Selectmen Strip Salvage Yard PermitMay 16, 2014
by S. Aaron Shamshoyan
After multiple complaints by neighbors, Selectmen voted to strip a local business of its operating privileges, citing safety, environmental, and legal concerns.
The Salem Board of Selectmen voted unanimously on May 5 to not renew Rocco’s Used Auto Parts salvage permit, citing testimony from neighbors that the business has become a nuisance.
A salvage yard has been allowed on the Park Avenue property for decades, but neighbors say the business has expanded from the origin of the variance.
Walter Williams of Granite Avenue said two previous owners failed with the property because it was only intended to be a small business.
“It’s beyond ridiculous,” Williams said. “Both yards failed.”
Williams added a previous expansion proposal had been shot down and that cars are parked in a buffer zone.
Greg Eden of Granite Avenue agreed. “It is by no means anywhere near what it was 50 years ago,” he said.
Eden feared other business was happening on the property as well saying he has seen “taxicabs from Boston pulling in with no one else but the driver.”
Debbie Smith said she called the police department about a strong paint smell, and the police officer, in return, called the fire department.
Smith said the smell raised health concerns and created a nuisance when outside the home.
Selectman James Keller said the town had received a stack of complaints about the property over an inch thick. “There’s been a pattern,” he said.
Selectman Stephen Campbell made the motion not to renew Rocco’s operating permit, which was required to be renewed annually by the town.
The property is owned by Rockingham Auto Metal Recyclers Michael McClellan, who did not speak at the meeting.
Previously McClellan requested the additional meeting seeking to bring his lawyer.
The operating permit had expired prior to the original meeting about the renewal.