By SCOTT JACKSON
A request for a permission to fuel, maintain and store trolleys at what is now an ambulance depot in North Quincy was put on hold so the applicant can further reach out to area residents.
Ward 6 Councillor William Harris is set to hold a community meeting on the proposal Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Kennedy Center at 440 E. Squantum St.
Old Town Trolley Tours sought a fuel storage license and an automotive repair license for the premises at 199 Commander Shea Blvd. during the Board of License Commissioner’s meeting on Oct. 22. No vote was taken at that meeting after board members suggested further outreach was needed; the matter will be back before the board on Nov. 12.
The site at 199 Commander Shea Blvd. includes 3.29 acres of land in a Business B zoning district, according to the city’s online database. The property is owned by Hudson Media, which formerly used the warehouse on site to distribute newspapers before leasing it to Fallon Ambulance a decade ago.
Fallon in 2008 received permission from the licensing board to store ambulances and fuel on site, as well as a repair license for Central Ave Auto Service, according to Edward Fleming, the attorney representing Old Town Trolley Tours.
Fallon was allowed to store more than 2,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel in an underground tank on the site, Fleming said, plus 3,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel above ground in 45 or more ambulances and 500 gallons of miscellaneous fuel.
Fallon now plans to move out of the site and sublease the property to Old Town Trolley Tours, Fleming said. The trolley company would move into the site in September 2020.
The applicant plans to store 3,000 gallons of diesel an above ground tank while using the site to fuel and repair its trolleys; the company’s trolleys do not run on gasoline. Central Ave Auto would remain on site, with the building modified to separate it from the trolley depot.
Old Town Trolley Tours and Hudson Media are in talks to remove the below-ground fuel tanks on site, Fleming added.
Robert Gibson, the trolley company’s commercial fleet manager, said trolley drivers are not allowed to the fuel the vehicles. The company would employee five mechanics who would be the only ones allowed to do so.
“They are the only people who come in contact with that fuel pump. None of the drivers are allowed to touch it,” Gibson said. “The vehicles come in, they are shut off, my mechanics fuel [them]. We record how much fuel that we install in the vehicle. The vehicle is then driven around the building and put to sleep at night.”
The tanks on site presently are 19 years old, Gibson said; a tank’s lifespan is between 20 and 25 years. He suggested the tanks could be filled with water until they are removed, but Fire Chief Jack Cadegan said the underground tanks cannot be abandoned in place and must be removed.
Fleming said the company would follow up with the property owner about that concern.
Richard Williams, the management agent for the SeaWinds Condominium trust at 90 Quincy Shore Dr., raised several concerns about the storage of fuel and operations at the trolley depot in a letter to the board, according to City Clerk Nicole Crispo. Crispo said those concerns could be addressed by the Fire Department.
Williams also raised a concern that notice was provided to the condominium association, and not the owners of the 150 condos in the building, Crispo said.
Fleming said it was his position that notice to the condo association, and not the unit owners, was proper.
“It still remains my position that the unit owners don’t own the land, they own units within the building, and they actually assign the control and management of the facility to the condominium association, i.e. the management company, and they are entitled to notice,” he said.
In addition, Fleming said it would be cumbersome to send notice through registered mail to each of the unit owners and would cost $2,700 to do so.
Pat Desmond, a resident of 90 Quincy Shore Dr., said each of the building’s unit owners should have received notice from the applicant.
“Our position is that this is not sufficient,” she said. “If they are going to quibble over $2,700 as the reason to not send out this to all of the owners, how are we going to get these things done that need to be done safely, like the tanks removed?”
Two other residents of the same building voiced similar concerns during the public hearing.
Following their comments, Crispo suggested the board continue the hearing on the matter until its next meeting on Nov. 12 to give the applicant time to reach out to neighbors.
“I appreciate everything that you’ve put together today. I think it’s solid, but I just worry about notification,” Crispo said.
Fleming agreed to the continuance and said he would work to arrange a meeting for neighbors before the next license board hearing.