SOUTHINGTON — Andrews Street homeowners and the town reached an agreement over purported fill sales, transport and other work that neighbors describe as commercial activity.
Town Attorney Jeremy Taylor filed a suit late last year against Richard and Amanda Newland, claiming the couple failed to stop storing fill and parking large vehicles on their residential property even after a cease and desist letter. Taylor said the Newlands were violating town zoning ordinances by their activity in the residential neighborhood.
Under the agreement, the Newlands will stick to a work schedule for projects on their property and won’t concede any wrongdoing.
The 22-point work schedule includes instructions on grading, drainage, irrigation for the couple’s farm, utility work, and patio construction. Much of the work is to be completed at the end of this month.
Richard Newland is the owner of a Meriden landscaping company. He also owns the 5.5-acre property on Andrews Street as well as an adjacent empty property between Andrews Street and North Star Drive of similar size. Both properties are surrounded by houses.
Richard Newland didn’t return a call for comment Wednesday. Last month, he told the Record-Journal that it was “not accurate” that he was conducting business from his home. Newland said he’s working on installing a pool and making other improvements to his home.‘A nuisance’
Greg Szwarc, the Newland’s neighbor, said he’s had to deal with flooding, destroyed trees and the disruption of trucks coming and going for close to a decade.
“It’s been a nuisance to the neighborhood for years,” Szwarc said. “He’s really operating a business out of a residential house. Dump trucks come and go.”
Roman Rudyk, a North Star Drive resident and another neighbor of the Newlands, said he saw an online ad for fill in 2019, listing the address of the seller as the Newlands' home.
"Mr. Newland invited me onto his residential property located at 210 Andrews Street and showed me a pile of fill and priced out a fee to purchase and transport the fill to my house," Rudyk wrote in an affidavit attached to the town’s lawsuit.
Szwarc isn’t optimistic that the settlement signed by the Newlands and the town will bring about a better situation.
“It’s all nonsense,” he said.Peace and order
Victoria Triano, Town Council chairwoman, said she’s hopeful the Newlands abide by the agreement signed late last month.
“We are hoping that he gets through with all of his construction in the next few months and the neighbors will find peace,” she said. “It’s one of those things that are very difficult. There are emotions on both sides.”
Triano said the town would monitor the situation there to ensure there’s peace and order.
“I want to make sure that the stipulation is enforced, that he does what he does need to do,” she said.