GRAFTON — A business’ attempt to have its competition’s
permit revoked fell flat last week as an appeal hearing
came down decisively against action.
town of Grafton Zoning Board of Appeals met last
Wednesday for a hearing, considering a formal petition
from Bruno Hanney of Bruno’s Self Storage. Hanney, who
has a self-storage business under construction at 2091
Highway W in the town, filed the petition to appeal the
permit for another storage business, owned by RJ
Investments, approved in July for the property at 1927
were just about to start construction, (and) I find out
through the paper … the town just approved another
storage facility a few hundred yards from me,” Hanney
said at the hearing.
After the hearing ran for two hours as Hanney’s
attorney, Rodney Carter, and Town Attorney Sara
MacCarthy made their arguments, discussed evidence and
spoke to several witnesses, the Zoning Board of Appeals
asked several questions and then voted unanimously
against sending the second storage facility back to the
petition argued the notice sent by the town for a public
hearing on RJ Investments’ conditional use permit was
defective, because neither Hanney nor the previous
owners of his property received that notice.
“That’s not something we’re responsible for,” Mac-Carthy
Under the state statute for notices of public hearings,
which the town of Grafton ordinance follows, a
municipality is required to prepare and mail notices for
all properties within 500 feet of the property for which
the hearing is being held. There is no requirement that
the town guarantee delivery or verify receipt of the
town had a notarized affidavit of mailing for the
notices to all 14 appropriate properties, which Mac-Carthy
called presumptive evidence that it was done. One
resident testified for the town that they received the
notice; but the couple who sold Hanney the property said
they did not receive it.
McCarthy said that, even if it were proven that a
mistake was made, that isn’t enough to invalidate the
Plan Commission’s actions. The petitioner has to show
that something was done wrong “with prejudice.”
think it is prejudiced, you heard Mr. Hanney on the
economic situation,” Carter said.
Beyond the formal argument, Hanney spoke during the
hearing’s public comment about the investment he had
made in his storage business. He said he had invested
millions in construction, planning and economic studies
for his business.
said the studies for selecting his location and planning
his business’ build-out were derailed by the RJ
investments storage facility, as his plans were based on
not having that competition.
Several others spoke in support of Hanney’s petition as
well, all of them arguing it was unfair for the town to
allow a competing business so close to Hanney’s.
cited basis of competition is irrelevant to the Plan
Commission decision,” said Dan Lyons, a member of both
the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Plan Commission.
town code does not include any regulations or
limitations on proximity between similar businesses.
Several members of the appeals board commented that all
the town’s protocols for notice had been followed, and
they had no right to refuse or revoke a permit based on
Hanney said Monday he does not intend to take further