permit’s approval.

The company is proposing to employ 15 to 20 people and operate the facility from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Company officials were the only ones to speak at a public hearing the Planning Commission held ahead of its vote.

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The Planning Commission’s recommendation is conditioned on the company keeping the brick building’s trim painted in earth tones. The company had initially proposed painting the tan trim black as part of its effort to rebrand the structure, which Commissioner Dr. Thomas Pope described as too modern for the building’s architectural style. The building is located outside the town’s historic district but is still subject to Smithfield’s entrance corridor overlay design standards.

As part of the company’s application, Caliber is proposing to erect a 6-foot-tall white vinyl fence to match an existing fence on the property and provide screening for the outdoor storage of vehicles needing repairs. Smithfield’s Town Council will have the final say on Caliber’s application.

The building currently houses the Smithfield Auto & Truck Center, which is in the process of moving the repair portion of its business to Jefferson Avenue in Newport News.