YORK, Maine — Neighbors of a York Harbor landscaper are expected to come before the Board of Appeals Wednesday night, June 8, to argue that the business is way too intensive for a residential neighborhood, and that the town should intervene.
Neighbors say Gammon Lawn Care at 632 York St. has more employees, operates longer hours, and is more disruptive to the largely residential area than when it was owned by former owner Pete Marcuri, who sold Gammon the property and for years had what neighbor Dan Raposa called a “fairly sleepy” excavation business.
Code Enforcement Officer Amber Harrison determined Gammon’s business is “consistent” with Marcuri’s.
She also said that Gammon’s lot does not “appear to meet” the minimum requirements for a lot in the town’s shoreland overlay district. However, because the lot was recorded in the Register of Deeds, she said, the shoreland noncompliance has been recorded as well, rendering “‘a legally nonconforming grandfathered lot’ exempt from Code Enforcement jurisdiction,” she wrote to Raposa.
The neighbors are also appealing this determination. Raposa said this “lot of record” argument “is what initially motivated me to file an appeal. I said, wait a minute, the town needs to be more fair in applying the law.’”
According to Register of Deeds documents, in 2014, Marcuri divided his property into two separate lots – one with his house at 650 York St. and one with his excavation business at 632 York St. The moment that the two parcels were registered at the Register of Deeds, they became “lots of record.”
“The argument is that even with the shoreland overlay problem, because it’s registered at the courthouse, there’s nothing we can do,” said Raposa, who lives at 660 York St.
Just as concerning to the neighbors, he said, is the more intensive use of the property by Gammon. Harrison in her written determination to Raposa said that Gammon’s use of the land is “consistent with the previous owner’s uses (Marcuri).” But he said that’s not the case.
Raposa, who has lived in his house since 1998, said Marcuri ran his business Monday through Friday, and Gammon “runs an entirely different business. There’s never a day when that place is not in operation. The intensity has doubled, tripled on the site. It’s been incredibly impactful on the neighborhood.”
Raposa will argue before the BOA that Harrison erred in determining the two businesses were essentially the same.
Attorney Matt Howell, representing Gammon, said his client does not feel there has been a change of use of the property, and will have Marcuri there to testify to the fact that he performed many of the same functions as Gammon does now.
Moreover, said Howell, Gammon leased Marcuri’s property for two years before purchasing it. “He feels a little frustrated that if the neighbors genuinely had some concern, he would have liked to have known it in advance of purchasing it.”
Raposa, who is the appellant of record, said many neighbors are expected to attend the hearing on Wednesday.