When Gavin Shields closed his Lincolnville auto and truck repair shop earlier this year, it made sense to move leftover cars, equipment, tires, and such to a lot on the south end of town where he had been storing some cars for about a year.
It didn’t make sense to nearby residents, nor to the county planning and zoning commission, which voted Thursday to deny Shields’ application for a conditional use permit.
“We don’t want him within city limits, we don’t want him there on First St.,” Lincolnville city council member Sherry Pankratz said. “The trucks that are coming in and out of his establishment are tearing up First St. The street this business is now going to be on, it used to be a residential thing, or more of a farm thing.”
Peering into the lot from First St., one can see old boats on trailers, racks of tires, a pile of scrap metal, old vehicles, and other assorted piles, mostly arranged in orderly fashion. Shields put a semi trailer and a long horse trailer along the road to screen the bulk of the lot from neighbors across the street.
However, what he didn’t do, he admitted to commissioners, was check with the county for appropriate use for the lot, which he leases from James and Linda Green.
It was fine with the Greens, but not with county planning and zoning director Emma Tajchman, who initially sent a letter to the Greens informing them of the need for a conditional use permit for the property.
Shields said the extra traffic was just a temporary increase related to moving out of his former shop.
“I don’t have any intention of operating a business out of that location,” he said.
He also said he planned to paint both trailers and put a skirt on the semi trailer.
Shields’ presentation didn’t sway zoning consultant David Yearout. Noting the variety of items on the lot, including about 600 tires, Yearout said the property qualified under regulations as a junkyard.
As such, Shields’ plans were out of compliance with numerous regulations, Yearout said.
“These kinds of businesses are necessary; the issue is location,” he said. “It should be more remote and away from developed areas and traffic corridors.”
Commission member Jeff Bina echoed Yearout’s concerns.
“It’s nothing against the applicant, it’s location, location, location,” Bina said. “It’s a bad location, right across the street from residents. As far as a salvage yard, it doesn’t bother me. It would bother me to impose that on your neighbors.”
The commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of a conditional use permit to county commissioners, who will make the final decision at an upcoming meeting.