DERRY — Zoning officials gave unanimous approval to a home auto detailing business amid several neighborhood complaints saying it would change the character of the area.
The board granted approval Nov. 21 to Kenneth Vigeant's request for a special exception to operate an auto detailing business at his home at 2R Homestead Drive.
Vigeant said his business would be a part-time venture, only a few cars by appointment only, and a clean, not-intrusive business.
"I've been detailing most of my life," Vigeant said, adding he currently does detail work part-time at the Royal T business in Derry.
The work entails buffing, polishing, cleaning, repairing paint scratches and coating.
Vigeant said he uses an air compressor and vacuum but it wouldn't be loud enough to bother the neighbors.
"I might do five to six details a month," he said, "and it's in my shop."
He said he doesn't use any oils or other chemicals when doing his work.
Not everyone living in Vigeant's neighborhood were happy about the plan.
Sarah Clough lives at 20 Lesley Circle and not far from Homestead Drive. She had come before the Zoning Board earlier this year to voice concerns about another automotive home business plan that was denied by the board.
That plan came from Daniel Moge who wanted to operate a wholesale auto repair business at his Lesley Circle home.
Clough said the reason she is back before the board is similar to what happened with Moge. The root cause being allowing home businesses to operate in residential, quiet neighborhoods, she said.
"Our homes are our largest investments," Clough said. "I looked for a home, with quiet streets, and we'd like to keep it that way. Remember why you denied the last business and keep our neighborhoods as true neighborhoods."
Mandy Gearing lives at 4 Homestead Drive and said it felt like she had just come before the board.
"I feel like we were just here doing this," she said, referencing the Moge case months ago. "I like to go out on my porch, have a cup of coffee, but you could hear (Vigeant's) air compressor, vacuum all day. It's a constant sound, that's my summer."
Gearing added she fears her home value will be diminished if the auto detailing business was allowed.
Zoning Board Chairman Lynn Perkins had to calm a brief outburst from the crowd while Gearing was offering her testimony and said it's a fine balancing act to make sure neighbors are heard in opposition while property owners are given their rights to live and do business.
"There is a constitutional value for property owners being able to use their property within its full potential," Perkins said.
Perkins said he feels the board decides cases based on both sides of the situation and tries to be fair and as in tune with rules and ordinances.
The approval granted to Vigeant had conditions attached including no sign at the location, a limit of two vehicles on premises at a time, no non-resident employees and hours of operation restricted to Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.