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December 13, 2013

At long last, an end to Ashland dispute

NEWBURYPORT — A neighborhood dispute that has been simmering for almost a decade appears to have been put to rest this week by the City Council.

Residents on lower Ashland Street have been complaining about parked cars on that thoroughfare for many years and through numerous configurations of the council.

City Councilor Tom Jones recently said the dispute has been in the air for his entire tenure on the council, which is eight years.

Phil and Sons Auto Repair, whose business address is 345 Merrimac St., is a vehicle-service shop that also administers state-approved inspections.

Managers park cars along the curb on the western side of Ashland Street.

According to testimony before the council in recent months, some vehicles there are those waiting to be serviced. Others apparently belong to employees of the enterprise.

Rob Germinara, whose 2 Ashland St. property abuts Phil’s lot, has complained that these parked cars make it difficult for him to see and/or maneuver when he wants to leave his residence by car.

Nick Erokhin, of 3 Ashland St., expressed dissatisfaction with the congregation of cars in front of his house.

The inert vehicles detract from the charm of the leafy residential street, other residents said.

But an employee recently defended the enterprise by saying that their cars are off the street by the end of the business day. And supporters said that the vehicles don’t impede the flow of traffic.

In sessions that permit public comment, Clete Kijek, a resident of Walnut Street, questioned the veracity of Germinara’s complaints.

Councilors have heard the concerns of both sides before.

Jones, speaking at his last council meeting before leaving the body, urged that a solution be found that serves all parties.

Following discussion, the council voted to alter the parking zones on the street.

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