Lynne McFalls, a Valleyview Drive homemaker who said she lived next door to Custodio, said paint and chemical fumes from his operation had sickened her asthmatic child more than once. "It's like living next door to a repair shop," she declared.
With seven other residents of the Ravenwood Homes rowhouse development on hand to back her up, McFalls said that whenever she called police, Custodio moved his cars around on the street to keep them from being tagged, sometimes parking them in an alley behind the homes.
She said that he bought and fixed cars for sale and also repaired them for other people. "Tow trucks bring some of the cars right down our street and drop them off," she said.
"He always seems to know when we complain. We know he has a scanner, but it's almost like he also knows someone in the Police Department," she said.
Mayor Stephen Beckson pointed out that the federal Environmental Protection Agency had investigated the complaints, and that Custodio had already been issued one citation.
District Justice Anthony Truscello, who was in the audience, advised the Valleyview Drive residents to send Custodio a registered letter of complaint, with a copy going to Beckson as further proof of notification.
Council Vice President William Quigley, in charge in the absence of President George Altman, said he, Beckson and Police Chief Theodore Pastore would visit Valleyview Drive in the next few days to determine if there were code or criminal violations.
In another matter, the council appointed Media attorney Norman L. Goldberg as borough solicitor to replace David Auerbach, but declined to offer an explanation for the change. Auerbach, who had been solicitor since 1974, said Tuesday that he stepped down because of the added workload of his law practice.