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Auto-body shop's zoning permit revoked for violation

An auto-body shop's failure to operate under the conditions of its zoning permit resulted in the permit's revocation Monday by the Tonawanda Town Board.

It also turns out that Expert Paint doesn't have a repair-shop license; it was revoked last fall by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

The board's action followed a public hearing during which Carl Heimiller, the town's supervising code enforcement officer, summarized the violations at 707 Kenmore Ave., and Todd Lorenzo, the shop's manager, tried to defend them.

"I feel for you," Councilman John A. Bargnesi Jr. told Lorenzo. "I think you're in a bad situation. I don't think you got yourself [there]."

Lawmakers had voted unanimously to revoke the special-use permit granted in 2003 to Thomas H. Diebel, who apparently no longer is involved with the business.

Heimiller said the permit was issued with multiple conditions recommended by the Planning Board and approved by the Town Board. The first complaint came a year later, he said, and the number of violations for which the business has been cited stands at 17.

Those violations include multiple occasions of exceeding the 13-vehicle limit on the property. Heimiller said he counted 28 there Monday morning; the number has been as high as 43.

The shop also has exceeded the limit of two unlicensed vehicles on the premises, and there have been many property maintenance-related violations.

"Up until now, I haven't heard of 15 of these," Lorenzo said Monday night, acknowledging two instances of exceeding the 13-vehicle limit.

Violation notices had been sent to Diebel, whose name is on the special-use permit. Diebel wasn't at the hearing and "wants nothing to do with ownership anymore," Lorenzo said.

The permit could be transferred to Lorenzo, but not with the current state of things -- particularly the lack of a state license. A license is required to complete the permit application, Heimiller said.

Lorenzo claims that his attorney met with someone from the DMV last week to take care of the license. The Town Board was advised to wait for it.

"I would not recommend transferring a special-use permit until you're sure," Town Attorney Daniel T. Cavarello said. "There's too many variables."

"You're not going to be able to operate -- you realize that," Bargnesi told Lorenzo. "I understand," Lorenzo said.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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