Had Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals members not recalled some pertinent details they witnessed during a recent site visit at 3 Bernards Way, Duarte Raposa might not have walked away with his two variances for a shed on September 13. But luckily for Raposa, no continuation of his public hearing was needed, despite his plans omitting some important information – contour.
Raposa sought two variances, one to place a shed in the front yard of his property and another to place it within 40 feet of the side property line.
In order for the board to issue a variance, the applicant must satisfy the three requirements – evidence of hardship, unique land topography or features, and zero detriment to the neighborhood, and, for the board, he easily demonstrated two of those requirements – the hardship being the location of an underground gas line, and no detriment to the neighborhood. That third one, however, Raposa said was because one section of the property features a steep drop-off; however, his plans did not reflect this feature.
“The engineer didn’t do you any favors by not showing any contour lines,” said ZBA Chairman Richard Cutler.
Still, other members who attended the on-site visit recalled that steep drop-off and said they could vouch for Raposa.
“I’m familiar with that area … and the challenges in that area,” said ZBA member David Arancio.
The board pointed out, for Raposa and for the good of all Rochester residents, that a feature such as contour should be marked on a construction plan when coming before a town board for a permit or variance.
“If you go for a variance, you really need to have some topography,” stated ZBA member Kirby Gilmore.
“They should’ve shown the gas line going through there, too,” said Cutler.
Raposa’s was the only item on the agenda for that night.
The next meeting of the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for September 27 at 7:15 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.
Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals
By Jean Perry