The Planning Board Thursday night is being asked to rule on a key issue dealing with the York Street lawn care business of Joshua Gammon.
Gammon is asking the board to reconsider its November 2016 decision that he did not have enough land for a nonresidential use in a shoreland overlay district. Under town ordinances, Gammon had to have at last 60,000 square feet and yet only owned 54,000 square feet of property.
When he appears before the board on Thursday, Gammon will present proof that in the months since, he has put together agreements that will give him more than enough acreage for his business. He has a purchase and sale agreement with Ron and Susan Peris for land abutting property owned by Diane Marcuri. Her husband Peter initially sold property to Gammon.
In order to make a contiguous parcel from Gammon’s land to the Perises’, Gammon is swapping land with Diane Marcuri that he owns for the strip of land between. Under the agreement, none of the land Gammon acquires from the Perises can be used for commercial purposes.
The fact Gammon has continued running his business despite the initial Planning Board decision has been a point of contention among neighbors, who say the lawn care business is noisy and disruptive, and say silt and sand drifts on the air and makes their properties unusable.
They have charged the town was sitting on its hands when it did not file a notice of violation right after the board decision last November. It was March before a notice was issued. Code Enforcement Officer Amber Harrison said Gammon was actively working to resolve the issue, but she did file a second notice of violation and a cease and desist order in July when matters were still outstanding.
Gammon has continued to operate his business since; his attorney Matt Howell said he felt responsible because paperwork he filed over that time was deemed insufficient by the town attorney. Therefore, he said he would pay the fine if and when it is levied.
This Planning Board appearance is not the only outstanding matter involving Gammon. A case is pending in Superior Court of a Board of Appeals decision regarding whether or not the business is grandfathered. Gammon says it is substantially the same business as Peter Marcuri’s excavation business; neighbors charge it is much more intensive.
In addition, the Board of Selectmen next Monday are expected to discuss a recent petition signed by more than 40 residents asking that the town institute land-use violation legal action against Gammon.
The Planning Board meeting begins at 7, but the Gammon matter is at the tail end, after what is expected to be a lengthy discussion on a plan to build a condominium complex off York Street.