Junior League vs Sam Bridge Nursery tonight, 7:15, Town Hall (UPDATE: Bridge 1, Jr. League 0 )

 Junior League President Debra McLaughlin and her wrecking crew; look pretty harmless, don't they? Wrong.

Junior League President Debra McLaughlin and her wrecking crew; look pretty harmless, don't they? Wrong.

From Sam Bridge: 

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your patience and continued support. We are hoping that all of you will join us for [tonight's] P & Z Meeting at Greenwich Town Hall in the Town Hall Meeting Room at 7:15pm. We are first on the agenda. We are looking forward to putting this unfortunate situation behind us and are hoping for a positive outcome. 

Today a few of us sat in on the preliminary P & Z meeting. It is clear that the Commission is mistaken regarding our point of view. We DO NOT support any changes to Section 6-94(a). Anyone wishing to speak, we ask that you keep your comments brief, relevant and respectful. 

We ask that the Commission DOES NOT vote for any of the proposed language in Section 6-94 (a), instead leaving it as is. We vehemently oppose any changes to the special exception. We specifically take issue with lines c) and d).

Sec. 6-94. PERMITTED USE BY SPECIAL EXCEPTION OR SPECIAL PERMIT. 
c) self-adjusting backup alarms shall be installed on all equipment that requires backup alarms in accordance with applicable safety standards; and
d) inventory delivery and commercial machinery shall only be used on the property, weekdays between 7:00 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Saturdays, between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. No Commercial machinery shall be used at any time on Sundays or holidays. 

Subsection c is already covered in the Town of Greenwich Noise Ordinance chapter 6B and is therefore redundant. Furthermore, our business is excluded from these types of restrictions according to the exclusions in chapter 6B:

Sec. 6B-7 Exclusions.
(e) Sound created by safety and protective devices. 
(f) Farming equipment or farming activity. 
(g) Backup alarms required by the occupational Safety and health Administration or other state or federal safety regulations. (Bd. of Health, 2/8/1984.)

The proposed changes to Section 6-94 will place an undue hardship on ours and other businesses that operate under this special exception. Due to the nature of our business, in rare instances we are forced to take inventory deliveries and are required to use machinery outside of the aforementioned hours. As a nursery, the majority of our products are perishable goods. Leaving perishable goods on a truck for too long results in un-saleable inventory. 

The green industry is largely seasonal. Growers have small windows of time to finish and ship their perishable goods. As a small grower ourselves, we deal with small local independently owned growers. Occasionally weather determines when plant material can be shipped, i.e. late season snow storms, freezing temperatures, etc. This sometimes requires us to receive plant material on the weekends, albeit infrequently.

Plants do not take Sundays or holidays off. Although we are closed for business on Sundays and 6 of the federal holidays, we still work on these days. Plants must be maintained. Unforeseen weather conditions, like a spring freeze may cause us to have to operate machinery on a Sunday to protect our inventory (move large trees and shrubs inside). 

Irrigation is a vital element in farming. If an irrigation pump stops working on a Sunday, we have to use a tractor to pull the pump from the pond. Without water, our crops will wither and die. In an industry where margins are so thin, the loss of even a single crop can have a catastrophically negative impact on a company. Such an impact that it can affect a company for several years. 

What is considered a holiday? Some 'holidays' are essential for our business. We absolutely have to operate machinery. It would simply be impossible to give 500 children free hayrides on Columbus Day without the use of our tractors. President's day falls just before the spring rush. Veteran's Day falls just before the Christmas rush. It is common for us to receive deliveries on these holidays. Our business is heavily seasonal. There are only certain times of the year when we have an opportunity to generate revenue. If we cannot be prepared for busy seasons we cannot run a successful seasonal business. 

Some of our inventory arrives via FedEx and UPS. We have no control over when those deliveries arrive. It is quite common that they arrive on some of the holidays we are open. 

These are just a few examples of how changes to Sec. 6-94(a) directly impacts our business and other local businesses similar to ours. While the Commission will be voting on proposed language and proposed language only, we would like to point out that if this language is voted into code it very much affects our ability to conduct a profitable business both now and in the future. This very much is a Sam Bridge issue. 

We do however support the new definition for commercial nurseries, Sec. Sec. 6-5(a)(11).

Stand up for local business. Stand up for families. Stand up for history. Stand up for green space. Stand up for farming. Stand up for community. Stand up for Greenwich. Stand up for what's right. Stand with Sam tomorrow. 

 

Warm Regards,

The Entire Bridge Family

Sam Bridge III, Ron Bridge, Mary Jo Bridge Palmer

Sam Bridge IV, Maggie Bridge, Nick Bridge, Bill Palmer, Rich Palmer