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ZBA approves more Frenchie’s parking despite board member’s concerns

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MASSENA - Despite numerous concerns raised by Massena Village Zoning board member Frank Lallier, Frenchie’s Chevrolet has received permission to park up to 70 new vehicles on Maple Street over the next 90 days.

Frenchie’s President Real “Frenchie” Coupal approached the board Monday seeking a use variance to park the vehicles at 36 and 40 Maple Street, but Mr. Lallier, who also serves as Blevins Seaway Motors general manager, was not convinced the use variance at the former Holcomb’s garage property should be granted.

“As you know, I’m in the business too and we look at numbers and they say a 60- to 90-day supply is good. When you go up to 90 or a little more maybe in the spring months because you want to be ready for the selling season... it scares me that you have so much inventory. That wouldn’t be good for you, wouldn’t be good for your employees, wouldn’t be good for Massena unless you could find somebody to sell them,” Mr. Lallier said.

“Why wouldn’t it be good for Massena?” Mr. Coupal asked.

“You (would have) cars all over the place and they’re just sitting there getting old. So I’m concerned about today’s supply,” Mr. Lallier responded.

Mr. Coupal explained that his request stems from having limited places to park his vehicles, largely caused by the remaining snow and ice.

He also added that the temporary location of the new vehicles will not be a place for sales. “I am not selling there. We are not going to have a salesperson there. It’s strictly a parking spot that you can display them but that’s about the extent of it,” Mr. Coupal said.

“We did do an environmental test. We went down six feet and dug 11 holes and it’s compacted. So there’s no problem there. It’s just that I’m running out of room.”

The president of both Frenchie’s Chevrolet and Frenchie’s Ford operates numerous locations in Massena and indicated that all of his other lots are currently full.

“We (sell) about 45-50 new and used cars a month; new cars probably 38,” Mr. Coupal said. “Why do I want to stock 180 cars over the different locations? It gives me a six month supply.”

Mr. Lallier, who was the lone board member to vote against the request, still expressed concern with the rate of sales.

“How many times over the last 12 months did you exceed 38 sales at the Chevy store?” he said.

“Probably four. I’m guessing,” Mr. Coupal said.

“So I’ve got a couple concerns. One is the reason we’re here is because the village set aside properties that were automotive related districts. If we were to fold up and vacate our premises, after a year, you would not be able to put an automotive retailer in there. We were just grandfathered in. So I’m concerned from the village’s perspective that the automotive districts are being expanded beyond where they had zoned them.”

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