When Dean Burhoe applied to subdivide his Plainville Avenue property where he had been running his landscaping, about a dozen neighbors came out to object. When he applied for a permit to move his landscaping business off his residential property and to a suitable commercial location in Farmington, he again met with opposition.
But the Town Plan and Zoning Commission OKed the new location, despite complaints from a group of homeowners in a neighboring condominium complex.
Burhoe applied for a permit to operate his landscaping business at 150 New Britain Ave., Unionville, where Madigan Millworks and a propane company are already. The buildings and parking area are up a hill in a wooded area, hidden from view of the road. Burhoe will rent space in an office, a warehouse area and a large paved area and will mostly use it to park trucks and house equipment.
One commissioner, Don Doeg, said he thought the location was perfectly suited to Burhoe’s landscaping business when he first saw the address.
The neighbors disagreed.
Residents of the condominium complex down the hill from the commercial lot complained of water runoff which had been flooding their backyards and which they have had to pay to correct. They said they feared workers hosing off Burhoe equipment would make the problem worse.
They also said the noise from Madigan Millworks was already substantial and the sounds of more trucks driving in and out, backing up and equipment being fixed on the premises would also exacerbate the situation, which residents said had prompted them to call police on several occasions.
Pesticides running down the hill were also a concern they raised.
But Burhoe said much of the company’s operations were run out of its Glastonbury location – a mechanic fixes equipment there, pesticides are kept there and most heavy equipment is kept there. Snowplows, which residents said they feared would be running at all hours, are often taken home with employees before a storm instead of being stored in Unionville.
“The issues brought up by most of the public seem to be existing issues with the current property owner, not necessarily with the applicant,” said commissioner Jim Leblanc.
Commissioner Jack Matava thought Burhoe might improve the property, with sprucing up the area and repairing a broken fence among the terms of Burhoe’s lease.
“The facility was there long before the condos were there across the street,” said Commission Chairman Phil Dun. “Maybe the folks who bought there didn’t take into consideration the truck traffic… my reaction is this is a perfectly appropriate place to run this kind of low-impact business and I’m surprised at the neighbors’ complaints.
“This is better than some of the things that could go in there.”