Yorktown neighbors’ lawsuit: Commercial business in their residential area is a nuisance

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Trucks pull out of the yard at Yorktown Garden Supplies on Gomer Street in Yorktown Oct. 2, 2018. Neighbors have a lawsuit against the landscaping and paving businesses located in the neighborhood.

Several neighbors are suing the owners of a Gomer Street property, claiming that its “ever expanding commercial operations” create a nuisance of dust, airborne debris, noise and flooding in an otherwise residential area.

Residents of eight homes on Gomer Street, Linda Court and Smith Road filed suit against George and Francine Hirsch, owners of  G.A.H. Building Corp. business at 3293 and 3311 Gomer St. The suit claims the company runs other businesses at the site, including Yorktown Garden Supply, which the suit describes as a paving business; and Landcor, which the suit says does excavation, drainage, tree work and driveway repairs.

“The town has received numerous complaints concerning Hirsch’s uses of the premises and its detrimental impacts on the public health and safety and the environment,” says the suit, filed in late August in state court.

But Francine Hirsch, who with her husband has owned the property for more than 30 years, responded Tuesday that “none of these complaints are true. We are in compliance with everything and we can prove it in court.”

The lawyer for the Hirsches declined to comment amid the ongoing litigation.

The suit also names as defendants the town’s code enforcement officer, Jason Zeif, and building inspector John H. Landi, saying they should have taken more steps to enforce town code — and that a court should compel the town to do so.

According to the lawsuit, the town approved the property for use as a business in 1960, giving former owner Irving Solomon permission to convert a building into a space “limited to retail sales of plants and trees as an accessory use to an existing nursery on a nearby five-acre tract.”

That permit expired in 1965 and was never extended or renewed, according to the suit. In the early 1980s, for a subsequent owner of the property, the zoning board legalized a garage roof and a sign for the nursery business, but with a condition that if the property changed hands again, the next owner would have to re-apply to the board.

The suit claims the current owners — the Hirsches — never reapplied while increasing the scale of the business.

In the past three years, the suit says, the town code enforcement officer issued memorandums citing excessive noise and expansion of the property’s use without approval. The neighbors assert the town has pursued no further enforcement of those violations.

The neighbors, whose suit also says the business activities have negatively affected their property values, are seeking a judgment against the property owners and their business for an amount that would be determined at trial. Among other things, the neighbors want the court to halt commercial activities on the property until the owners comply with all laws and regulations.

The 3293 Gomer St. parcel has garages and a storage building and shares an entrance with 3311 Gomer St., which has a single-family residence that’s leased to a tenant, according to the suit.

The landscape supply business includes retail, wholesale and “delivery of bulk materials,” the suit says. Tractor-trailers “maneuver into the premises stopping residential traffic, school buses, pedestrians,” a traffic situation that the suit portrays as a safety issue.

On Gomer Street, plaintiffs Beth-Ann and Jason Permuy, Negjip and Fatlume Bakraq, Monica and Frank Tomasini Jr., and John and Roopal Carbo live either adjacent to or within 100 feet of the Hirsch property. Other plaintiffs, on Smith Road or Linda Court, are Mary and James Murphy, Ruby Schuberg, Mary and David Craig, and Stephanie and Patrick Smith