Francestown ZBA stands by commercial vehicle relocation

  • Francestown town line post with rocks stacked on top. Staff Photo by Abbe Hamilton

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/8/2021 10:51:02 AM

The Francestown ZBA has rejected two appeals on a ruling they made with regards to commercial vehicles parked at a Perley Road property.

The issue initially came to the town after neighbors complained about noise, odor, and vibration associated with frequent visits of heavy trucks and equipment, and commercial equipment being stored outside at 148 Perley Road, home of Justin and Kristin Landry, according to Zoning Board meeting minutes. Precision Land Management, Landry & Son Excavation, Rogue Transport, and Midnight Oil Undercoating are all businesses registered to the Landrys, but none conduct activities on Perley Road, according to meeting minutes. The complaints triggered the town to enforce its zoning ordinance, which states that only one commercial vehicle associated with a home-based business may be stored on site. The Landrys received a week’s notice from the Building Inspector to remove all but one commercial vehicle from the site in early December, according to town records.

The Landrys complied by moving a tri-axle dump truck, an Econoline trailer, and a felling trailer to a site on the 2nd New Hampshire Turnpike, but they appealed the town’s order at a meeting on Feb. 18, and attempted to get it reheard on March 24. The Zoning Board upheld the Building Inspector’s original decision both times, noting that the removal of the vehicles from the site had resolved the issues, and abutter concerns appeared to be satisfied.

“I would like to be able to just park my truck in the driveway,” Justin Landry said, and that the last thing he wants to do before and after a long day of work is shuttling vehicles around town. It’s especially difficult this time of year since his dump truck exceeds the spring weight limit for some town roads, he said. Landry reiterated that no materials or fuels are stored on site, and no customers visit his house.

There was no issue when he would park the truck and trailer on the road in downtown Bennington, where Landry and his wife lived prior to buying their Francestown home last July, Landry said, and that he feels “targeted” by the town, citing other commercial vehicles parked at homes on scenic roads around town.

“The ordinance is pretty clear: you’re allowed one commercial vehicle,” Building Inspector John Kendall said when asked whether Landry’s case was singled out. The heavy vehicles associated with Landry’s business are “clearly not allowed” according to the prevailing zoning ordinance, Kendall said, and it would be difficult to obtain a variance or exception to allow more vehicles on site since abutters had already complained. “The zoning in Francestown is strict, but it’s been clearly written,” he said.

Litigation is one potential next step, Landry said, but he plans to keep his vehicles off site in the meantime, he said.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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