Mulch World's plans trimmed back

Mulch World was leasing the space near the tree-lined berm in the background to a trucking company without the city’s permission. Residents who live on the other side of the trees complained and the issue was turned down.

NORTH ROYALTON – The planning commission unanimously mowed down the property owner’s request at Mulch World to lease a portion of the site to a small trucking company after dozens of neighboring Independent Place West residents vehemently opposed the issue.

Mulch World, owned by Jim Casciano, opened about a year ago solely as a mulch supply business. But for the past few months, Casciano has been allowing Randy Karr, president and owner of TrucKING Logistics LLC, to lease space to park semis and trailers at the site’s northeastern section which abuts the backyards of some of the Independence Place West condo owners.

It’s a use that was not permitted for that property, according to officials.

Prior to this Mulch World, this four-acre site, at 12020 York Road in the general industrial business district located, was a vacant, wooded lot. It lies on the northern cusp of the York industrial area that begins to taper and transition into residential neighborhoods. Independent Place borders Mulch World to the north.

The city recently noticed the trucks and informed Casciano he was in violation, which prompted him to seek to comply by requesting a similar use determination to allow Karr’s business there, a business they claim would only operate between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Building Commissioner Dan Kulchytsky said there are designated criteria the planning commission takes under consideration when reviewing such items.

Two dozen Independence Place residents – flanked by their homeowners’ association president, Sean Cooper, Attorney Julie Perkins and their city representative, Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw – attended the Jan. 21 planning commission meeting to urge members to vote down the issue, citing quality of life and property value concerns.

“The use does create safety dangers, it does create increased traffic, noise, odor, glare,” Perkins argued.

Cooper agreed wholeheartedly.

“I don’t believe that this should be allowed so close to a residential area,” he said. “There are plenty of other places especially in the industrial park to park. I don’t think they need to be located right next to people’s homes.”

Casciano and Karr, who claimed the truck operation is small with three trucks and 10 trailers, insisted that they have done everything possible to be a good neighbor, installing a buffer berm topped with trees to shield residents’ view of the trucks, backing in trucks to avoid shining lights into homes and installing a detention basin that eases flooding.

“I’m a small fleet. My guys don’t sleep in the trucks, they all live locally. The trucks come in and shut off. We are very professional, we want to look professional. If you walk down York southbound to York Alpha Drive, there are three facilities that house trucking companies and one of them houses multiple truck companies. I’m one little guy looking for a place to run a business,” Karr said.

Commission members ultimately sided with residents. Cheryl Hannan, planning vice chair, said she was concerned about them abiding by the rules.

“We didn’t hear anything about trucks,” she said, referring to Mulch World’s original use a year ago. “Now when I find out it has been operating, it causes concern when you say you are going to be professional and follow the rules, when you haven’t in the past.”

Mayor Bob Stefanik, who heads planning, said North Royalton has a reputation of being very pro-business, but looking ahead, he said that spot is not suitable.

“Today you are a small company, I’m sure you want to hopefully grow and make more money and become a larger company and there would be even more problems on that site,” he said.

The mayor vowed to work with Karr to find a more appropriate place for his business within the city.

Karr will have a short grace period to move the trucks off site.

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