The city council in Bangor, Maine, tabled an ordinance that would have clarified zoning laws pertaining to the operation of landscaping businesses in the district’s rural and agricultural areas. The proposed ordinance defines landscaping as “onsite and offsite business activities related to planting, bed preparation, installation of landscape materials and care and upkeep of the landscape after such installation.”
The area’s current zoning rules became the subject of controversy after a lawsuit was filed against the city and former City Councilor James Gallant, who runs a landscaping business from his home. Three of Gallant’s neighbors filed the suit in November, asking the Maine Superior Court to override the city’s determination that Gallant’s business is allowed under current zoning laws pertaining to agriculture.
Under the code, agriculture is defined as “the use of land and structures for soil tillage, for the production of crops, dairying, pasturage, agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, raising of fur bearing animals and animal and poultry husbandry and accessory uses.”
Gallant told the Bangor Daily News he plants trees, shrubs and flowers on his property as displays to attract potential clients.
One of the plaintiffs, Mary Tedesco-Schneck, told the newspaper, “There’s a lot of noise and activity. Also, we’re worried about the safety. It was a lot going on in a very small place.”
The lawsuit could have implications for more than 20 other landscaping operations in the city. “This isn’t really about me, and this isn’t really about my neighbors. It’s about a much larger picture that needs to be discussed,” Gallant told the Bangor newspaper.