Driven: Landscaping company runs its business from parking lot

Updated Mar 9, 2017
The landscaping company was working out of several storage containers in the parking lot of a furniture store. Photo: The Island NowThe landscaping company was working out of several storage containers in the parking lot of a furniture store.
Photo: The Island Now

The village of Port Washington North, New York, was surprised to find that a landscaping company had been operating out of a furniture store’s parking lot and running its business out of storage containers.

The human resources manager for Safavieh Home Furnishings, told local officials during a village trustee board meeting that the retail building’s previous owners had rented the back parking lot to the landscaping company, the Laurel Group.

The furniture store continued this practice, he said. However, the HR manager told the trustees Safavieh Home Furnishings was unaware the landscaping company was running its business from the parking lot.

“They did do our snow plowing for our facilities so we wanted to carry out our part of the agreement for the remainder of the year,” he told The Island Now.

Building Superintendent Robert Bartbach was the one who discovered that the Laurel Group was using the space for more than just storage.

“There’s the four storage containers that are not being used for storage,” Bartbach said during the trustees meeting. “Some might be used for storage, but they’re being used as a base of operation for the Laurel Group …” The landscape company used maintenance compressors to power its office equipment, he said.

The village doesn’t have active code enforcement due to lack of funding, but Mayor Robert Weitzner expressed concern over residents seeing the landscaping supplies covering the parking lot and thinking the village wasn’t doing its job.

“This is basically open, people can see through and I’m sure they can see what’s in there, and it’s going to look like we’re running a second-grade operation back there,” Weitzner said. “It’s going to cause trouble.”

According Village Attorney Stuart Besen, the usual procedure should be followed and the landscaping company should be given a chance to remedy the situation before being issued a violation.

“They’re in violation of the village code on so many levels,” Besen said.

According to The Island Now’s report, the village board decided to issue the Laurel Group a seven-day notice to have all the landscaping equipment removed.

“The board can be a little bit lenient so long as there’s not complaints, but in the long run the last thing we want to see is a landscaping company running the back of your building as a part of our plan of a maritime zone and a passive zone and to see trucks and landscaping trucks back and forth,” Weitzner said. “So you need to relay that.”

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