Multi-Family Application Withdrawn

            In a public hearing on June 24, Jorge Rodriguez came before the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals seeking a special permit for an addition for a conversion to a multi-family house at 12 Mayflower Lane.

            Rodriguez also sought two variances; the first for relief from the town’s requirement for the size of the lot, and the second to allow more than a 30-percent increase in the structure floor area under Chapter 20.40, Section F.9.a of the Rochester Zoning Bylaws.

            What Rodriquez did not seek in Case No. 1165 was a variance for relief from Rochester’s 300-foot frontage requirement for multi-family dwellings. The 65,531 square-foot property, zoned as Agricultural/Residential, has 273 feet of frontage.

            This problem came to light while the ZBA fielded public comment from abutters and other interested parties.

            Questioned by an abutter as to the setback requirements for multi-family versus single-family dwellings, ZBA Chairman David Arancio read the bylaw aloud and said that Rodriguez meets the setback requirements, but he also noted in response to a question that the required frontage for a multi-family dwelling is 300 feet.

            Asked about the relevance of the frontage requirement to the case, Arancio said he would have to defer to Town Counsel for interpretation of the bylaw. Upon returning from a private call with Town Counsel, Arancio told the applicant that the 300-foot frontage bylaw for a multi-family dwelling would require another variance not contained in the present application.

            Faced with a choice between a continuance of the public hearing or withdrawing his application without prejudice in order to reorganize for a new application, Rodriguez chose to withdraw his application. He indicated intention to consult with his architect and resubmit an application that he hopes will not need to seek relief from any zoning bylaws.

            Rodriguez was already facing a challenging situation in the hearing, as ZBA attendance was limited on June 24 to four members. In introducing the public hearing, Arancio instructed Rodriguez that, with only four ZBA members present, all four needed to vote in the affirmative in order to grant the special permit and the variances. Rodriguez consented and proceeded under those conditions.

            Rodriguez, who has owned the property for over three years, conceded that he can amend his addition to conform with the 30-percent maximum allowed.

            Asked by an abutter about the expansion of the septic system encroaching the 100-foot buffer to a neighboring well, Rodriguez described his 1,500-gallon septic system and said he can redesign its associated leaching field to run parallel rather than toward the buffer zone.

            Arancio reminded the attendees that the Conservation Commission and the Board of Health would need to vet the septic system.

            Due to the absence of some members, the board agreed to postpone a scheduled vote to reorganize until the next meeting.

            The next meeting of the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for Thursday, July 8, at 7:00 pm.

Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals

By Mick Colageo

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