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Rochester auto dealer back in Oswegatchie; locals still upset

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OGDENSBURG — A Rochester auto dealer is back in the town of Oswegatchie for a third 10-day sales run with plans for more in 2014.

Local dealers, meanwhile, are still upset about it.

Vision Auto Group of Webster set up Friday at the former Dealmaker Ford dealership at Routes 68 and 37 and will be there until Jan. 6. It will be closed New Year’s Day.

“We have over 100 vehicles available this week with more coming as we sell,” sales director Massimo Castelli said Friday.

Vision Auto Group set up here Sept. 20-29 and again on Nov. 1-10. Each time, their presence was criticized by local auto dealers for being a hit-and-run enterprise that hurt theirs.

They still feel that way.

“They’re killing me,” said Michael B. Sarkin, president of Maple City Auto Sales, 3 Fine St., Ogdensburg. “If they sell 100 cars, that’s 100 people who won’t be buying cars for another five or six years.”

The local dealers have asked town of Oswegatchie Code Enforcement Officer Timothy C. Tuttle research what municipalities place a limit on transient sales operations. In Watertown, there is a three-day limit to the duration of a permit issued to a transient business. Operating longer than that requires a permit renewal for each day the business remains open. Such businesses also are required to pay a tax, post a $1,000 bond before they set up, submit a stock list with the value of their merchandise before they open and report sales activity. The town of Oswegatchie has no such restrictions, requiring only that a temporary business receive a building inspection to ensure the public’s safety.

Massena area auto dealers are also calling for a similar law to limit the activity of transient businesses there.

Mr. Tuttle was unavailable for comment Friday, but Lynn L. Blevins, of Blevins Bros. Inc., Ogdensburg, said that, so far, no other New York municipality has a local law like Watertown’s.

But the search goes on.

“There may be other municipalities that have that,” Mr. Blevins said.

Mr. Castelli said the harsh, snowy winter weather is no deterrent to sales.

“We cannot predict the weather but we do stay fairly busy at all times of the year,” he said.

Vision Auto Group will be back in the town of Oswegatchie for three more 10-day sales runs next spring and summer. Mr. Castelli said no decision has been made about opening a permanent dealership here.

“We are opening a few new facilities in 2014,” he said. “However, no decision has been made as to where yet other than a used car center in Wayne County that will be opening very soon.”

Vision Auto has seven dealerships in the suburban Rochester area.

The former Dealmaker property is owned by Alexandria Bay businessman P.J. Simao.

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