A longtime town ordinance prohibits used car dealerships from being within 2,000 feet each of other, Moldoff said. There were concerns years ago there would be too many used car dealerships along the busy commercial strip, he said.
The ordinance does not apply to dealerships that sell new vehicles, Moldoff said. The property is in a commercial industrial district. The owner of Toy Auto Sales, Mike Chandler, could not be reached yesterday for comment.
This would be just one of several projects planned at 23 S. Broadway in recent years. Those proposals were either rejected by town boards or abandoned because of various planning obstacles, according to Scott.
Two months ago, Scott said, he gave up on plans to develop the site after he and business partner Dennis Metayer were told by Planning Board members in 2011 that a proposed 91,800-square-foot construction and demolition recycling center was not an ideal use for the site.
“The town of Salem is extremely difficult to deal with,” he said. “I just want out of Salem.”
Scott and Metayer purchased the property in January 2006 for $3.6 million. The property is now assessed at $2.4 million, most of that for the 5 acres of land.
Shortly after the purchase, they proposed razing the building to build a pharmacy, restaurant and bread company, but dropped the plans. A year later, they considered razing just the plant’s additions, which were about 20 years old at the time. Some planning officials opposed razing the building, Scott said.
After several appearances before the Planning Board, a proposal for a shopping plaza was approved by the board in January 2009. But before final approval was received, prospective tenants said they were no longer interested and the project was abandoned.