A Special Permit application for an in-house, dog-training business at 16 Bishop Road drew a standing-room-only crowd of concerned neighbors to Rochester Town Hall on November 9, forcing the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals’ public hearing to be postponed.
After noting that the meeting was no longer accessible to all who wanted to attend because of the overcrowding, Rochester ZBA Chairman David Arancio motioned to postpone the hearing to November 30 and to move it to the larger venue of the Rochester Senior Center (Council on Aging) on Dexter Lane. Arancio said the Town Hall meeting room’s posted occupancy limit is 32 people seated and 40 standing.
Members of the crowd offered to whittle down its number in the interest of allowing the public hearing to move forward. Arancio invoked a 10-minute recess to allow time for this to occur. Ten minutes later, Arancio noted the Town Hall meeting room was still over capacity, and the board approved his motion to postpone.
Later in the meeting, an application for a variance from the minimum required, 40-foot rear setback to build an above-ground pool at 142 Sarah Sherman Road also sparked a neighbor’s objections.
Homeowner Luis Rivera said his plan is for a 15×30-foot pool for his two children, ages seven and eight. He said he has erected temporary pools and has taken them down every year. A single, permanent pool would be more cost-effective, he said, but it would only fit where he would need a 23.3-foot setback from the adjacent property for the space to build it.
His next-door neighbor James Ruell said he “had issues” with the plan. He said he already hears a lot of noise from his neighbor. “It’s certainly not going to be quieter,” he said. “I am objecting to it, the noise and the setback.”
Rivera said he plans to add more plantings as a noise and visual buffer. Where there are gaps in the existing buffer, he will fill them. The ZBA reinforced this promise when it approved the variance. The panel included the condition that Rivera will plant eight Leyland cypress trees at a minimum of 4 feet tall when the pool is installed.
In other action, the board appointed three ZBA members to the new By-Law Review Committee. They will be Richard Cutler, Davis Sullivan and Jeffrey Costa. The ZBA also approved a new policy to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of every meeting.
The Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals will meet next on Thursday, November 30, at 7:15 pm at the Rochester Senior Center (Council on Aging), 67 Dexter Lane.
Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals
By Michael J. DeCicco