A return to bus parking at Gulbankian Farms?

The Metrowest Daily News has published a couple of stories recently on a dispute between Gulbankian Farms and its neighbors. The Gulbankian family wants to park up to 14 school buses on their property at the corner of Mt. Vickery Road and Route 85 starting July 1. Some neighbors oppose the move because of concerns about noise, traffic, and emissions.

The town by way of the Zoning Board of Appeals is involved because of permitting issues. The Gulbankians operate a garden center and floral shop on the property, along with a machine shop that services antique cars. The question before the ZBA is whether the family can legally run those two business along with the bus terminal on their property. Town bylaws limit the number of businesses that can operate on a single property, but exceptions can be made by special permit.

The Gulbankians have received variances and special permits through the years — a bus terminal operated on the property as recently as 2006 under a variance issued in 1983 — so it’s up to the ZBA to sort out all the legalities. They’ll take up the issue again at their meeting on July 28.

You can read about the all legal nuances, plus the opposition from neighbors, in these two MWDN stories:

Full disclosure: Gulbankian Farms Garden Center and Florist is a My Southborough sponsor.

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Marjorie Coldwell
13 years ago

A copy of letter I have sent to the Building Inspector and Board of Selectmen about the disservice that is being done to the Gulbankian Family.

Dear Mr. Gusmini,

I would like to object to the way in which the Gulbankian Family is being treated in their pursuance of their businesses. I have been a resident of Southborough since 1967, my husband since 1960. We are property owners in Southborough. We have patronized the Gulbankian Businesses since before 1967.

Gulbankian Florists provided the flowers for our wedding. They have provided flowers for us ever since. We have purchased garden plants and mulch from them over the years. They have provided the flowers for Pilgrim Church, which we attend, since they first opened.

I sometimes rode one of Mike Gulbankian’s school busses to school when I was teaching at Woodward School in 1968. He was the driver.
The busses were always there on his lot, with the machine shop doing the repair work for them. All 6 children in three Coldwell families rode Mike Gulbankian’s schools busses to school and on field trips. Our eldest utilized Mr. Gulbankian’s larger Boston commuter busses when he was attending Boston University in the early 1990’s and came home on week-ends. There were many residents getting off that bus when it stopped in downtown Southborough.

Mike was the one who provided bus transportation when the United Parishes of Southborough Food Pantry was helping to feed the many homeless families housed at the Red Roof Inn. Mike was there when we needed a bus to bring them to a local church for a Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner. Those busses were housed and repaired at the Gulbankian property on Mt. Vickery. Nobody in town has EVER complained about any of the businesses pursued by this generous family.

There has never been any difficulty with the Gulbankian businesses.
They are all fully licensed and the variances already in place should NOT be taken away.

What you and the Town are currently trying to do would be a huge indignity for a family that does not deserve it. It would be a malicious blot on the image of Southborough.

Marjorie F. Coldwell
Southborough, MA
July 6, 2010

13 years ago

Maybe I’ve misunderstood the articles. I don’t think the Gulbankian’s are attempting to revive THEIR bus line business. I think they are simply offering their land as a parking lot for some other company that runs the school bus business for Marlboro. My guess is that this fleet will be larger than the fleet formerly housed on that property. Does anyone know if there’s a difference in the vehicle counts planned vs used in the past? Will the Gulbankian’s have anything to do with the maintenance or operation of these vehicles? It does not appear that way. I can accept the fact that the Gulbankian family has always run town-friendly businesses but these machines will not be their’s. Maybe the nearby residents have some legitimate concerns that need some consideration.

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