Engineered Plan or No Engineered Plan

Are expensive engineered plans required or would older engineered plans showing a septic layout and residential foundation be sufficient? That was the question the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals tackled during its September 10 meeting.

Bryan and Robbi Reynolds of 269 High Street presented their application for a Special Permit to build an over-sized garage on their property. Building Inspector James Buckles denied them the building permit and sent them instead to the Zoning Board of Appeals to apply for a Special Permit. The Reynoldses proposed a garage in excess of 1,000 square feet.

When they came before the ZBA, though, the members were unsure if the old plans from G.A.F. Engineering that showed only the septic and building foundation placement were sufficient.

Board member Kirby Gilmore started the nearly 45-minute debate with, “The plan you have submitted is not sufficient for what we need.” Thus began a convoluted conversation on whether or not the application the Reynoldses submitted was the latest version of the form or an obsolete document, whether the board could act on the application as presented, if the hearing should be continued so the applicants could get a new engineered plan drawn showing the placement of the garage, and if there were procedural conflicts.

For his part, Bryan Reynolds said he was unaware and had not been informed that he needed to spend nearly $5,000 to get a plan of record drawn up and had been told, so he thought, that the plot plan submitted would be sufficient. This prompted Buckles, who was in attendance to say, “I’m sure I mentioned it.”

But not wanting to create a financial hardship for the applicant, the board members weighed the pros and cons of how and if they could and should proceed on the application then and there.

“It is very important that they follow procedures we’ve done with other applicants,” said Vice-Chairman David Arancio. Gilmore suggested the applicant request a continuance and return before the board, but time was of the essence – Reynolds wishes to get the structure completed before winter sets in.

Upon further discussion, and with Gilmore saying that the board’s only concern would be the size of the building, not the location on the lot, the board forged ahead in an attempt to reach common ground.

Finally, it was decided that the Reynoldses could have a Special Permit for the over-sized garage with conditions that no living space be included, no commercial activities would take place on the property, and that he return with as-built plans for the building inspector.

Earlier in the meeting, the board approved a variance for Nathan Mendes, 478 High Street, for the construction of a residential 20-foot by 24-foot expansion with only a 33-foot setback.

No date for the next meeting of the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals was set.

By Marilou Newell


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