Aldermen seek legal opinion over used-car lot - Daily Times Chronicle: Woburn

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- North Woburn ... Aldermen seek legal opinion over used-car lot

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Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 8:15 am

WOBURN - Now seeking legal advise to see if the petition is even properly before them, the City Council's Public Safety and License Committee again declined to renew a used car license for a North Woburn property owner.

Early last month, at the urging of Ward 6 Alderman Michael Raymond, members of the committee refused to renew the third class car sale license for Woburn Auto Sales at 1095R Main St., where property owner Robert Holland has been questioned on operating a scrap metal business.

During a meeting in City Hall this week, with the application for renewal still unaddressed, the North Woburn alderman challenged whether the renewal application was even properly before the City Council, as technically, the original license was never issued to Holland.

"This is a renewal, and the original license was never issued, because the name Holland chose [for the used car dealership] was already being used," said Raymond, explaining that in any case, that city permit expired on Dec. 31. "I think [this request] should be for a new license."

In a unanimous vote, and without any major discussion, the Public Safety and License Committee agreed to seek clarification from City Solicitor Ellen Callahan Doucette.

The land in question, a 17,000-square-foot lot located at the tip of the city's northern limits near the Wilmington line, has a long history of being used as junk yard for used auto parts. When Holland purchased the site a few years ago, he continued to operate the non-conforming sales use at the site, which is set back off of Route 38 near Breed Avenue.

Last spring, Holland approached the City Council for permission to operate a used car dealership, a request that came with Raymond's endorsement, since the new property owner had taken significant steps to clean-up the site.

That license was granted, largely because all of those sales would be conducted over the Internet, with viewings of the car inventory being made by appointment only.

However, in late October — with that license still sitting in City Clerk William Campbell's office — the Ward 6 Alderman learned that the petitioner intended to open a scrap metal business, a use that is not permitted in the zoning district.

Further infuriating the alderman and neighbors, Holland has also dug up the site and changed its topography, resulting in what they say is a drainage issue near a contaminated landfill site and the Superfund site in Wilmington.

According to Building Inspector Thomas Quinn, he issued a cease and desist order to Holland on Oct. 7, after the city officials visited the site upon fielding a number of complaints from abutters.

Holland, represented by local attorney Joseph Tarby, has appealed Quinn's ruling to the city's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Neither the petitioner nor his lawyer were in attendance at this week's meeting in City Hall.

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