By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Selectboard held a public hearing at its meeting on Monday, 8/7, for the transfer of a car repair license from Jerry’s Auto Service to A#1 Crane Company.
Patrick Carr from A#1 Crane and Jerry Bettencourt from Jerry’s told the board that A#1 was only repairing their own vehicles at the Middle Street site, with Mr. Bettencourt as the mechanic. Mr. Carr said he wanted to keep the same license that Mr. Bettencourt had when he owned the property because it was worth more with it.
Mr. Carr also asked for the site plan requirement to be waived, saying he had an old site survey that should be acceptable, although the engineer was a Rhode Island company. The license allows for 46 cars. Mr. Carr also said he wanted no time restrictions on hours of operation.
“We want the same license Jerry had,” said Mr. Carr, recalling a planning board meeting that brought out a lot of business owners concerned about bylaw changes that board wanted to make governing car repair shops.
Mr. Carr said he was paying a price for the property based on the ability to run an auto repair shop there.
“It was a repair shop since the 1950s, always has been,” said Mr. Carr, adding that he was making no major changes to the building. “Jerry is the mechanic there now..”
He said the only thing absent is the public coming in and out.
Mr. Carr also said he wanted to keep the ability to have warehouse storage, another asset to the property.
The board approved the license on the condition that Mr. Rees finds the site plan sufficient. No members of the public commented at the hearing.
In another matter, the board also met with members of the Fairhaven Housing Authority to appoint someone to fill the position of Thomas Arsenault who resigned due to health issues.
John Farrell, a member of the Planning Board who had run for FHA, and Julia Mitchell both expressed interest in the slot.
Members of the two boards voted unanimously for Mr. Farrell, citing his professional experience in property management.
Ms. Mitchell expressed an interest in joining the board for reasons that seemed more appropriate for a volunteer position working directly with residents, said FHA chairperson Jay Simmons. He suggested that Ms. Mitchell talk to the FHA executive director.
The board also discussed the controversy over moving free publications from the front of the main entrance to Town Hall.
Town Administrator Mark Rees had the publications, including the business brochure rack and Board of Health Materials, moved to the west entrance. After a short time, the publications were moved back to the main entrance, but were placed up the stairs behind the railing.
Editor Beth David of the Fairhaven Neighborhood News wrote a letter asking that the publications be put back in their traditional place.
Mr. Rees said that after the materials were moved so that the custodian could clean the floors, he thought the uncluttered look enhanced the “historical nature of the building,” so he decided to move them.
Selectboard member Daniel Freitas said the whole discussion was “silly” and a “waste of our time.” He showed photos of the front lobby and said the new location was just a few feet away from the old location.
Selectboard member Charles Murphy said he had gotten calls both pro and con, and one person promised to sue the town if he slipped on a publication that was on the stairs.
Selectboard chairperson Bob Espindola said he had asked that the BOH materials be moved back to the front lobby.
All three board members said they liked the new location.
James Leal also spoke, saying he agreed with the move, but making it clear he would not want the chair of honor moved. He was instrumental in getting the chair placed in town hall, in honor of all service members who were prisoners of war or missing in action.
“While I’m alive, that’s not gonna move,” said Mr. Leal.
The board decided that moving the papers was Mr. Rees’s decision.
They will stay behind the railing.
In his report, Mr. Rees told the board that the town hall has new security cameras and an updated alarm system. There are eight cameras, seven outside and one aimed at the foyer, with a monitoring terminal in the Selectboard office.
Mr. Rees also told the board that the town was going to receive a grant for $72,000 for the marine safety terminal at Union Wharf from the Seaport Council. Town Meeting already voted in a $20,000 town match to get the grant.
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