Hadley planners order landscaping work to clean up ‘disaster’ at Russell Street estate

HADLEY – City officials are giving the owner of No. 9 Landscaping Company two weeks to clear his property of debris, including tall piles of dirt, chunks of concrete and large rocks, before his business closes. They also want him to stop using the noisy vacuum cleaner.

Tuesday at Russell St. During a Planning Board site plan hearing for Green Gardens at 243, owner Steve Wainao was advised to remedy the situation.

“If it’s not cleared, the building commissioner, zoning enforcement can be directed to give you a cease and desist order,” Planning Board Chairman James Maksimoski said. “We are not going to cheat here. We must ensure this action.”

As of February 2021, the Vaiano business is the former Hastie Fence Co. manages from the place. But Building Commissioner Tom Quinlan Jr. determined that there was a change of use and recommended that Vaiano submit site plans for his business, including the addition of concrete block bulk bins totaling 950 square feet to the rear of the property.

“These boxes will allow us to store stacks of different materials that we use,” Vaiano said. This includes keeping 3/4 inch gravel, mulch and sand. Although the facility will also handle snow removal, no salt will be stored on site.

Although Vaiano said almost all of the company’s work is landscape design and installation at clients’ homes, planners questioned that.

“What about the debris on the site? There are big rocks, piles of dirt and all kinds of things,” Maiksimoski said, noting that there were pieces of foundation, pavement and rocks “twice the size of a car engine.”

Health inspector Ben Lipham said inspection and processing of the debris could constitute a commercial activity associated with the solid waste site, which would require another permit. “It’s a concern for us at this point,” Lipham said.

Conservation Agent Kayla Loubriel said the Conservation Commission also wants to review the plans for concerns about runoff from the property.

Another issue, Maksimoski said, is the need to park two dump trucks and a pickup truck behind the house. Heavier equipment is already stored off-site in another city.

“You’ve got to get those trucks out of your backyard,” Maksimoski said. “If you can’t put them where they need to be in the backyard, then I question whether the site is adequate for what you want to do.”

Planners debated whether the trash structures would fit the 15-foot side and 15-foot rear setbacks. “From the limited knowledge I have, I’m thinking more about improving the fence to contain his materials,” board member Mark Dunn said.

Vaiano said he is repairing the existing stockade fence, which is already 6 feet high. “It’s definitely a little older,” Vaiano said.

“I would call it outdated, not old,” said board member Michael Sarsinski.

Quinlan said the fence has been knocked down by debris over the past four to six months. “It looks like the bomb landed on another neighbor’s property,” Quinlan said.

Owners and operators of neighboring businesses have expressed concern.

Lisa Sanderson, who operates Aegis Chiropractic and Physical Therapy at 241 Russell St., said Vaiano changed the elevation of the property and dirt was flowing into a catch basin on her property. “There used to be grass and some pavement, but now it’s all dirt, building materials, concrete and a bunch of other stuff,” Sanderson said.

Russell St. Paul Zahradnik, who manages the Hadley Park Plaza at 245, said he is concerned about the storm drainage system and debris going into nearby wetlands.

Like Sanderson, Zahradnik noted that the noise from the garbage sorting and filtering machine caused complaints from some of the 32 tenants.

Maksimoski said a professional engineer may need to draw up a drainage plan and have it reviewed by a third party, which Vaiano would pay for. “There’s so much junk on the property that we can’t tell where the prices are,” Maksimsoski said. “The place is a disaster.”

Other business

In another case, Maksimoski advised the owners of Whirlwind, a landscaping company owned by Chris and Suzanne Baxter in Amherst, that they might not be able to move their business to 10 Rocky Hill Road. The former farm facility, which recently entered the real estate market, is in a residential-agricultural zone.

“There’s no living space on the site, so you can’t make it a home business,” Maksimoski said.

Planners also approved an 18-inch by 24-inch temporary lawn sign for My Health Matters Fitness, operated by Britt McGrath, which opened in October at 1 Mill Valley Road.

Although McGrath requested two signs, board members said they would only approve one, which could last until Dec. 31.

Board member Joseph Zgrodnik said he appreciates McGrath making the request, noting that many so-called “waving flags” have been put up without permission.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at [email protected].

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