SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 18, 2013

Cab company told to try again

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — A Salem-based cab company looking to establish an office in Peabody has been told by the City Council to come back and start over after proposing an alternate location. But City Clerk Tim Spanos warned that Americab better come back soon or it could find itself shut out for a lack of taxi licenses.

The city allows only 30 taxi licenses, and a second company, seeking to start a service on Route 1, is already asking for some of the scarce licenses, Spanos said.

As for Americab, he noted yesterday, “I have not seen or heard from them.” The company had been told at last Thursday’s council meeting to resubmit its request for five individual licenses. An employee at Americab reported that owner Juan Carlos Roman intends to resubmit his request.

In July, Americab, which uses Lincolns and minivans, had asked to operate from 10 Union St., but councilors raised concerns regarding the lack of spaces for cabs in that area. In his written assessment, police Capt. Joseph Berardino observed that Roman “indicates that there are 10 existing parking spaces, which is false.” Even though the company had proposed parking only five vehicles, Berardino raised concerns about how such a business operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week “will impact the residential community.”

Only one parking space exists outside and four within the building on Union Street, according to Berardino. He added, “There must be no street parking allowed, particularly during winter months.”

Some councilors suggested Americab might locate the office on Union Street but keep the cabs elsewhere.

When Roman returned to the council last week, he faced a sizable contingent of unhappy residents watching the proceedings. They were pleased, however, that the proposed location of the cab company had been changed to 515 Lowell St.

Councilors, on the other hand, were startled at the change, suggesting that this was basically a new request.

“The abutters have to be notified,” advised Councilor Dave Gamache.

“There has to be a public hearing,” Councilor Tom Gould added.

Councilor Rico Mello suggested Roman withdraw his proposal “without prejudice ... which means you’ll have to come back.”

“You won’t have to pay any more fees,” Gould said.

“I wish them the best,” said resident Tony Kazlowski as he filed out with a contingent of Union Street residents. He expressed relief that the cab company won’t be locating on his block.

Americab currently operates on Jefferson Avenue in Salem.

Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at aburke@salemnews.com.