By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
At the Aug. 2 Planning Board meeting, abutters to the lot had protested that the parcel was not actually a “contractor's lot” as the applicants stated, but rather was being used as a trucking terminal.
The site was purchased in late 2011 by GFI Partners and subsequently leased to XTRA Lease. Under town bylaws, a contractor's lot is a space where a contractor can simply store building materials and associated equipment. The disagreement between the company and the neighbors revolved over just how much truck traffic can be allowed on a contractor's lot under the bylaws. XTRA Lease's website describes itself as “providing over-the-road trailers for rent or leasing.”
At the Aug. 27 meeting, abutter Adam Gordon led several other neighbors in reiterating opposition to the lot's operation. He stated that there were scores of truck trailers stored on the site, which he said had been clear-cut to within 30 feet of his property. He added that trucks were constantly entering and leaving the lot with attached trailers.
Attorney Todd Brodeur, representing the business operator, countered with the argument that the site was indeed a contractor's lot, that its current use was well within the intent of the bylaw, and that the building inspector's decision to grant an occupancy permit was correct. He also noted that the town had failed to notify Sheehan in writing, as required, to enforce the bylaws in question, and that procedural error alone made Gordon's argument moot.
The discussion then devolved into the details of daily operations, numbers of trucks involved, numbers of movement of trailers, and other such issues. Several other abutters then rose to confirm Gordon's assertions.
The board members then spoke among themselves, with the gist being that most members believed that Sheehan's actions had been correct and that the occupancy permit was proper, although several did acknowledge that the disruption to Gordon's property was unfortunate. They also noted that the activity on this site was in line with other such contractor's lots in Shrewsbury.
The final vote affirmed the building inspector's actions, 4-1, with Paul George dissenting, who noted that the lot's operation did appear, to him, to be a truck terminal.
Gordon then asked about how the encroachment upon his yard could be mitigated. After consulting with Town Planner Kristen Las, the board informed Gordon that the matter was beyond its authority.