Business owner worries that investment won’t stop complaints

Business owner worries that investment won’t stop complaints

NORTH PROVIDENCE – This town’s zoning code requires that any lights used to illuminate a parking lot must be designed to reflect light away from adjoining properties and streets.

Melissa Perrille, who runs her Premier Realty Group at 1599 Smith St., says the parking lot lights she installed there were meant partially to make up for a streetlight previously taken out by the town in response to complaints from a neighbor, and are there in part because she’s deathly afraid of black ice. That Turcone Street neighbor is now complaining about her lights, and the town has intervened.

Perrille says the significant expense of changing the lights, which will require a bucket truck and cost between $500 and $1,000 from Al’s Electric, is less of a concern than what might come up next, after dealing with complaints last year from the same resident about the way people were parking near the property and having signs installed.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to stop,” she told the Town Council last week, saying all she wants to do is run a successful business. As a business owner, she said, she doesn’t know what rights she has in this matter.

Perrille told the council she can no longer use her building for events, instead renting halls for agent trainings. For events that she did hold there, she told people not to park on Turcone Street and had a valet take cars elsewhere.

“I mean, I’ve done everything that I thought I could do to satisfy this neighbor and help the situation and be a friendly neighbor, but it’s not working,” she said.

Perrille expects to meet with town officials again this week before getting the work of adjusting the lights done, all part of an effort to avoid spending more than she has to. The lights in question stand 25 feet tall, she said, but it really wouldn’t matter what kind of lights they are based on the history of the neighbor.

Perrille’s situation highlights the never-ending conflict between North Providence’s commercial and residential zones, which often directly abut each other or are even intertwined with each other. The Town Council and Planning Board are often hearing from residents either before an application is approved or after a store is completed about lights, noise and parking.

Several electricians have told Perrille that shifting the lights won’t change anything in terms of the way they throw light off her property during the time between when they come on at dusk to when they go off at 9:30 p.m. That’s why she’s terrified that the work that’s being asked of her now won’t be enough. She says she contacted numerous businesses about doing the work, and most wouldn’t bite because she wanted them to put it in writing that the issue is corrected.

At the Oct. 1 council meeting, Councilor Manny Giusti suggested that Perrille have the work done at night to ensure that all lighting angles are right and light is no longer impacting abutters. But Perrille said the cost of doing the work would then balloon to $1,500 because the company hired would need to rent a bucket truck overnight.

No one from Turcone Street showed up for the Oct. 1 discussion on the issue. The resident making the complaints did not respond to a request for comment.

Perrille said she’s been working with Building Official Mike Carnevale, and he’s been great to deal with, but she said there’s little recourse when a resident is targeting one’s business. In this case, the neighbor shines spotlights on those at her business, takes videos and pictures, and even parks in front of her driveway.

“I don’t know what legal rights I have,” she said.

She asked the council for suggestions on how to handle the situation and be a respectable neighbor. Others have suggested she call the police, she said, but she feels that would be a waste of town money given the history here. She says she wishes the neighbor, who’s responsible for a file of complaint letters going back to before she even bought the property two years ago, would simply come “talk to me as a human being instead of constantly going to the town.”

Councilor Ken Amoriggi assured Perrille that if officials hear a new complaint after the one about the lights is resolved, they’ll “view that with a little skepticism.” If the lights are rectified and all of a sudden there are new complaints, that history will definitely be taken into consideration, he said.

Councilor Steven DiLorenzo assured Perrille that this business-friendly council is “not trying to sideswipe” her, encouraging her to spend the money to get the lights done correctly and then get it in writing that everything is up to the right standard.

Perrille said she’s concerned that the effort against her could lead to zoning on her commercial property eventually being changed, but councilors assured her that the town can’t do that.

Comments

In almost all instances if people really, I mean really, take the time to consider what type of light they are installing, where it is pointing, it's glare, what color temperature the light is and its output brightness; instances of poor lighting decisions can almost always be avoided and still meet the needs of the areas intending to be lit. People consistently make poor choices when it comes to lighting and do so at their neighbor's expense, right of privacy and enjoyment of their property. Obnoxious over-lighting creates stress, causes bad relationships and does nothing but create harsh glare. https://www.darksky.org/our-work/lighting/lighting-for-industry/fsa/fsa-... Very unfortunate, take time, make good light decisions.

to me like the neighbor is just a pain in the