WOBURN - The City Council recently paved the way for an Arlington landscaping company's proposed move to an old auto repair facility in the South End.
During their latest gathering in City Hall, the aldermen unanimously agreed to issue a special permit to Black Diamond Landscapes to move its small fleet of pickups and dump trucks to the industrial parcel at 9 Green St.
The landscaping firm, with a focus on customers in the vicinity of Lexington, Belmont, Winchester, and Burlington, provides a range of services that include landscape construction, traditional lawn and garden care, and snow and ice removal. The business was reportedly founded in 2002 by Arlington native Joseph Cusce Jr., who currently operates the company from a lot in his hometown that's shared by another area landscaper.
According to local attorney Jospeh Tarby, representing Cusce, though his client is moving to an industrial zone, where a landscaping company can operate by right, a special permit is needed because the site has a number of zoning non-conformities.
The petitioner also sought a special permit to store a total of seven commercial vehicles overnight on the Green Street property, which last housed Green Street Auto Service in a 2,400 square foot building.
"The site is non-conforming because of minimum landscaping [requirements] and open-space, as well as side-yard and parking setbacks," said Tarby. "The building on the property was first constructed in 1969."
"It had been used for many years until it was recently sold," added the attorney.
The .32-acre property, long home to Busa Auto Service, is situated by the old Boston and Maine Railroad tracks that run parallel to Main Street and stretch towards the Winchester line. The city's assessor's office lists the owner of the site as GRNST LLC, an entity that has long been managed by Waltham's David and Linda Strait.
The small parcel sits directly across the street from a larger industrial park at 8-to-10 Green St., where a new 54-unit apartment complex is planned.
According to Tarby, his client is willing to ensure a number of abandoned cars, apparently dumped on the property over the years, are removed before the landscaping firm begins work. At the suggestion of Ward 2 Alderman Richard Gately, whose district includes the industrial zone, the special permit applicant also agreed to trim back a stand of overgrown trees that have reportedly been blamed on area power outages.
"That area has to be cleaned up. It's a mess down there," said Gately, who participated in the council meeting via a conference call. "I don't mind you guys going in, but you have to work with us."
Just one person, neighboring Prospect Street landlord Richard Paris, spoke during the public hearing. Paris also complained about overgrown trees and their apparent contribution to recent electrical failures that impacted his property.
"The trees are overgrown there and keep on hitting the electrical wires and putting out [service] to my building," he said.
The council attached a number of conditions to the special permit approval, including the following stipulations:
• That the landscaper's employees be prohibited from taking right hand turns out of the site onto Green St., where heavy trucking is banned;
• That a fence around the perimeter of the site be restored to an aesthetically-pleasing condition;
• That the parking lot be repainted;
• That the petitioner be prohibited from erecting large storage bins for landscaping materials on the site;
• That the trees by the southeast corner of the site be trimmed back;
• That all commercial vehicles used by the business be registered within the City of Woburn.