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 The Shelby Township Planning Commission listens to a resident explain what has been happening at Telly’s Greenhouse on 24 Mile Road Oct. 21.

The Shelby Township Planning Commission listens to a resident explain what has been happening at Telly’s Greenhouse on 24 Mile Road Oct. 21.

Photo by Kara Szymanski

Planning Commission denies landscaping company from operating at Telly’s

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 11, 2019

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Planning Commission unanimously denied a local business’s request to allow a landscaping company on its agriculturally zoned property.

Residents voiced their concerns at a Planning Commission meeting Oct. 21 after noticing large machines and buildings being built at the Telly’s Greenhouse location on 24 Mile Road, west of Shelby Road. R. Youngblood and Co. had begun storing trucks and equipment there.

Homes line the Telly’s Greenhouse property.

During the meeting, John Gaber, the attorney representing Telly’s owner George Papadelis and landscaper Ryan Youngblood, explained the situation.

“Given the needs of the marketplace these days and the consumers, (Papadelis) needs to be able to do more of these (landscaping) things well, which is why we are in front of you tonight to talk about these particular uses and continuing the uses that were there when Mueller’s (the previous owner of the property) was there, and the uses that Mr. Papadelis has engaged in, but it would make more sense for many reasons for Mr. Youngblood to continue those uses,” said Gaber.

Mueller’s Sunrise Nursery began operating on the land, with a landscaping company, in 1958 and remained in business until 2009, when Telly’s Greenhouse took over the property.

Mueller’s used a landscaping company before the zoning ordinance was created in 1987.

In 2013, the Planning Commission approved Telly’s to build retail buildings, greenhouses, a concrete parking lot, a barn, a berm and more, but not to run a landscaping company on its property.

“We believe that (the landscaping uses) are continued nonconforming uses on the property,” said Gaber.

Telly’s and Gaber believed that the landscaping uses were not previously abandoned over the last 10 years and should be able to continue.

During the meeting, residents expressed their concerns about the landscaping company running out of the property, which has been going on for approximately a year.

Many of the residents stated that they would hear loud beeping noises and large vehicles driving around at all times of the day, many times as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 9 p.m.

Raquel Moore, the Planning Commission secretary, agreed with the residents.

“Back in 2009, when you came before us, your hours of operation, they varied of course from season to season, but it was said that your hours would start at 8 a.m. and go until 9 p.m., and then at different times they would start at 9 a.m. and go until 8 p.m. Hearing that you’re operating a business at 6:30 or 7 a.m., I mean, that’s just uncalled for to the residents as far as noise,” she said.

Moore also mentioned that some terms that had been agreed upon were not held up. She said that she drove down Briar Drive, a residential street that borders Telly’s to the west, and the berm separating the business from the residences was not in good shape.

“It was spotty and there was no green barrier, and that was what you told us you were going to do,” she said.

Gerald Butler, who has lived at his home for 35 years, attended the meeting and said that recently Telly’s had constructed a pole barn to store the landscaping company’s vehicles and equipment. Butler said that the pole barn is right behind his property, and much of the noise comes from the pole barn.

“When he came over and took over Mueller’s, I was thrilled, very happy that he did, because obviously we didn’t want condominiums or whatever else, but I’ve always had, like, a sanctuary for 35 years, but you keep comparing Mueller’s to Telly’s. It’s not even close. Everything Mueller’s had was up in front (by 24 Mile Road),” said Butler.

Residents said that noise was never an issue with the previous company.

Dorothy Mazurkiewicz, who has lived in her home for 45 years, is one of the affected neighbors on Shelby Road and agreed with Butler.

“Two wrongs do not make a right,” she said.

Forty-six residents signed a petition asking that Telly’s not be allowed to proceed with the landscaping company.

“Mr. Papadelis is a small businessman. ... He’s trying to continue an operation we think provides value to Shelby Township. We believe that the neighbors are generally happy with him and his operations and his being very conscientious of their concerns; however, he needs to adapt his business and be flexible to provide the best service and a full-service array of plants, service and materials for his customers. That’s why he is looking to bring in Youngblood and Co.,” said Gaber.

Jerome Moffitt, the Planning Commission chairman, said he appreciated all the residents coming out.

“It’s very clear that even though you’ve been doing the work there for the last year, prior to that you’ve not done landscaping work out of that property since 2009, so it has been abandoned not just one year, not two years, but 10 years. One of the issues a nonconforming use has is, ‘Has it been stopped for a year?’ Well, it’s been stopped 10 times that amount. So, clearly, we were going to add the landscaping work on this property and (it) would be an expansion of a nonconforming use. I’ve got some real concerns with that, some real problems with that,” he said.

Michael Flynn, the township Board of Trustees representative, said that this situation is not acceptable.

“I think Telly’s by and large has been a good neighbor. Unfortunately, this situation is, in my mind, not acceptable. We’ve worked really hard, at least since I’ve been on the township board, to end the practice of ‘do whatever you want and ask for forgiveness.’ The fact is that that use was abandoned … and you can’t just do stuff and come in here and expect us to play along. And this use is very disturbing to the neighbors. I appreciate their complaints, and I think the greenhouse part of it is great, but this is just an unacceptable use for that residential district. We’re going to end up in court on this one, I am afraid. This, in my opinion, isn’t going to happen anymore.”

Youngblood apologized to the township and the residents for any misunderstanding.

“Nothing was done with ill intention. In fact, that’s why we came on so strong, because we thought the zoning was exactly correct,” Youngblood said.

He said they would have done things differently if they had known that wasn’t the case.

“So I apologize on my behalf and George’s for the impact and the negative standpoint that we’ve put … on the commissioners, the planning director and the residents. We agree that it could have gone a lot better. But again, I want to emphasize that we did not do this with ill intention.”

The request by Telly’s was denied by all members of the commission.

For more information about the issue, call the township at (586) 731-5100.