LONDONDERRY — It wouldn't be springtime in Londonderry without the annual "junkyard wars" as it's known to residents.
Each year, the town's four junkyards come up for licensing renewal. Three of them — S&S Metals, Londonderry Salvage and Hill's Salvage Facility — have their licenses renewed without a peep from the public.
Not so with Murray's Auto Recycling, located at 55 Hall Road and owned by Ed Dudeck Jr.
Two neighbors — Gerard Adams of 54 Hall Road and Richard Bielinski of 89 Hall Road — have logged numerous complaints against Dudeck for operating outside of business hours.
This year, building inspector Richard Canuel did some investigation before the licensing renewal. He presented his findings to the Town Council Monday night.
The biggest complaint was that Dudeck's trucks continue to return to Murray's after the closing time of 5 p.m.
"I've talked to the town attorney," Canuel said. "He said the mere arrival of a company vehicle to the facility after 5 p.m. does not constitute operating after hours."
Canuel said the employee was simply returning the vehicle, not unloading it, and taking his personal vehicle to go home.
Bielinski approached the council.
"I'm going to try to stay calm tonight," he said. "How could anyone in their right mind say that delivering salvaged vehicles after hours is legal?"
Adams said he has seen vehicles come back as late at 10 p.m.
Councilor John Farrell asked Dudeck, who lives in Bedford, what the average time a truck may return after 5 p.m., and Dudeck said 7 p.m.
Councilor Joe Green suggested adding a clause to say no trucks could come in after 7 p.m., but Town Manager Dave Caron said the town attorney had spoken.
"We have a legal opinion," Councilor Tom Freda said. "The inspector has to follow it. You can keep coming here and fighting it every year, or you can go to court and clarify it. Maybe there's a way to work something out between the two of you."
Adams didn't buy it.
"Give me a break," he said."
Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, came into the meeting. Baldasaro resides at 41 Hall Road.
"I was eating dinner and watching Town Council," he said. "That junkyard was there long before I bought my house. This is wrong what we're doing here. That's a business paying taxes, and year after year, we beat him up. I hope you do the right thing tonight."
In the end, the council voted, 5-0, to allow Murray's to be relicensed.
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