By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – At its March 22 meeting, the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen were asked to approve several changes for the operation of Mass Auto Sales at 56 Hartford Turnpike. The agenda item stated that the hearing was for the purpose of being granted both a Class II License for increasing the allowable car lot spaces at the site and granting a Garage License to allow repairs to be done on site for motor vehicles. Appearing for the business were four individuals including Maria Guedes and Fernando Dasilva.
The petition asked for permission to combine on the Hartford Turnpike lot both motor vehicle sales and service/repair, moving vehicles now located at the owners’ other lot in Worcester to the Shrewsbury site. Mass Auto Sales’ website in Worcester currently lists 39 cars and trucks for sale on the lot. The petition asked for an increase in the allowable number of vehicles at the Shrewsbury lot be increased from 75 to 90 as well as permission to perform vehicle repair at the same site. According to the background information, in 2012 the Shrewsbury lot obtained a permit to keep as many as 75 vehicles on site by special permit through the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the business was now asking for the number to be raised to 90 to allow both vehicles for sale and vehicles on site for repair.
Guedes assured Selectman James Kane that the business had some years of experience in both sales and repair and that she wanted to move both operations onto one site in Shrewsbury. Selectman Chair Moira Miller then noted that the plan submitted to the board showed more than 90 spaces for vehicles and while the lot picture submitted was incomplete, seemed to show more than 90 spaces with one space labeled “number 125.” The owner then elaborated that in the original request for spaces, she had requested 125 but the number had been decreased to just 75 by the ZBA. It seems that the previous lot tenant had requested in 2000 a limit of 125 vehicles but was turned down, with a subsequent request for 90 that was in turn approved for only 75.
“The plan is confusing,” said Selectman John Lebeaux. “Plus, there are additional, non-labeled lots on the site.”
Selectmen Henry Fitzgerald and Miller added that their understanding was that the ZBA had previously agreed not to approve the number of vehicle spots on a lot with which the selectmen were uncomfortable.
Town Manager Daniel Morgado stated that if the owner wanted to increase the lot allowance to over 75 she would first have to apply for such from the ZBA again. She replied that this was, in fact, pending for April. Morgado continued that the town didn’t want to see any confusion regarding which vehicle on the lot was for sale and which was there just for service or repair.
An additional issue was possible use of an indoor car wash on the site. The petitioner said that there was a possibility of resurrecting it for use with the business, to which Morgado and the board replied that if so, no water or waste could be allowed to flow outside the building and possibly contaminate the surrounding land or lake. To this the owner agreed.
With no public comment, the hearing was closed and a motion was solicited by the chair. DePalo replied that he was comfortable with a limit of 75 cars on the lot. He then moved to authorize a Class II License and Garage License with a provision that there be no discharge from a car wash into the lake or surrounding properties. The motion was approved unanimously.