Kirby Zoning Board of Adjustment
We would like to go beyond last Wednesday's article in The Caledonian-Record and explain more about the current zoning controversy in Kirby. It is our opinion that the Kirby Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) violated the letter and spirit of Kirby's Zoning Regulations and Municipal Plan in multiple ways in Mr. Temple's conditional use permit. Furthermore, we believe the ZBA's logic in the permit is self-contradictory. We want the people of Kirby to understand this. In this letter,we point out just a couple of the several problems with the ZBA's decision. First, let us reiterate that the ZBA already decided that Mr. Temple's use of his property at 1693 Ridge Road in Kirby requires a conditional use permit. Thus, according to the ZBA, his use does not qualify as a home occupation or as agriculture. He is operating his business, Kirby Mountain Lawns & Landscaping, with several employees, in Kirby's residential district. It is also important to note that Mr. Temple has never lived on the property in question, and that the permit granted by the ZBA does not require him to build a home on the property, let alone live on the property.
In the permit, the ZBA classified Mr. Temple's firewood business as "Agricultural Processing" because it "processes plant materials (logs) into a product (firewood)." Agricultural Processing is indeed an allowable conditional use in Kirby's residential district. On the other hand, "Forestry Processing," "the processing of harvested timber into lumber or related products," is prohibited in residential areas. Contrary to the ZBA's argument, firewood processing, because it processes harvested timber into firewood, is Forestry Processing. The ZBA's logic redefines all Forestry Processing as Agricultural Processing, which effectively rewrites the Zoning Regulations by allowing Forestry Processing where it is currently prohibited. Note that firewood processing is permitted as a home occupation, and as such is very common in Kirby and is protected. However, a commercial business is not a home occupation. Thus, the ZBA violated the Zoning Regulations by permitting Forestry Processing in Kirby's residential district.
One of the very few conditions placed on Mr. Temple's permit is that he may make up to six round trips per 24-hour period with his sanding trucks. "The ZBA finds that 6 round trips per 24 hours for sanding trucks will have no adverse impact on the character of the neighborhood, and that more than 6 round trips with sanding trucks will have an adverse impact." On the other hand, the ZBA allows unlimited levels of traffic otherwise. Yet, traffic by Mr. Temple's dump trucks regularly exceeds six round trips per 24-hour period. We do not understand how it is that more than six round trips with sanding trucks constitutes an adverse impact, while unlimited traffic otherwise does not. Thus, the ZBA contradicts its own reasoning by restricting sanding trucks to six round trips while allowing unlimited traffic otherwise. Our opinion is that for the conditional use permit to have even begun to approach legitimacy, the general traffic levels would have had to have been limited.