Andover approves CUP for outside Ace Hardware sales, storage

The Andover City Council on a 3-2 vote Feb. 19 approved a conditional use permit (CUP) to allow Frattalone’s to continue selling and storing items outside its fenced garden center.

Frattalone’s Ace Hardware is located in the Downtown Center shopping area on the northeast corner of Bunker Lake and Round Lake boulevards. It has operated a garden center since it opened in 2002 under a special use permit granted to the whole shopping center in 1988, but the city recently noticed that items were being sold and stored outside the garden center fenced area.

This was not technically allowed under the old special use permit, according to Community Development Director David Carlberg.

Business owner Mike Frattalone sought a conditional use permit to allow the expanded sales and storage area.

Items will only be able to be displayed and sold outside the garden center fenced area on this side of the mall from March 15 through Nov. 15 each year on this side of the mall.

Councilmember Julie Trude wanted to make sure that County Market’s ability to sell Christmas trees outdoors was not restricted because an earlier CUP draft would have impacted this. Certain aspects of the CUP address basic standards for the entire shopping mall area.

One issue that caused some division among the council was whether there should be a four-foot height limit to pallets being stacked next to the garden center. The CUP does impose this restriction.

Councilmembers Tony Howard, Mike Knight and Trude approved the CUP with this revised condition. Mayor Mike Gamache and Councilmember Sheri Bukkila voted against the CUP.

Frattalone said the pallets come stacked and shrinkwrapped together and are difficult to rearrange. He said the dirt comes in four feet high on the pallets, but the mulch pallets are seven feet high.

Trude raised concerns about the safety issue of people climbing the pallets to get over the fence.

Howard said he would like this area to remain neat and uncluttered, but the higher pallets could still be stored in the outside storage area on the back side of the building.

According to Gamache, it’s a liability issue Frattalone has to account for, but that is between him and his insurance company.

Trude had also suggested extending the garden center fence to shield more of the products and to dress up the area with some planters, but this was not included in the CUP.

Gamache said the city has never had any complaints about the fence, so he did not think it was necessary to extend it.

According to Carlberg, material cannot be stored on the far east side of the parking lot, which is near U.S. Bank, because it would really narrow the alley driveway that people use to drive between the bank and the shopping center without getting back onto Bunker Lake Boulevard.

Eleven parking spaces on the east side of the parking lot will be removed and the area will be reconfigured to allow better traffic flow.

The business was already able to sell items on its sidewalk under the old special use permit and this will continue.

Editor’s note: A March 8 story on Frattalone’s Ace Hardware receiving a conditional use permit (CUP) from the city of Andover included some errors. That story stated that the council approved the CUP on a 3-2 vote with Howard and Trude opposing.

These two along with Knight actually approved the CUP and Gamache and Bukkila the two opposition votes.

The story also inferred that the business would have no restriction on how high its pallets could be stored by the garden center. The opposite is true based on the approved CUP.

This new story is being run to set the record straight.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]