By Christopher Roberson
Eighteen months after a three-alarm fire ravaged his commercial building at 5 Fifth St., property owner David Harrison gained unanimous approval from the City Council for a Special Permit allowing CEVA Logistics to operate a truck terminal out of his new building.
During the council’s Jan. 11 meeting, Attorney Craig Tateronis, counsel for Harrison; spoke about his client’s character.
“When Dave met with neighbors after the fire, what he said was, ‘I’m sorry for the smoke,’” said Tateronis, adding that Harrison hosted a cookout for all the first responders.
Ward 1 City Councillor Jonathan Turco also spoke highly of Harrison.
“Dave Harrison is one of the best owners and people that I have ever been involved with in my two years on the council,” he said.
Since the blaze, which broke out on July 12, 2016, Harrison said he installed a fire suppression system in the new building, which includes a booster system in case the primary system were to malfunction. He has also put in more than 2,200 solar panels on the roof.
City Councillor-at-Large Anne Manning-Martin asked why that location was chosen for a truck terminal.
“Is this the highest and best use?” she asked.
In response, Tateronis said the site’s traffic study did not suggest a major uptick in volume.
“The number of trips is going to be fairly low,” he said. “Most of this traffic will be on First Avenue, it won’t impact Jubilee Drive.”
Harrison also said there is a growing need for truck terminals.
“We’re becoming online consumers, we’re ordering stuff and it’s being delivered to our homes – there’s a demand there,” he said.
The council also unanimously approved a Special Permit for Korvachei Hernandez and Daniel Melo to operate an automotive repair shop on Foster Street, which includes tire sales.
Contrary to what was originally stated on the application, parking will not be available in the rear of the building. However, three spaces will be available in the front.
Although parking has been a primary concern among the abutters, Attorney Athan Vontzalides, counsel for Hernandez and Melo, said those concerns have been assuaged. He also said that overnight parking and parking on abutters’ property will be prohibited. In addition, Vontzalides said he does not anticipate an increase in traffic flow.
“It’s not a high-volume business, it doesn’t generate a lot of traffic,” he said.
Vontzalides also said his clients plan to service “10-15” vehicles per day by appointment only.
“They don’t perform any auto body work,” he said.