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Salvage permit denial upheld by Salem selectmen

SALEM — Selectmen made short work of a request to reconsider its May 5 vote to deny a permit renewal to Rocco’s Used Auto Parts at 55 Park Ave.

The board unanimously voted not to reconsider the denial at its Monday night meeting. Selectmen Chairman Pat Hargreaves noted there would be no public input prior to the reconsideration vote. Selectman Stephen Campbell made the motion to deny the reconsideration and it was voted on with no further comment from the board.

The salvage yard will be able to remain open until at least June 5 and could file an appeal in Superior Court, which could allow the business to remain open longer while the case is litigated.

Hargreaves said if the business does appeal through the courts, the courts could issue a stay of the board’s denial and allow Rocco’s to operate pending a final decision by the court.

However, if the permit is not renewed and no appeal is received, Town Manager Keith Hickey said June 5 is the last day the salvage yard will be allowed to legally operate.

After hearing testimony during public hearings in April and on May 5, selectmen unanimously voted to deny the license renewal for Rocco’s Used Auto Parts.

Selectmen agreed that the salvage yard has been a nuisance to its neighbors over the past several years, noting public testimony and a list of potential violations filed with the town.

Owner Michael McClellan has operated the business for about a decade and said he was willing to work with the town to scale down operations somewhat.

However, the amount of testimony and evidence from neighbors, as well the lengthy list of violations, was enough to convince selectmen to deny the permit renewal.

In making the motion to deny the permit renewal earlier in May, Campbell stated the business constitutes a public nuisance under state statute.

In addition to the neighbors who spoke about noise, fumes, and safety concerns at the business over the past decade, Selectman James Keller pointed to an inch-plus file of papers giving notices of violations dating to 2006.

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