Perseverance Allows Expansion of Downtown Haverhill Auto Dealership

Noel Ortega in front of his Welcome Motors, 25 Welcome St., Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

A Haverhill car dealer proved the adage “perseverance pays off” when the City Council recently granted Noel Ortega’s request to expand his used car dealership.

Welcome Motors has operated since 2017 at 25 Welcome St., with 21 spaces for vehicles to be sold and four additional spaces for customers and employees. In 2019, Ortega purchased an adjacent vacant lot at 63 Pecker St. in hopes of expanding. Attorney Robert D. Harb, now representing Ortega, explained what happened.

“You may remember, we were back in front of you last December after Mr. Ortega had filed and he had some confusion there and you allowed us to withdraw without prejudice and allowed us to refile. When I took the file over, there was actually no real comments from any of the departments for or against this project. After we filed, I got numerous requests for plan changes and comments and things that were not discussed last time,” he said.

Harb said he and Ortega met with fire officials and the building inspector numerous times to meet their requests, including one that very day, from the fire department requiring better firetruck access from Pecker Street. As a result, he said, the expansion will accommodate an additional six spaces.

Revised plans also call for a six-foot vinyl fence around a portion of the property and a 1,000- gallon dry-well catch basin to alleviate the concerns of Joseph Tropea, a neighbor, about possible flooding. Harb said Ortega’s plans will also be reviewed by City Engineer John H. Pettis III before any action is taken.

Despite these safeguards, Councilor Michael S. McGonagle expressed concern about what he called 11th hour changes.

“While everything sounds great, I just feel that maybe we might need a little more time. There’s too many things that are just outstanding here,” he said.

His colleagues disagreed, voting 8-1 in favor of the expansion.

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