LONDONDERRY — A controversial Hall Road junkyard was granted a 60-day license extension by the Town Council Monday night, giving attorneys on both sides more time to investigate the latest series of complaints.
Each year around this time, junkyard owner Ed Dudek finds himself back at Town Hall for the latest round in what those around town now simply refer to as “junkyard wars.”’
Last summer, Dudek was granted a license renewal after assuring town officials he’d comply with the rules.
Dudek, of Bedford, has operated Murray’s Auto Recycling at 55 Hall Road since 1997, though the business itself has been on the town books since the 1950s.
Senior Building Inspector Richard Canuel said there’s been a number of complaints and court actions surrounding Murray’s over the years, and this year has been no exception.
He noted that Dudek was issued an enforcement notice by the town earlier this year, and since then, town officials haven’t seen any cars piled above the fence. However, Canuel said neighbors continue to complain about Dudek allegedly conducting business outside of the junkyard’s permitted operating hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We’ve had numerous reports about the delivering of junk vehicles after closure or before opening,” Canuel said. He noted that in previous years, such deliveries have already been determined by Town Council to constitute “operating outside of permitted hours.”
Neighbors have also complained about Dudek parking flatbed trucks and other “equipment” outside of the fence, which they consider an eyesore in their residential zone.
“I haven’t personally witnessed any outside-of-hours operations,” Canuel said. “But I have seen the trucks parked in the front.”
Canuel said his year-end inspection of the Murray’s revealed no further concerns. “As far as internal operations, it appears (Dudek) is operating his junkyard properly,” Canuel said.
Hall Road neighbors Gerard and Claudet Adams have expressed frustrations over the junkyard for many years, as has fellow neighbor Richard Bielinski.
“There have been complaints throughout the year,” Gerard Adams told the council on Monday.
All three have attended various Town Council meetings and court appearances over the years, in hopes of reaching an arrangement with their neighbor all four could live with. So far it has been to no avail.
Bielinski said he photographed a flatbed truck parked outside of the fence earlier Monday. “Ed has already been told that 5 p.m. closing time means just that,” he added. “That means no trucks coming in at six, seven or eight o’clock at night.”
Dudek attended Monday night’s public hearing, but did not speak.
His attorney, Amy Ciacco asked the town to extend Dudek’s license by 60 days, which will give her some time to work with Londonderry Town Attorney Mike Ramsdell — and hopefully arrive at “a more agreeable set of conditions.”
“This comes up every single year,” she said. “So this will give us some time to bring the facts more into focus.”
“I don’t have a problem with that,” Councilor Tom Freda said. “Provided, of course, that (Dudek) strictly adheres to the rules until then, with no excuses.”
Council Chairman Tom Dolan reminded Dudek that, in the meantime, he has court orders to refrain from parking his equipment in front of the fence, so that’s non-negotiable.
“That’s straight from a judge and that’s pretty black-and-white,” Dolan told him.
Councilors later unanimously approved license renewals for the town’s two other junkyards: S & S Metals at 196 Rockingham Road and Londonderry Salvage at 211 Rockingham Road.
Both licenses were granted without incident.
The public hearing on the license renewal for Murray’s Auto Recycling has been continued to the Monday, Aug. 11 Town Council meeting.