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USED-CAR DEALER LOSES BID TO CONTINUE SALES

A used-car dealer's bid to continue selling vehicles on the site of a Cheektowaga flea market was rejected Thursday by a judge.

State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang upheld a town Zoning Board of Appeals decision that prevents Thomas C. Aquilino from selling cars at the flea market, the Super Flea Market at 2500 Walden Ave.

The sale of cars is a "non-conforming use" under zoning codes, which permit retail sales of smaller items at the site, said Kevin G. Schenk, deputy attorney for the town.

Schenk said Aquilino has been selling several cars each week for years at the front of the flea market site without the proper town permits.

Judge Wolfgang also rejected Aquilino's contention that the zoning board had a conflict of interest in the case because board member Peter Rybka is the father of town tax receiver Joan E. Dudek. Mrs. Dudek is one of nearly 40 Cheektowaga homeowners who publicly protested the proposed used car lot.

Schenk said Rybka abstained from the disputed vote.

Schenk said the site was rezoned in 1977 and Aquilino, by his own estimate, has been selling cars at the site, periodically for only the last 11 years.

Bruce S. Zeftel, Aquilino's lawyer, told Schenk he will notify the town shortly about either a possible appeal of Wolfgang's ruling or another bid by Aquilino for a town permit.

The former GEX store property was bought in 1975 by Benderson Development Co. of Buffalo, which won a 1977 court case against the town permitting outdoor retail sales on the property. The Benderson suit prompted the change in zoning at the site.

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