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Mike's Given 30 Days to Halt On-Site Used Car Storage

The Hamilton Board of Selectmen voted on Monday night to give Mike's Auto 30 days to remove the used cars that are being stored at the downtown business.

A downtown Hamilton auto repair shop has been given 30 days to stop storing used cars on its its property.

was first issued a Class II motor vehicles dealers license by the Hamilton Board of Selectmen in 2008 that allows it to broker used car sales from the site but does not allow cars to be stored on the property, on Route 1A just north of the Wenham town line.

“They are, by all appearances, in violation of their Class II license,” said Town Manager Michael Lombardo on Monday.

There are four Class II motor vehicle dealer’s licenses in Hamilton and none of them allow the cars to be stored on site, Lombardo said.

The Board of Selectmen, wehn it met on Monday night, gave Mike’s 30 days to remove the used cars from the property. There are about eight used cars for sale on the property.

David Neill, the newest selectmen who was also elected chairman on Monday night, said it was a “shot across the bow” and “not a hammer.”

“I think it’s a fair warning and a good start,” Neill said, later adding it gives Mike’s a chance to keep its license by complying with the terms of the license.

Lombardo said Mike’s Auto has not petitioned the Board of Selectmen, which issues Class II motor vehicle dealer’s license, to make changes to the terms of the license.

The 30 days to comply is “imminently fair,” according to Selectman Marc Johnson.

“Hopefully he can do it quicker,” said Selectmen Jennifer Scuteri. “Hopefully this fixes it.”

One selectmen, Jeff Stinson, said Mike’s Auto has been in violation for at least six weeks and should be given less than 30 days to comply. But he also said Mike's has been in good standing, otherwise, for many years and later voted to agree with the other four board member to give the business 30 days to comply.

Jim Kroesser, the Hamilton attorney that represents Mike’s, had not returned two phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment last week, after applications were submitted to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. Those applications, that seek site plan review and other permits sell used cars from the site, are pending but Planning Board member Rick Mitchell told the Board of Selectmen that he felt the Class II license “trumps” and zoning decisions. Neil said the Board of Selectmen do not make any decisions about zoning enforcement.

One wrinkle is that the license that was issued to Mike’s did not say on it that he was barred for storing the cars on site.

Kroesser previously told the Zoning Board that Mike’s owner, Mike Holland, did not know about the restriction that cars could not be stored on site.

“Every condition is not on every permit,” Johnson said on Monday night.

The condition was included during the Selectmen’s meeting where the permit was approved.

“We granted the license with a condition and the condition has not been met,” Neill said.

The board said it would later take up discussion about the aesthetics of downtown, in general. While Monday’s decision addresses a “highly focused legal issue, there may be broader issues we need to put on our plate,” Neill said.

john June 05, 2012 at 12:28 PM
But they could have their lot filled with cars that need repair, correct? How can anyone tell the difference?
Lindsay Mazzetta June 05, 2012 at 12:55 PM
That's Hamilton for you, they find any little thing to complain about. I don't see why they can't just let him sell the cars, he has them looking very nice on his lot, it doesn't look like a junk yard like other gas stations in the area.
Richard June 05, 2012 at 01:32 PM
This past weekend, the Mobil station across the street from Mike's had 20 vehicles parked outside. The Gulf station had 10 cars and 2 boats parked outside. And Asbury Street Motors and its repair shop neighbor had 13 vehicles, some in very poor shape, to put it politely, parked outside. Why does Hamilton insist that Mike's, with 6 vehicles outside, all in good shape, are somehow an eyesore? Apparently they would prefer to drive him from the town and be left with a vacant lot. If you go to Marblehead, you can see what that looks like. Mike is a hardworking local mechanic. He deserves better!
Michelle Bailey June 05, 2012 at 05:55 PM
What's wrong with having cars parked in front of a business in the downtown? Last I checked, cars park along the street or in side lots throughout the area to visit business in downtown. What's the difference if the cars are parked there to run into a shop, be repaired or are available for sale? Should he follow the process to get a licence to sell cars on-site? Yes! but he also should not be harassed for trying to do so.
Ron Powell June 06, 2012 at 05:17 AM
A lot filled with parked cars is not the most aesthetically pleasing site, whether the cars are there for repair or resale. But there are differences in the way that vehicle dealers display their goods outdoors in order to attract prospective buyers, and the positioning of the vehicles could create potential traffic and fire access problems. So there are legitimate reasons for town planners and zoning boards for restricting where dealers can store vehicles. But I also note from having read some of the previous articles about Mike's Auto, that comments from members of these boards have seemed unusually personal and hostile.
Steph June 06, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I hadn't even noticed the darn cars until the ZB brought it up. And even now I don't notice them driving by. It's certainly not an eyesore, especially with the other garages, repaired cars, parking on street, etc. It doesn't look like a Kelly Nissan car extravaganze, it's just some cars parked out front. Pick a better battle over zoning.
Jeff Stinson June 09, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I have to agree with all. We are trying to make it easier to business in Hamilton, yet we don't let our struggling businesses take the necessary steps to stay afloat. Mike is a great guy and just trying to make a living. Unfortunately, here we had a permit that clearly specified that the cars bought at the auction could not be stored on site... it was an issue of law more than reason.
Anne Sweeney June 10, 2012 at 06:53 PM
The town should offer him the opportunity to become compliant, collect the necessary fees and it's a win/win for the town and for Mike's Auto.
Michelle Bailey June 10, 2012 at 07:44 PM
His current license says no on-site storage of vehicles for sale. Perhaps the Board of Selectman could consider removing that restriction from the license they issued him in 2008.
disgust June 14, 2012 at 08:43 PM
why doesn't everyone come on down to Mike's and look at all FIVE of the licenses issued and paid for every year by Mike that have NO stipulations on them what so ever. even his biz certificate from the town reads for "used car sales" this town issues a dealer licenses to residential individuals.......come on now....Mike has a legit biz with all the proper documentation to prove it...been selling cars for awhile now......LEAVE MIKE ALONE ALREADY!!!!!!!!
Eric Bosloor January 28, 2013 at 03:53 AM
This is very informative to read about authorities being alert and well informed about storage issues like these. This gives us some confidence that those who are in violation will not go on doing so, especially for us who are in the storage business. This also gives the confidence to clients who are not only in search of cheap storage, but at least the service that we provide. If we violate any of this set of compliance, we lose the confidence of our clients. It would be really bad for the business, and it would quite hard for us to gain that back. http://www.supercheapstorage.com.au

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