Joe’s Used Cycles property shows promising signs of cleanup

Jan 7, 2019

A junkyard on Route 6, which has drawn criticism from motorists and the general public for decades, is slowly becoming less of an eyesore.

Joe McConnell, the owner of Joe’s Used Cycles, at 769 State Rd., is making “encouraging” progress in a large cleanup operation at the used car lot and junkyard dealer, according to town officials at the January 7 Select Board meeting.

The cleanup comes as the town continues its crackdown on “problem properties” throughout Dartmouth, with town officials now paying closer attention to the town’s junkyard operations.

“There really was no oversight of Class II and III licenses throughout town,” Select Board member Shawn McDonald told McConnell. “There is now. You are not being singled out, it’s just to make sure everyone is living up to their licenses restrictions, what’s on the licenses and the property at least looks good and is whatever the licenses allows.”

In November, Director of Public Health Christopher Michaud conducted an inspection of the property, and discovered several violations of the company’s used car (Class II) and junkyard (Class III) licenses.

According to a report prepared by Michaud, he observed scattered parts throughout the property, including materials which are not authorized by the businesses’ licenses.

In order to renew his licenses for 2019, McConnell had to clean up his act. And according to Michaud, he is.

Michaud visited the property on the day of the meeting, about five weeks after his initial visit. He said the property, which was overwhelmed with boats in the summertime, only had two boats remaining, and one was on a trailer. The cars in the front of the property, previously haphazardly scattered about, had been lined up and arranged properly. Removal of miscellaneous parts and material had been started and is ongoing.

“I”m encouraged by the work he’s been doing out there,” Michaud said. “A little more needs to happen.”

With the property now being considered for a 288-unit affordable housing development, McConnell said he is committed to cleaning it up soon, regardless of the outcome of that proposal.

“I don’t own the land,” he said. “When [the owners] say pull the plug, I pull the plug. I’ve been trying to retire the last few years, but it’s difficult with a lot of vehicles.”

The Select Board approved McConnell’s request to renew his licenses after he argued it would help move the cleanup process along, with specific conditions that the property must be cleaned up and maintained.

Michaud will inspect the property again in several weeks, and if he finds no improvements have been made, he will recommend a Select Board hearing to revoke the licenses.

The property is owned by Mary Robinson. Robinson also owns two nearby parcels of land. She and two other people were recently at the center of a lawsuit involving a separate business which operated on the property, Granite City Crushing.

In 2018, she, Manuel Soares, and Kathleen Simbro - who operate the crushing operation - were found to be in contempt of court for not complying with a court-mandated cleanup of the property.