Planning Board questions Main Street Used Car Lot

Jul 9, 2019

Requests from the Planning Board have prospective business owner John Mello questioning whether he will be able to open a used car lot, Gateway Motors, on Main Street at all.

At the Board’s Monday night meeting, members emphasized the importance of improving the property at 349 Main Street, which has a notably large curb cut and once housed a fish market.

The business’s plans call for relatively minor alterations to the property to accommodate a total of 47 cars, all but two of which would be stored behind the building on the left side of the property, near Dunkin Donuts.

The owners would install a wheelchair ramp, add a sign to the front of the building, add three lights to illuminate the lot, and enclose the site with a black vinyl-coated chain link security fence. Any work that needed to be done to the cars, including maintenance, washing, and detailing, would be done off-site.

A small shed near the rear of the property would be torn down and replaced with crushed stone.

Gateway Motors would occupy only half of the smaller building, and is considering renting out the other half as office space.

Currently, the prospective owners – whose purchase of the property depends on approval of the used car lot – don’t have concrete plans for the rest of the site, which includes the larger building on the right side of the lot. The lack of definitive plans for the whole property was an issue for some board members.

Additionally, board members encouraged the prospective owners to narrow the curb cut, which stretches for approximately 200 feet, and is often used by motorists as a place to turn around when driving on Main Street.

“If that curb cut is left there, you’re suggesting that parking will be taking place there right off of main street,” said Board member Emmanuel Daskalak. “You need to control it. You need to consider how the frontage will be used at the moment.”

Mello replied that if he extends the curb, it could make the other pieces of the property less attractive to tenants, and noted that developing the property is a big risk.

Chair George Barrett said that the board wasn’t requiring a curb, but wanted to see landscaping — “a little finesse in the front.”

Board members agreed that they wanted to see landscaping or other work done to make the property more visually appealing, in addition to the clean-up promised by Mello.

Gateway Motors’ license has already been approved by the Board of Selectmen. The hearing will continue on July 22, at which point adjusted plans will be presented.