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Westerly repair shop and neighbors try to settle complaints

WESTERLY — The owner of a Post Road engine and motorcycle repair business is working with residential neighbors and town zoning officials to reach an agreement following complaints of excessive noise and traffic.

Kyle Crandall, owner of KMC Powersports, which operates at 382 Post Road on the former Sparro Machine Shop property, met with the attorney representing neighbors Michael and Pamela Turco on Friday to begin drafting a proposal that would resolve complaints that the business has violated the conditions of its zoning agreement.

The Turcos, who are represented by lawyer George Comolli, contend that the business has significantly expanded, going beyond the property’s use as a machine shop. “What is an existence there now is substantially different than what was there from 1979 to 2007,” Comolli said at a Zoning Board of Review meeting in June.

After Zoning Official Jay Parker found no violations, the Turcos filed an appeal with the board, asking it to rule independently on the business’s operations. The Turcos and several other area homeowners outlined their complaints before the board at a meeting on June 11.

“I’m inundated with noise from idling trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles,” said Michael Turco, noting that consistent loud noise was not audible from his property until Crandall leased the property in April 2012. At that time, former zoning official Elizabeth Burdick approved a zoning agreement allowing Crandall to use the property for his small engine and motorcycle repair and manufacturing business.

As part of the agreement, Crandall agreed to several conditions, including no “excessive” noise, no repairs or work on vehicles outside of the building, and no outside storage of any small engines, motorcycles or four-wheeled vehicles.

Along with excessive noise, Turco and other neighbors reported large vehicles idling outside the building, and several such vehicles being left outside.

Crandall, who was also present at the June zoning meeting, responded that the only large vehicles left outside were his own personal vehicles, or those dropped off in the evening after the business had closed for the day. He also wrote in a statement submitted to property owners Donald Speice and Arthur Ferraro in April 2012, when his lease began, that his business was comparable to Sparro Machine Shop in its work of machine manufacturing and repair, therefore abiding by the zoning requirements for the property

Given that Parker, who visited the property on several occasions, had found no violations of these conditions, the Zoning Board postponed ruling on the appeal.

Since then, Comolli has met with Crandall, Parker, Speice, Ferraro and Zoning Solicitor John Payne Jr. to try to draft a written agreement resolving some of the issues.

At the zoning board meeting on Wednesday night, the members unanimously voted to postpone ruling until their August meeting at the request of Comolli’s partner, Steven Surdot, who explained that the proposal was still being prepared. “We’re looking for some more time to try to come to a resolution and to circulate this to all the parties involved,” he said.

Neither Crandall or the Turcos said they wished to comment on the draft, since they are still in negotiations.

Parker said, “In general, it’s in regard to noise levels on the property.” He noted that even if Crandall and the neighbors resolve their concerns before the next meeting, the zoning board will still have to rule on the appeal. “The agreement is a separate thing from the appeal ruling,” he said. If the board rules that Crandall has violated any of the conditions outlined in his approved zoning agreement, he will be issued a notice, Parker said.

“The notice’s purpose may be to clarify existing conditions, or specify how he is not in compliance,” Parker said. “Only if it’s then found to be a reoccurring violation will he be issued a summons. Provided that he no longer does whatever the violating action is, he’ll be OK.”

Parker returned the property last week following a report and photographs from Michael Turco of a motorcycle left outside the property. Parker said that when he visited Crandall on Thursday, he found no violations, and that Crandall explained that the bike was dropped off after hours, and was left out overnight until workers returned to the business the next day.

The zoning board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 6. At that time the board will also hold a public hearing on applicant Nan Suk Clark’s proposal for a spa and massage facility in the Ocean Plaza on Franklin Street. The board unanimously approved, with no discussion, the pre-application review submitted by Clark at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Clark was convicted in New York in 2006 for promoting prostitution after an investigation into her two massage parlors in White Plains, N.Y. Clark’s most recent massage parlor was in Uncasville, Conn., though her license there was revoked in April after she was found to have lied on her Connecticut license renewal form by failing to acknowledge disciplinary actions in another state.

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