NORTHEAST NEWS (251)
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware
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In Troy, NY, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals has for the fourth time unanimously rejected a local tow operator’s proposal to open an auto repair and towing business on Fifth Avenue at the location of a former body shop called Ward’s Auto Body.
The Cox family had hoped to obtain approval for a nonconforming use variance in a B-2 commercial zone to open a towing business and garage for light automotive repair, such as tune-ups and brake and muffler work.
Jack Cox Jr. represented his father, Jack Cox Sr., at the hearing and said his father was informed when the property was purchased that it was grandfathered in as a B-2 Commercial Zone with a special-use permit.
The zoning board on Jan. 8 shot down the request for the fourth time since 2006, claiming the property does not comply with the commercial zoning where it is located.
A Long Island, NY, town official is calling for vehicles damaged in Superstorm Sandy to be scrapped for salvage so they can’t be resold, the Claims Journal recently reported.
Smithtown Councilman Thomas McCarthy told Newsday he fears the vehicles, many corroded by saltwater, may wind up on out-of-state used car lots.
McCarthy, a former auto dealer, says many states don’t require vehicle titles to indicate a car may have had flood damage. He says destroying vehicles is the only way to ensure they’re not resold.
The newly-expanded Bennett Collision Center in Allentown, PA, opened in early January. Located on the Bennett Toyota property, the shop is equipped to handle all makes and models of vehicles.
The collision center expanded from 8,000 square feet to 14,500 square feet. Manager Robert Shade said the former shop could repair an average of 20-25 vehicles per week. The new collision center should be able to handle up to 50 vehicles per week, depending on the size and scope of the work.
New York labor law attorney Greg Lisi will address state labor laws with the Long Island Autobody Repairmen's Association at its next meeting, January 15. Lisi will speak on how shops can be in better compliance with New York labor laws and how shops can develop an employee handbook.
The meeting will also include a presentation on small business development by Bridge Capital Solutions regarding operating capital and grants that could be available to Sandy storm victims.
LIABRA Executive Director Ed Kizenberger will also update members on current events and legislative efforts.
In addition, Mercedes Benz and BMW will offer presentations on new vehicle technologies.
The meeting will be held at Competition BMW, 599 East Jericho Turnpike St. James in New York. The meeting starts at 8 p.m. and includes dinner. No RSVPs are necessary.
The Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence (CCRE) held several events and activities during 2012.
March events included the AASP/NJ Northeast Leadership Conference and Trade Show to review industry trends and insurer involvement in the collision repair industry; the Autobody Association of Connecticut quarterly meeting where dialogue included business management philosophies and insurer involvement in our industry; and a three-day legal seminar held in late March in Philadelphia, PA, with noted attorneys and speakers to discuss legal documents, assignments and contracts for collision repairers.
AASP/MA successfully fought the insurers’ DRP and fraud bills last year in the legislature and we are planning to work very hard through the 2013-2014 session to advocate that the legislature and Division of Insurance consider the negative consequences to consumers if these bills are passed.
The Massachusetts Right To Repair Act—a bill AASP wrote and sponsored—was also passed into law.
The Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) partnered with several businesses to gift 10 vehicles to local and disabled veterans this holiday season.
The fifth annual Recycled Rides Giveaway was held at the local VFW Hall 31 on Dec. 15 in Centereach. Insurance companies that donated the vehicles were GEICO, State Farm and Progressive.
Several Long Island auto body shops refurbished the vehicles: 112 Automotive Center, Mike G’s Perfection Auto Body, Bi-County Auto Body, Matt’s One Stop Collision, Crestwood Auto Body, International Auto Painting & Collision, The Collision Centers of Babylon, Misner Auto Body, Motorcar Collision, Canon Collision, Padock Auto Body, and BOCES of Nassau County.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of Suffolk County, NY, Council helped locate the veterans who need reliable transportation.
The Recycled Rides program is a nationwide awareness project whereby members of the National Auto Body Council (NABC) refurbish and donate recycled vehicles to families in need in their communities. It is a community relations program intended to build good will at the local level, while improving and promoting the image of the collision industry on a national level. Insurance companies and paint and parts vendors donate their resources to assist collision repair facilities in making this project possible.
In last month’s issue of Autobody News, we featured the story “Brindle’s Auto Body in St. Thomas, PA, Gets Home and Shop Double-Hit by Sandy.” In an follow up with the owner, we’ve learned that the process to rebuild the shop has ground to a halt.
“It was going good, but now it’s come to a standstill. The state wouldn’t give us a permit,” said Dave Brindle, owner of Brindle’s Auto Body located in St. Thomas in southcentral Pennsylvania. Superstorm Sandy struck a path right through the small town and the damage to Brindle’s shop was catastrophic.
“Even though we are only rebuilding what was there and we made the walls at least twice as strong as they were before, the state said that because we are repairing walls and that is the structure, we have to get an engineer in and design something to bring the walls up to code,” Brindle reported.
The Long Island Autobody Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA), one of the largest autobody associations in the USA with over 500 active members, maintains a rigorous training and education agenda for its members as well as lobbying to introduce favorable legislation and block unfavorable legislation. The Board of Director meetings are held monthly at the association’s headquarters in Lindenhurst, NY.
The first general meeting of Jan. 2012 was held at Atlantic Chevrolet in Bayshore where members received training in the new GM Hybrid technology.
When Hurricane Sandy charged into the East Coast in late October, she devastated many homes and businesses. Her most vicious attack was perpetrated in NY and NJ, leaving millions with flooded properties and no power. Sandy’s effects on the auto body industry were no different. Many collision repair facilities in the area were destroyed, and equipment and tools were demolished. Some have still not reopened as of the middle of December.
Three shop owners took the time to share their stories.
Bobby Zigman, owner of Collision Depot in Oceanside, NY, suffered personal and business losses as a result of Sandy since his home is near his shop and both were flooded. Zigman notes that the storm left five or six feet of water in his shop and parking lot, completely wiping out all of his shop and office equipment.
A non-profit organization in Rochester, NY, received an early Thanksgiving gift from Sterling Autobody Center. Heritage Christian Services received a refurbished van.
The 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan was previously vandalized, but was given to Sterling Autobody by Allstate Insurance company to be restored. The company then donated the van to Heritage Christian Services through the Recycled Rides program. The van will be used by staff to help transport people with disabilities to church, community services and daily functions.