Landscaper on Highview Drive wins approval

A landscaper has won the town’s approval to store some equipment at his Highview Drive property as part of a home occupation.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted on Feb. 26 to pass a resolution of approval allowing Patrick Biehl of Quality Landscape LLC to store two trailers and a sand and salt spreader at his property at 44 Highview Drive. The commission had voted Feb. 19 to have the resolution drawn up for further review and a final vote.
Four neighbors spoke at the Feb. 19 public hearing, complaining about the equipment storage and also employees lingering on the property.
At the Feb. 26 meeting language was added to limit additional storage at the site, which is in a residential zone.
No debris
Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti recalled photographs some of the people complaining had showed.
“A lot of landscape debris,” Mucchetti said.” That was one of the issues the neighbors were concerned about.”
“There shall be no storage of supplies, materials or landscape debris,” Planning and Zoning Director Richard Baldelli said, consolidating language commissioners suggested to address the issue.
The dissenter in the final vote was commission member Bob Cascella.
“It comes down to fairness and how we govern,” he said.
He recalled a similar issue had come up with a home occupation that involved storage of a watercraft used to clean weeds from ponds and lakes.
“If that last applicant had had a boat in his yard — a pleasure craft — no need for a special permit,” Cascella said of Sacred Waters LLC on Clearview Drive, which received approval in October.
“There, trailers and sand spreader are never allowed,” he said. “... commercial equipment.”
“This lot is almost two acres,” said Mucchetti. “The last person was — what, a quarter of an acre?”
To address some of the neighborhood’s concerns, the commission imposed a variety of conditions:
The approval authorizes storage of only the two “open-style utility trailers” and one “salt/sand spreader” outside of the home on the property.
The equipment shall be in the northeast corner of the property, and when the salt/sand spreader is not “in use” in the back of a truck, it is to be stored on one of the trailers.
All other equipment associated with the home business shall be stored inside the home or garage and not outside. There shall be “no outdoor storage of materials or supplies related to the home business.”
The storage of “debris, earth-materials, construction materials” is prohibited.
To ensure adequate screening, border shrubs, other vegetation and woods in the northeast corner of the property shall not be removed.
For “neighborhood compatibility” and limit changes to traffic in the neighborhood, “there shall be no more than a total of six round-trips of trailer movements on and off the property per week.”
The owner/operator is the only employee of the home business, and will be the only person moving equipment on and off the property.
The resolution of approval passed 6-to-1 with Cascella opposed and Joe Fossi absent.