Zoners give the nod to LaJoie's auto wrecking

The owner of New Milford Auto Wrecking at 407 Kent Road has received long-sought approval to make changes to his existing motor vehicle wrecking/salvage yard.

Don LaJoie's proposed changes to the property have been before the New Milford Zoning Commission for several months.

Neighbors of the wrecking/salvage yard had previously turned out in large numbers to protest the changes.

Yet Tuesday the commission unanimously approved his proposals.

Mr. LaJoie owns other such businesses in southern Connecticut and neighbors feared large, noisy and dangerous equipment, such as car shredders, would be installed at the New Milford site.

Zoners approved Mr. LaJoie's changes to the property including construction of a truck scale with an associated 100 by 50-foot building, and new driveway access to the rear of the site and fencing.

Certain provisos were included in the approval.

Mr. LaJoie will have to return to zoning for further approval before a car shredder could be installed, although he has said he has no intentions of installing one.

"We're not big people from New York coming in to overrun the neighborhood," Mr. LaJoie said. "I grew up in South Norwalk. I don't have a thing to hide. There's nothing that we're trying to pull."

Mr. LaJoie said his problems with neighbors began when he had "a local person" making decisions on starting site modifications without proper approval.

"I've been running by the state statutes as long I've run a business," he said. "I bought New Milford Auto Wrecking and I want to make it safe. I want to make sure there's no problems."

Hours of operation to be allowed at the site are weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. A solid fence will be installed around the site, as Connecticut state statutes require.