They shared clam chowder and cake with next-door neighbor Larry Sipe and even hired his son at the bakery. Other neighbors were just as friendly.
Then the Vasterlings — both in their 60s — started thinking about slowing down and maybe taking a long trip. The bakery would need a manager.
That’s when they discovered they couldn’t let anyone else run their shop, with its three employees.
Worse, they would never be able to sell their bakery.
Instead of attaching the variance to the property, as is normal, it was attached to Jane and Larry. By name!
No one else could operate the bakery. Ever.
The second surprise came when they asked the city to fix it. Neighbors went nuts.
Folks they considered friends attacked them at a public meeting, accusing them of trying to sneak in a medical marijuana shop.
They unleashed anger over animals, especially bears, getting in the bakery trash and over customers parking on the street near the shop.
Jane was stunned.
“No one ever told us,” Jane told the city Planning Commission last week. “They’ve all turned against me.”
Worst, they learned their friend Larry Sipe was bitter over an exhaust fan on their second-story roof.
The fan generally runs daytimes, Monday through Friday. Sipe insists he hears it day and night.
“I never knew the fan drove him crazy,” Jane said. “No one else can hear it and he never mentioned it.”
Experts tried to measure the fan noise and it couldn’t be heard above the ambient noise of the neighborhood.
I tried and failed to hear what Sipe told the commission: “creates all this noise and bothers me greatly.”
This is a link to my video. Hear for yourself.
Even so, the Vasterlings are working to appease Sipe and the others. They immediately got a bear-proof trash bin. They put up signs to deter parking down the street. And they are building a shield around the fan.
“All I’m asking for is a variance so I can pass the business on to a family member,”
Jane told the commission before it voted unanimously to grant her a new variance.
“I don’t ever want to retire. I don’t ever want to leave that cake shop. It’s my passion. I don’t want to sell. But this has put fear in the neighbors.”
It’s so ugly one neighbor, a renter with a trash-strewn yard, is profanely accosting customers who dare park near his house. How rude.
Have we become so uncivil we can’t talk over the fence anymore? We’d rather suffer in silence and confront in public than have a simple conversation? Yikes!