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Salem ZBA makes way for auto businesses in Pelham Road building

SALEM — Minor automotive repair and maintenance businesses will be allowed at an industrially-zoned building at 34 Pelham Road.

The town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment recently approved a blanket variance for the building, but it did set stipulations that limit the hours that vehicles could be dropped off at the building, as well as regarding the overnight outdoor storage of vehicles at the site.

Several ZBA members did express concerns about just how minor the repairs allowed at the building would be, with member Steven Diantgikis casting the lone dissenting vote against the variance.

The request for the variance from Michael Young came on the heels of a ZBA approval last month allowing for indoor car sales and minor repairs in one unit of the building.

“Subsequently, there are several other tenants that would like to move into the building who have very similar types of uses they are proposing,” said Joseph Maynard of Benchmark Engineering, representing the applicant.

After speaking with town Planning Director Ross Moldoff, Maynard said it was decided that it might be easier to apply for a blanket variance for the entire building rather than having individual requests before the ZBA whenever they come up.

Some of the indoor uses that would be allowed include brake work, tune ups, window replacements, and occasional motor work, according to Maynard.

“That sounds like a full-blown repair shop,” countered ZBA Chairman Gary Azarian.

Diantgikis agreed that it sounded like what was being proposed stretched beyond light repairs.

“I think of light repairs to be like an oil change or a brake job,” said Diantgikis.

Azarian said the stipulations limiting overnight vehicle drop-offs and storage should take care of some potential concerns. He also noted that future plans would have to go before the Planning Board for its approval.

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