WOBURN - Though there were concerns about the off-loading of car carriers at the dealership itself, the City Council this week voted unanimously to grant a special permit to Lawless Chrysler Jeep to use a lot on New Boston Street for overflow parking of its vehicles.
Located on Lexington Street at the Four Corners intersection in West Woburn, Lawless will shuttle cars from the New Boston Street lot as space at the dealership allows. This is the fourth special permit issued to Lawless for off-site parking. The dealer also uses a lot at 193 Main St. in the South End, which it owns. Two leased locations, on Forbes Road in East Woburn and Micro Drive near the Winchester line, are no longer available.
The latest accessory lot is located at 317 New Boston St., in the Woburn Industrial Park, on the Wilmington side of the New Boston Street bridge, according to Murtha Cullina attorney Brett Heyman, representing Lawless.
"This is the perfect property for this type of use," said Ward 6 Alderman Michael Raymond, whose district includes the industrial park.
Ward 7 Alderman Raymond Drapeau, whose district includes most of the West Side, said he was concerned about the off-loading of the car carriers at the dealership, which he said tends to block traffic in the area.
"It might be a better idea to bring the car carriers to (New Boston Street) rather than create a dangerous situation at Four Corners," Drapeau said. "I'm looking for some relief and some more efficiency with the way the dealership is operated at its (main) location."
Jeff Wray, operations manager at Lawless, said the car carriers deliver to the Lexington Street site because there is no security in place at the off-site lots. Wray said he would look into "a better way to unload the car carriers" in West Woburn, however.
Drapeau suggested leaving space in a "horseshoe" configuration at the dealership, to at least get the car carriers off the street.
Ward 1 Alderman Rosa DiTucci, whose district includes the Lawless site on Lexington Street, agreed with Drapeau that the car carriers are a concern and added she has spoken to Lawless management about the issue.
DiTucci suggested erecting sings on the lot "to direct car carriers where they need to go" instead of parking on the street.
"You have the opportunity to do this the right way," DiTucci said.
Ward 5 Alderman Darlene Mercr-Bruen said "it seems like (Lawless has) an awful lot of requests for parking" off-site, to which Wray replied the lots on Micro Drive and Forbes Road became unavailable once the building was leased, which was a condition of the special permits when they were issued.
Raymond asked if Lawless would stripe the parking lot on New Boston Street. Wray replied he would speak to the property owner to see if that could be done.
In response to a question from Ward 2 Alderman Richard Gately, Wray said the vehicles at the New Boston Street site would be cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks, but nothing larger.
"I know this building (on New Boston Street) pretty good, and I think you'll be fine," Gately said.
The only person from the audience to speak during the public hearing was Woburn Business Association Executive Director Michael Meaney, who said Lawless "has a long history of doing good business in the city" and urged the council to approve the permit. Meaney added the New Boston Street site is in a "100 percent industrial" area and the lot will have "no impact on the residents of the city of Woburn whatsoever."
To its approval, the council added five conditions suggested by the Planning Board, including a limit of 60 cars at the New Boston Street site. Lawless will be required to submit a monthly car count to the city's Building Commissioner, and there will be no parking on New Boston Street or in the handicapped spaces in the lot.
The council also added a sixth condition that the permit is not transferable, in case Lawless leaves the site.