Chichester business dispute goes to court

Chichester business dispute goes to court

A town battle with a Chichester businessman over violations of his property on Dover Road broke out from Planning Board to County Court.

This dispute will be the subject of a court hearing in March, when town officials and residents whose properties abut CM Truck and Trailer Sales attempt to compel owner Calgary MacKenzie to fix several violations at the site that are detailed in planning board minutes and court documents.

The borough said in its lawsuit that the work at 46 Dover Road stores trailers off the approved site layout and is expanding on land owned by adjacent neighbors, including building a “large earth embankment, parking area and holding dock.”

“Other violations include the erection of stone walls, the expansion of the trailer parking area on the south side of the site, and the filling of wetland bunkers and wetlands at the northwest end of the site with parking areas or eroding stones,” the town said. .

The judge will also decide whether McKenzie must pay attorney fees in the city plus fines of $550 per day dating back to July 8, 2021, which could amount to more than $330,000 by the time the case is heard in March.

Meanwhile, McKenzie filed a counter-lawsuit against the town, saying that scrapping his site scheme should be null and void because the town did not follow its own rules and failed to give him written notice.

He explained that after opening in 2018, sales continued to grow and then rose during the pandemic.

During COVID, “vendor deliveries became intermittent with little inventory arriving for weeks, then many orders arriving at once, causing CM to run out of storage space,” he wrote in his lawsuit. He worked to purchase the adjacent land and began storing trailers there, with plans to submit revised site plans once the sale was complete, according to court documents.

However, by July of 2021, city officials had enough and sent him written notice of violations at the site.

Chichester officials and two outright neighbors of the business told MacKenzie to make a laundry list of changes, including:

control of runoff water that spreads to neighboring homes; reduce noise and use headlights at night; approval of sewage systems on the ground; moving trailers stored in unauthorized locations; return the border crossed to adjacent to the property of neighbors; removal of retaining walls built without documentation on the McKinsey site plan; and add erosion controls.

Town officials said they were frustrated by McKenzie’s lack of urgency to fix abuses.

He submitted a new site plan on May 5, leading to the walk-through on May 9. That day, according to the transcript, McKenzie called planning coordinator Kristi Jobin and “asked her not to take any pictures of the property. He stated it was rude and asked how Ms. Jobin would like him to go to her house to take pictures.”

“Ms. Jobin told Mr. Mackenzie that this was a public meeting and the photos are for your reference. Also, since it was a public meeting, there is no expectation of privacy.”

Jobin stopped taking pictures and soon left with city officials.

Then, on June 16, Jobin stated that the site “remains the same as on the day it was ordered to cease and desist, and the applicant has made no good faith effort to make the site compliant.”

McKenzie’s attorney, Pat Panchokwu of Bedford, said Gobin had no business speaking because she was not a member of the planning board.

It is unclear how much work has actually been done. A CM Trucking representative said MacKenzie preferred not to comment.

His lawsuit states that some work was delayed because he needed input from state surveyors, engineers and environmental officials. “CM has made substantive progress toward compliance,” the lawsuit says.

Panciocco was not available for comment, but she made her client’s point at the spring meeting. She described her client as a young businessman who needs more spice and pragmatism. That’s why he accidentally used someone else’s land for storage before he got the city’s approval.

“He thought it was hoarding and didn’t really think about it,” Bansioko said in the minutes. “He’s 24. It’s kind of the way I thought.”

Chichester officials also declined to comment due to the pending lawsuit. In the past, board members have said they’d rather work with McKinsey than fight him.

Residents hardest hit by MacKenzie’s business had a lot to say, including Dave Morey, his wife Diane, Megan Rothermill and Earl Lund, who are a married couple.

Morey is concerned about the traffic, the headlights shining in his window and the snow falling on his property, among other things.

Rothaermel overlooks the trailers on the berm in her backyard. She wants the Mackenzie of her land and more space between properties.

Planning Council Chairman Stan Brehm has not spoken to McKenzie.

“The appearance from the city perception is that when you were talked to, it seemed that instead of working with the city, you just kept moving forward and developing the property further. It took a long time,” Brim said.

Even when he disputed some facts, MacKenzie was apologizing.

“I want to tell you guys that I made mistakes, and I will fix mistakes,” he said. “We are only human.”

Since then, he has taken a tougher stance, especially opposing Bremm’s comments in court documents.

“This is completely unfounded because CM did not receive written notice of specific violations until July 8, 2021, and even that was not related to the property,” he wrote in the corresponding lawsuit.

A note on the company’s website stated that it will be closed on the weekend and reopen on Monday after the owner’s wedding.

He wrote: “The sky is the limit, never be afraid to chase your dreams.” “You will never succeed in life if you do not take risks.”

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