Board Allows Encroaching Addition

The Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals on November 9 voted to grant a variance to allow an addition to the main house at 24 Hillside Road owned by Emmett Bennett.

As Meagan Bennett explained it, the construction for the 10’ by 18’ addition for a playroom had already begun and was initially intended to cover the existing footprint of a porch, but it then evolved into a larger addition, which prompted the Bennetts to cease expansion and seek approval from the building commissioner.

For personal reasons, which she preferred not to disclose, the expanded addition was necessary, but it would further encroach the property line, required under the bylaw to be no closer than 40 feet.

The board was sympathetic to the Bennetts’ request and granted it unanimously, having found the project to satisfy the three requirements of granting the variance: not allowing the variance would result in a financial hardship; the placement of a septic system rendered the lot features unique; and the project would not be detrimental to the neighborhood.

“The third is already answered,” said ZBA Chairman Richard Cutler looking around the room void of any abutters. “Nobody cares.”

ZBA member Kirby Gilmore said, “I don’t have any issues with this. It’s way off the beaten path.” He later added, “And it isn’t like they’re only ten feet from the [property line].”

Building Commissioner Jim Buckles told the board to include in its decision that a landing on both sides of the stairs of the addition would have to be factored into the decision, which would result in a 30.8’ setback from the neighboring property line, as per the bylaw.

            In other matters, Cutler announced that the ZBA should expect two appeals of Planning Board decisions on December 14 – Wellspring Farm of 42 Hiller Road and Rochester Farms, LLC slated for Route 105. Cutler said to expect a larger than usual attendance for the meeting.

The next meeting of the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for December 14 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals

By Jean Perry


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