Zoning, wetlands issues arise in Roxbury
Published 3:05 pm, Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Mark Lowe has run Earth Artists Excavating Co. from his property at 10 Baker Road in Roxbury for 24 years.
While there is no commercially zoned property in the town, Mr. Lowe's business was there before zoning laws were adopted in the small community.
As a result, his business was "grandfathered in," explained Selectman Russ Dirienzo.
Mr. Lowe's property was considered "exempt but not able to expand in commercial operation," Mr. Dirienzo explained.
"Mark keeps some machinery behind his buildings and it's never been a problem." Mr. Dirienzo said, "No one complained."
That was until the end of August, when an Inland Wetlands Commission member, Joe Quaranta, cleared land on his Judd's Bridge Road property to put up a play set. With the clearing of trees, Mr. Quaranta exposed the rear of Mr. Lowe's property.
That's when the trouble began -- both for Mr. Quaranta and Mr. Lowe.
The quarter-acre cleared by Mr. Quaranta was partially on designated wetlands and infringed on the property line of an abutting property owner, Patty Drzal.
The clearing of the trees exposed the rear of Mr. Lowe's Baker Road property to the view from the home of a second Judd's Bridge Road property owner, Mercer Mayer.
Complaints were filed by Mr. Mayer's son, Simon Metz.
The Inland Wetlands violation was resolved by Mr. Quaranta filing a wetlands permit after the fact, paying a $350 fine. He said he had thought he had been in compliance all along.
Mr. Lowe's property is now being investigated for a zoning violation by Zoning Enforcement Officer Mary Barton. Allegations of mishandling of land use by the town have been made by Mr. Metz, Mr. Dirienzo said.
"We don't know if Mark is in compliance or not," Mr. Dirienzo said. "The property goes back a long time. We treat people like neighbors here and a part of the community. We don't go out looking to cite anyone."
Ms. Barton is reviewing the facts in the zoning complaint. When she has facts in place, she will take appropriate action, she said.
Mr. Metz, who filed the Roxbury land-use complaint of "possible commercial enterprise" at the 10 Baker Road property, declined comment at this time.
Mr. Lowe is out of town and unavailable for comment.
Mark Lowe is no relation to Roxbury Selectman Robert Lowe.