Beaver Brook Outfitters, Wevertown
Sometimes one man’s vision is another man’s blight. Such is the case in North River where Peter Burns seeks to move the base of operations for Wevertown-based Beaver Brook Outfitters to a parcel of land along Route 28.
Burns’ potential neighbor, Bart Monda, believes the proposed business will ruin his view of the Adirondacks and therefore his quality of life, something he says prompted him to move to the area 20 years ago.
The Johnsburg Planning Board attempted to sort through the conflicting agendas Monday, Jan. 7.
Burns seeks to operate a legal business that is permitted within the zoning along that stretch of Route 28. The complex will include a new rafting base, some office space, a small retail store, some storage space and a parking lot. Monda believes his right to an unobstructed view takes precedence. Monda repeatedly told the Planning Board that the project would turn his view of the Adirondacks into a view of a parking lot and he urged the board to force Burns to flip his project so that the parking lot was on the side nearer someone else’s property and not his.
Various Planning Board members repeatedly told Monda that Burns’ proposed business is allowed under the zoning law in place and that the board must consider the project application that is before them, not the project as Monda believes it ought to be.
Burns said that he developed the project with his neighbor in mind. That’s why he opted to leave a swath of trees and brush between the two parcels intact to form a buffer.
“I try to be a good neighbor,” Burns said.
Monda said he was sure Burns was a good person but if he was really a good neighbor, he would have the parking lot at the other end of the property, next to the neighbor on the other side and not next to Monda’s property.
Town Zoning Enforcement Officer Danae Tucker told the board that she had visited the property and in her opinion, the swath of trees and brush separating the two properties was not insignificant.
“I couldn’t see the house from where I was,” Tucker said.
Monda wasn’t having any of it and repeatedly told the board that he intended to hire an attorney and sue the town and Burns for destroying his view and his Adirondack quality of life. Monda said the view wasn’t his only concern. He said he didn’t want to listen to car doors shutting and people coming back from a rafting trips being boisterous and laughing. He said he was also concerned about oil-and-gas-contaminated water running off Burns’ property and onto his. He referenced a low point on his property where he claimed water gathered.
During the course of the back-and-forth discussion, Burns repeatedly agreed not to remove the swath of trees and brush separating the two properties and agreed that if pressed, he’d go so far as to move dirt to create a low berm between the two properties to make sure runoff stays on his property and doesn’t flow onto his neighbor’s.
“I’m willing to make minor changes,” Burns said. “But I’m not going to make major changes to the plan.”
At the advice of Planning Board attorney Mike Hill, the board tabled the application to allow time for Planning Board members to visit the site to gain a better perspective of each property in relation to the other. Doing so would allow Planning Board members to determine the degree to which the project would encroach on Monda’s view and gain a better understanding of the topography and where storm water would flow.
The Planning Board will revisit the project at its next meeting, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek.