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ZBA Puts Conditions on Repair Business Relocation

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted on July 19 to allow the Mobico Auto Repair shop at 129 South Main St. to relocate to the former Rosenfeld Tire site at 13 Spruce St., provided that Mobico owner Abraham Jreij take steps to muffle sounds that could bother a neighboring property owner. The condition was one of five that ZBA members imposed in granting Jreij's special permit request.

Dr. Carolynne St. Martin, who owns an abutting building around the corner at 12-14 Prentice St., said that she had bought her building and located her clinical psychology business there while NAPA Auto Parts occupied the Spruce St. site. With the neighboring building extremely close to hers, she feared that "the amount of noise [from an auto repair shop] is liable to put me out of business." She said five large windows in the auto repair shop face the rear of her property – the part of her building in which she sees patients.

Jreij responded that today's auto repair tools are much quieter than those of years ago, and his attorney, Laura Mann, said Jreij would have to comply with all federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for noise reduction. "Having a good business in there like Abe's is only going to improve the area," Mann said.

The attorney said her client would use five repair bays inside the building, park four cars inside, and locate his dumpster inside the building. Jreij's engineer said "curb stops" were put in the corner parking lot to better control parking. Jreij said he could chain off the whole parking lot at night, but preferred to be a good neighbor to area restaurants whose patrons use the lot at night.

While saying he wanted to comply with any "reasonable" requests, Jreij said he also did not have unlimited funds to invest in the building, especially since he will be leasing it and does not own it. "Anything within reason, I'll do it," he said.

Jreij said it was not fair for someone who moved next to the building a few years ago to request major renovations on a building that has housed auto repair operations for decades. "It's been a garage for 50-plus years," his engineer said.

"We need to find some way to work this out," ZBA member David Pyne said about the noise issue. "I really do feel for the abutter," ZBA member John Dagnese said. "You're talking an arm's length [between the two buildings]," he added. Pyne and Dagnese were joined by board member Mary Carlson in requiring the issue be addressed.

Alternate ZBA member Anthony DeLuca said that if noise becomes an issue, St. Martin can complain to the town. "It's pretty hard to enforce," he commented. "I think it's something that the two neighbors are going to have to work out."

The five conditions set by the ZBA with its approval were:

• Limiting the hours of operation to those proposed by Jreij: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and closed on Sundays;

• Directing any exhaust fumes to be vented out the roof or out of the rear of the building;

• Installing additional curb stops to block off patrons from parking on St. Martin's area of the parking lot;

• Having parking lot lighting to be approved by either the Planning Board or Town Engineer Michael Santora; and,

• Giving Jreij 12 months to board up or replace the windows on the side of the building abutting St. Martin's property.

"It's not going to stop it," DeLuca said about the windows being replaced or bricked up. "It's just going to make it [the noise] duller."

The ZBA also voted to remove a condition from a special permit it recently granted to Elembranitina DeCastro for her nail salon in her 7 Hillside Ave. home. DeCastro now no longer needs to create an off-street parking space for her customers.


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