Lenco resolves vehicle storage and parking plan

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PITTSFIELD — Lenco Industries is back in the city's good graces after quickly resolving the matter of exceeding its vehicle inventory license.

A month after the local armored car manufacturer was found in violation, company officials — backed by the Pittsfield Fire and Building departments — have updated their Class II car licenses allowing them to store up to 90 vehicles each at 10 Betnr Industrial Drive and 61 Downing Industrial Drive. Lenco also plans to clearly mark the parking spaces for each vehicle as they come off the assembly line.

Based on a written complaint, city fire inspectors several weeks ago determined more than 100 vehicles were at each location when the original licenses called for a maximum of 25 at the Betnr lot and only 10 for the Downing site. The inventory overstock also posed an impediment to fire trucks responding to emergency situations at either location, city fire officials said.

The Pittsfield Licensing Board recently approved the revised Class II licenses for Lenco, impressed the manufacturer wasted no time coming into compliance.

"I'm not surprised the necessary changes took place, at what we would consider, the speed of light ... no pun intended," board chairman, Carmen C. Massimiano said to Lenco president, Leonard W. Light.

At last week's meeting, Light took full responsibility for Lenco failing to realize it was in violation and the company being initially uncooperative with city officials to make the necessary corrections.

"We're the only ones to blame for this," Light said.

The violations and lack of cooperation prompted city fire officials to seek a hearing before the Licensing Board in late August.

Light vowed at the Aug. 29 meeting to work closely with municipal inspectors to devise a parking plan at both lots and seek updated licenses.

"It was unintentional, in the first place," he told the board last week. "We're used to following the rules and regulations and we feel we're in compliance right now."

The admission of guilt is a rarity by a license holder facing city scrutiny, according to board member Thomas Campoli.

"This is one of the most refreshing presentations I've witnessed on the Licensing Board," he said.

In recent years, Lenco has increased its payroll to 110 employees to meet the growing demand for the company's armored vehicles used by the military, police agencies and governments around the world.

Light had said Lenco was making the armored vehicles faster than they can ship them out, leading to the overstock issue. Given the company's success in a city clamoring for manufacturing jobs, many who contacted board member Richard Stockwell after the August hearing, were worried Lenco — a third-generation family-run business — would pull up its stakes and leave over a storage/parking issue.

Light had no intention of leaving behind a quality workforce.

"Henry Ford said, 'You can burn down my factories tomorrow and I'll rebuild them. But if you take away my people, I'm out of business,'" he told the board.

Contact Dick Lindsay at (413) 496-6233


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