Murphy’s Junkyard and Used Tire Warehouse were back before the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday night, October 18, in a continued hearing regarding the use of the junkyard’s single lot for both businesses. They have been sharing the land owned by Michael Murphy on County Road, but had not acquired authorization from the town to hold two businesses on that one lot. It’s listed as an agricultural-residential district.
The Board agreed not to shut down the business, but to come back and start from scratch so they could render a decision that could work with their present arrangement.
“The Applicant’s intent is to use the lot for the sale of tires,” said ZBA chairman Richard Cutler, as he read from the appeal. “The welfare of the public will be served by having available the services offered by the business.”
The junkyard operated prior to the implementation of zoning by-laws in the town of Rochester. The ZBA issued a special permit, but felt that there have been enough changes at the site to merit a new application for the use of the land.
The proposal before the Board called for the moving of lot lines in order to create two lots for the businesses, with an empty lot left over for a proposed building. That application has been pending for weeks, pursuant to a decision by the ZBA on the changes to the lot delineations.
Given the residential area of the businesses, the application includes the name of several abutters, but only one, Patricia Fillippini, was present at the ZBA meeting.
She was concerned about the proliferation of small animals such as rats in the area and the visual impact because of the junkyard. “From my kitchen, I could see all the junk. I could see the building, I could hear the [construction] trucks at four or five in the morning,” said Fillippini.
Part of the proposal includes moving the location of the contents of the junkyard away from her lot.
Owners of both businesses were present, as were their attorneys, who argued in favor of a plan that would change the lot delineations of the land allowing for the creation of a third lot and for each business to occupy one lot apiece.
“We occupy some space owned by Mr. Murphy. As I indicated the last time, we were asked to get a Class 3 license, and we did get that license before coming before this board,” said Gregory Koldys, an attorney representing the tire business. Some of the services they’d like to offer, such as large truck repair, may not be covered under that license.
“We’d like to know which sort of things the Board would allow them to perform and which they’d have issues with,” he said.
“The plan that we’re looking at here seems to be different than what the operation appears to be when we drive by it now,” Cutler said.
“What we’re considering doing, and we haven’t brought this to the Planning Board yet, we want to move the line at 37 [County Road],” said Robert Perry, the attorney who represented Murphy at the meeting. As a result, they would be reshaping the residential lot owned by Murphy next to the businesses. “The intent is to put the used tire company on the newly configured ’37.’ We’re happy to work with the Board on any modifications you see fit.”
“When all is said and done, we’ll have two lots with two entities running businesses on each,” Cutler said. “In my mind this would be easier if we had two businesses on two separate lots.”
He said, based on the history of the lot, the more that can be defined about the area, the easier it will be for the ZBA to make a decision. The Board requested that Murphy submit plans for the extra lot that would be created by changing the current delineations.
“Our goal here is to clean everything up to make everybody happy,” he said.
Cutler then asked the applicants to list some of the proposed site improvements for the area of the property from the roadside.
“This whole plan helps us better organize and use the space we have now. We’d be able to lose the trailers that are closest to the road. Landscaping, parking lot safety, improve the fascia of the building,” said Aaron Bates, who runs the tire business.
The hearing was continued until November 29 so that Murphy could have building plans drawn up for the empty lot created by the new proposed delineations.
The next meeting of the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals will be on Thursday, November 1, 2012, at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall.
By Eric Tripoli