By George Abad
The Warren DRB meeting next Monday night, November 7, at 7 p.m. is of interest to all Warren residents who live in areas zoned residential. The residential zoning ordinance and quality of life in the Alpine Village are under attack by two individuals for their personal gain. The decision to operate large nonconforming businesses in a residential zone benefits only the business owner at the expense of all in the neighborhood. This selfish, financially-based decision forces the neighborhood to essentially subsidize the business owner’s balance sheet by accepting increased traffic, noise, air and ground pollution, decreased property values and a lower quality of life.
On the agenda are two appeals regarding neighbors who are operating rather large businesses as home occupation businesses. The definition of what is allowable as a home-based business is quite clear, but is being challenged and this interpretation could very well be precedent setting for all residential areas in town.
One appeal is about building a garage to serve as a maintenance and storage facility for a fleet of five large commercial garbage trucks and container haulers, arguing that that is not an accepted home occupation use as defined in the zoning regs. The other complaint alleges that the storing, maintenance, and operation of an excavating company and firewood processing yard are not acceptable uses under the home occupation and cottage industry definitions in the residential zoning district.
As a 34-year part-time resident of Alpine Village, I have made the extremely difficult decision to seek help from the town to preserve the residential character of my neighborhood. I am not running small businesses out of town. I am not forcing people to move elsewhere. The business owners are trying to pull at the heartstrings of anyone who will listen. They are not guaranteed and entitled to accommodations at the expense of everyone else. It is not mandatory that we cut them a break which negatively affects our lives for as long as we live in the Alpine Village.
When we move into a neighborhood, we all accept the regulations and ordinances that are in place and which formed these beautiful places we chose to live. Every significant nonconforming use which pushes the limit of what is allowed ultimately changes the character of the neighborhood to the point it loses its identity completely. I do not want to live in the newly-evolving Warren Alpine Village commercial industry district. The Warren town ordinances protect residential zones from heavy industry and constant traffic from massive garbage trucks, heavy equipment trailers, skidders, and tri-axle dump trucks on 14-foot wide dirt roads, not to mention an entire firewood processing operation. It is imperative for those of us who want to define what a residential zone means to attend the Warren DRB meeting November 7, at 7 p.m., unless you have no problem with garbage trucks heavy equipment operating right next door. It could happen to you. Take action now. See you Monday night.
George Abad lives in Warren.