Home Depot is violating codes with expanded garden center in parking lot, city claims
Spring evenings host an orchestra of noises. Birds chirping, peepers peeping and, for residents of the McKenna’s Purchase condominiums, trucks beep-beep-beeping as they back up in the parking lot where the neighboring Home Depot store has started storing trees, shrubs and piles of loam.
Concord city officials this week sent the store a notice of violation for storing and displaying merchandise outside in a parking area, which is against city ordinances. The store has 14 days to comply by removing all outdoor displays and storage areas.
The Home Depot built its 114,447-square-foot store on D’Amante Drive in 1998. The plans approved by the city did not include the additional garden center that has been set up in a side parking lot, where dozens of trees and shrubs and shelving units of garden soil and loam are now housed.
Unless the store corrects the problem or appeals the notice within 14 days, the city could take the issue to court. It wouldn’t be the first time.
In 2006, the store and the city reached an agreement that allowed the city to inspect the facility quarterly after the store set up an almost 24,000-square-foot display in the parking lot.
“This is identical circumstances,” said Craig Walker, the city code inspector. “There’ll be a fast-track on this because we dealt with it before and received a dispositional order that had specific outlines of how Home Depot was supposed to operate.”
Representatives from the store told the zoning board then that the outdoor display doesn’t cause parking shortages and is needed to store merchandise that is trucked in during the day. Store safety rules ban stocking merchandise inside the store while customers are around, and an agreement with abutters bans trucks from coming in at night. That means trucks deliver the plants and other goods during the day, to be stored outside until closing at 10 p.m.
Residents at McKenna’s Purchase care more about what happens after 10 p.m., though, said Unit Owners Association President Les Hall.
“Essentially they are supposed to be quiet during nighttime hours. They aren’t. We can hear forklifts, phones, trucks backing up, making that noise they make,” he said.
“It’s spring and in the spring after a long cold winter, people want to open their windows and enjoy some fresh air, but it’s too loud. Their choice is either sleeping or enjoying nice fresh air.”
The notice of violation didn’t cite the noise because it hasn’t been found to exceed regulations, Walker said.
Stephen Holmes, spokesman for the Home Depot corporate headquarters in Atlanta, said yesterday he hadn’t seen the complaint, “but we’ll certainly review it and work with the city to resolve it.”
(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)