Auto shop owner sues Lynn for trying to shut his business down

105 Willow Street Lynn. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN – The owner of an auto repair shop on Willow Street has filed suit against the city for shutting his business down.

In the four-page complaint, Josue Amaya, owner of Josue Auto Body Shop and Mechanic Inc. alleges the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) erred last month when they denied his company a permit to add auto body work to the repair shop services they offer.

But the panel argued the shop hasn’t repaired cars for more than two years, so the license to operate had been discontinued.

Auto repair facilities are not an allowed use in the downtown and does not fit the city’s vision for a rejuvenated arts district.

James Lamanna, the city’s attorney, said several members of the ZBA had driven by the site and not seen any activity there for 20 years.

“That suggests the business has not been operating,” he said.

But Amaya’s attorney, Sam Vitali argues it’s been an auto repair since the 1920s. He said his client was simply seeking approval to add auto body work to the menu of services offered.

“My client went from seeking something they didn’t have to losing something they did have,” Vitali told The Item. “As a result of the Zoning Board’s erroneous decision, my clients have been put out of business and were recently cited by the city for  unlawfully operating their auto repair shop.”

Vitali is asking the court to rescind the decision and order the ZBA to hold a new public hearing on the application for an auto body shop in an existing auto mechanic facility.

A court date has not been scheduled.

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