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Pittsfield Used Car Dealer Complies With Fire Department Citation

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Newell Street Transmission has complied with the Fire Department's request to improve the parking situation on the used car lot.
 
Fire inspectors cited the company during the summer saying the way the vehicles were being stored on the property posed a fire hazard. Fire Inspector Randy Stein was particularly concern with the rear of the building, which he felt didn't provide access to the building in case of an emergency, and the distance between vehicles so that fires don't quickly spread from vehicle to vehicle.
 
Owner Robert Gaylord has since crafted a new parking plan, specifically outlining where various vehicles will go, from customer parking to employees to cars for sale. The number of cars for sale on the lot will actually increase from 41 to 45.
 
"It will increase the amount for sale but it will decrease the fire hazard," Stein said.
 
The inspector said there is still work to be done in clearing out the back lot of the property. But, the Fire Department is willing to sign off on the new parking plan.
 
One neighbor, however, told the Licensing Board on Monday that he has concerns with the company parking vehicles on the roadway. He said Gaylord has been parking his vehicles for sale along the side of the road for greater visibility. He wants stricter enforcement on keeping those vehicles on the property.
 
 "They are put out in the street for public view. At times there have been eight, 10 cars out there," he said.
 
In other business, RBS Automotive has been unknowingly operating without the correct license. Owner Robert Skubel had been looking to move his business to rented space on Fenn Street. He filed the paperwork to do so and the landlord had then filled the space with other vehicles for sale. 
 
"I technically never left 100 Linden," Skubel said.
 
However, that didn't stop the license from being transferred to the other address. Skubel said his intention is to have the Fenn Street lot act as an overflow. He wants his license for Linden Street to be extended for a dozen or so vehicles to be stored there. 
 
But the license, however, had already been completely switched to the new address. Skubel now has to get the license transferred back, which is expected to happen next month, and then figure out the application process to have an off-premise lot for those extra vehicles.
 
"Some times you pick up a few extra cars at the auction," Skubel said. "Ideally, I'd like to find something closer."
 
The issue came back to the city as the Fire Department tagged the vehicles on the Fenn Street lot and assumed the vehicles were Skubels. Since the citing, those vehicles were moved off of the lot.
 
With the switch back, Stein said he wants an updated parking plan for the Linden Street location, including employee, staff, and parking for tenants of the apartments will be located.
 
"The Fire Department would like to see a revised plot plan to return the license back to Linden Street," Stein said.
 
In other business, attorney Thomas Hamel, representing Berkshire Bank, said he expects the Elbow Room to be sold. The bank has a pledge on the license and Hamel said after Elbow Room founder Bruce Mendel died last year, the loan went into default. 
 
Hamel asked the Licensing Board to gives it approval on that pledge, which he said was issued years ago but never received local approval. That pledge then coupled the bank loan to the property and the license.
 
"The goal would be to work with the estate to sell the real estate and the license," Hamel said.
 
Last month, however, Holly Magri, Mendel's daughter, said she is hoping to re-open the establishment but needed more time to work through the estate and will. 
 
Hamel said he doesn't believe Magri will be able to re-open and if the estate doesn't find a buyer, then the bank could step in and auction off the property, license, and the assets inside the building.

Tags: licensing board,   

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