SWANSEA — The Board of Selectmen voted 2-1 to renew the Class II (used car) auto license of Kostyas Auto Sales at 2093 G.A.R. Highway for 30 days with a reduced number of vehicles to be on the lot.
The decision came after Kostyas owner Konstantin Kharzis pleaded with the board to allow him to stay open. He pointed out that he had built the business and it was his livelihood.
The selectmen pointed out that he had been before them on three other occasions for violating the number of vehicles he had on the lot and each time he said he would comply.
Chairman Derek Heim read back to Kharzis his own words as reported in the minutes of the past meetings. They were similar to what he was telling the board now.
Chairman Heim and Steven Kitchin felt that they had given Kharzis enough opportunities in the past and that the auto dealer was not living up to his responsibility.
It was pointed out that Kostyas Auto is limited to 25 vehicles, but has had over 40.
Kharzis noted that he had been out of the country for a period of time in December and during that time he had someone else managing the business. He blamed that person for the vehicle number. He added that vehicles are brought to him following sales and auctions, at all hours, including the middle of the night and left there by the truck drivers.
The selectmen pointed out that this was not an isolated problem and that Kharzis is responsible for his business.
Selectman Christopher Carreiro noted that he did not want to put Kharzis out of business and that he was trying to think of a compromise. Carreiro decided that he would like to see the number of vehicles being licensed reduced from 25 to 15 and that Kharzis be given a time period to remain open.
Chairman Heim and Kitchin felt that the level of disrespect being shown to the board was too great, given the number of chances that they gave Kharzis in the past.
Kharzis pleaded with the board and at one point, they called for a recess as Kharzis tried to compose himself having seen the possibility of being put out of business.
Chairman Heim opted that this was the most difficult decision he has had to make and decided to give Kharzis another opportunity, reducing the number of vehicles to 15 for 30 days. The chairman said that he will make frequent visits to see that Kharzis is staying within the limits.
Carreiro agreed, however Kitchin noted that this was "strike four" given the number of times Kharzis had been before the board with the same problem.
They had pointed to April 10 of last year when there were 43 cars on the lot and that he would make sure that did not happen again. Prior to that on December 12, 2017 ther were 43 vehicles on the lot. It was pointed out that there were other complaints about the number of vehicles on the lot, including one parked on the side of G.A.R. Highway, that made visibility for drivers difficult.
Each time Kharzis said he would do better. He hired an engineer to do a survey and indicate if additional cars could be placed on the lot. He said that the engineer had not brought the report to him.