Zoning Board Hears Appeal Against Disputed Storage Site

New Windsor Residents Want Weller's Permit Revoked

October 23, 1991|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

Is it a construction equipment storage site?

Or is it a junkyard?

That's what county zoning administrators will try to decide abouta site in New Windsor where Weller Bros. Construction Co. Inc. stores cranes and other heavy equipment.

Yesterday, the Carroll Board of Zoning Appeals began hearing arguments in the case, which pits the company against a group of residents who live near the 0.7-acre site on New Windsor Road.

In March 1990, the residents filed a complaint with the county zoning administrator, saying that the site has become overgrown and that some of the equipment there is inoperable and remains there indefinitely in violation of the zoning code.

A report by a zoning inspector described the crane as "dilapidated," "brokendown" and "inoperable."

However, the county's zoning administrator, Solveig Smith, ruled against the residents, which brings them to the zoning appeals board.

The residents want the previous ruling overturned. They believe Smith dismissed the complaint without considering sufficient evidence, said David T. Duree, who lives near the siteand is representing the citizens.

The Weller site is in a residential zone, but the company was granted a non-conforming use classification, allowing the it to use the site as a storage facility for construction equipment.

County zoning code says that if the activity for which a site is granted a non-conforming use permit ceases for sixmonths, the zoning automatically reverts to the zoning called for inthe county's comprehensive plan -- in this case, residential.

Theresidents claim that a 25-ton crane on the site has been unused and inoperable long enough to cause a return to residential zoning.

There also were complaints about abandoned cars at the site.

"We have used the equipment or the tools on a regular basis," Margaret Williams, president of the Baltimore-based Weller, told the board yesterday.

Weller specializes in installing and maintaining machinery usedby concrete plants.

The company has done work for Carroll firms such as Lehigh Portland Cement Co. and Genstar Stone Products Inc.

Among the other items stored at the location are trailers, backhoes, front-end loaders, as well as a variety of smaller equipment such as welding compressors, tools, and acetylene torches.

A small building also occupies the site.

Because testimony was not completed by the end of yesterday's session, the board called for the hearing to continue at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Room 07 of the Carroll County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster.

More hearings are scheduledfor today, including a request by Genstar for a waiver of the 200-foot setback requirement for a site at 1060 Medford Road.

The company seeks a conditional-use permit in connection with limestone mining.

In other business yesterday, a hearing for the Dug Hill Rod and Gun Club Inc. was postponed indefinitely.

The club had applied to add a black-powder firing range on its site at 4100 Wine Road. The location is classified as a non-conforming use.

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