Letter: In nursery dispute, don’t overlook bylaws

After the Globe South article, “Nursery dispute escalates into social media,” on Feb. 2 and the subsequent letter to the editor, “A look next door might have foretold issues,” on Feb. 16, I believe that it is time for me to respond.

Overlooked in the debate are Milton’s 1938 zoning bylaws. They define strict land use requirements that have protected all property owners and make our town a special place. The process that the Thayer Nursery, the town, and the neighbors are working through is guided by the law. The bylaws forbid commercial activity other than a nursery in a Residence AA zone.

During the Milton Zoning Board of Appeals hearing, Thayer Nursery’s attorney presented evidence regarding land use. After hearing evidence, the board, made up of three very capable and accomplished attorneys, ruled unanimously that the commercial businesses of Thayer Nursery (large scale construction, landscaping, and firewood sales) needed to be immediately relocated to commercially zoned areas to protect the residential character of our neighborhood.


Neither we, nor the town of Milton, are questioning Thayer’s right to run the nursery. No one has asked the nursery to relocate. As a matter of fact, the nursery currently enjoys a significant agricultural tax exemption that allows it to prosper without bearing the full burden of town property taxes.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Our neighborhood, the Scott’s Woods Historic District, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. We value the nursery as a neighbor. During the 1990s Thayer significantly expanded portions of its business that are not permitted in a Residence AA district. We only wish to see its commercial businesses moved to another location.

Philip Johenning