WILDWOOD CREST – A shed functioning as a pottery studio and located in the front yard of a home in a residential neighborhood in Wildwood Crest has been removed by the borough, after it became the subject of neighbors’ anger.
The prefabricated shed was installed in front of a home in the 200 block of East Columbine Road last year with the borough’s blessing, in the form of zoning and construction permits. But after it went up, neighbors fumed and voiced their displeasure to borough officials.
After reaching a $25,000 settlement with the borough, the shed owners, Allen E. Hirschmann and Susan Fox Hirschmann, agreed to allow the borough to remove it. They put the settlement money toward their legal fees and a new shed for the backyard, where Susan Hirschmann will continue to operate the pottery studio.
Earlier this year, the Planning Board approved their proposal for a home occupation to be operated out of the new shed in the backyard. Under the rules for a home occupation, there must never be more than two clients on the property at one time, and all client visits must be by appointment only. The shed will be insulated and contain an electric kiln, according to testimony before the Planning Board.
On Monday, Dec. 4, the old shed was removed by a vendor hired by the borough, and Wildwood Crest trucks filled the Hirschmanns’ front lawn as public works crews removed remains of the shed. As part of the settlement, the landscaping will be restored by the borough.
Allen Hirschmann stood in front of his house in the driveway and watched as crews worked. Approached by a reporter, he said he did not want to comment on the matter.
In April, Wildwood Crest Mayor Don Cabrera said the permits allowing the shed to be placed in the front yard were issued because the “section of land use that covers sheds lacks clarity and as a result a misinterpretation was made.”
The issue was brought to the attention of Wildwood Crest commissioners by enraged neighbors, who called the shed an overt and flagrant abuse of zoning ordinances.
Wildwood Crest will put the old shed to use at its public works garage, where it will become an office for the sanitation department, the mayor said.
“I am happy to see the matter resolved and the issue behind us. Although the process took some time, the resolution is fair to all parties. It is time to move on,” Cabrera told the Herald, after the shed was removed this month.
Contact the author, Shay Roddy, at email@example.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 142.