EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 7, 2014

Town closes salvage yard

Neighbors complain of late-night traffic

SALEM — A longtime salvage yard has been shut down by the town after neighbors complained of late-night traffic and noise.

Rocco’s Used Auto Parts at 55 Park Ave. was ordered to close yesterday, according to Town Manager Keith Hickey.

Michael McClellan, who has owned the business for 10 years, said he can’t afford to hire a lawyer to fight the decision. A salvage yard has operated at the site since 1967.

“Now, I’m stuck with a big mortgage and land I can do nothing with,” he said. “I don’t know what to do now.”

Selectmen voted unanimously Monday not to renew Rocco’s permit to operate following a lengthy public hearing over two nights.

For nearly two hours, many of the more than two dozen residents who packed the room each night told selectmen that large trucks, excessive noise, toxic fumes and constant traffic were destroying their neighborhood.

“There is a lot of traffic, a lot of speeding cars,” said Heather Vigeant of 40 Park. Ave. “I just feel it’s a safety issue.”

Vigeant was among six people who spoke Monday night before the board decided not to renew the one-year permit.

Selectman Stephen Campbell said the business was a “public nuisance” and should be closed. Selectman James Keller agreed.

Keller said there have been problems at the site since 2006 and McClellan failed to respond to letters from the town’s attorney.

“There has been a pattern and I don’t see any reason the pattern is going to change,” Keller said. “I think the evidence is self-evident.”

Neighbors complained about large trucks passing through the neighborhood, blocking driveways and backing up near where children play.

They also said people would stop off at Rocco’s late at night and as early as 2 a.m. to look at used cars.

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