Reappointments, Special Permits, and Variances

The Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals met Thursday evening, and several issues were discussed, including a reappointment of Chairman Richard Cutler for another year.

Each regular term for the ZBA lasts five years, and next week is when Cutler’s is due to expire, but he has decided to return in the associate position, which is year-to-year.

“I’ll take that one spot and I’ll stay for another year,” Cutler said. “I did this for 13 years before [this term].“

Other members of the Board urged Cutler to sign on for more than the one year, but he declined, stating that he’d like to serve this year and see what the future holds.

In other news, the town approved a special permit for the construction of a structure for Scott Ashworth of 737 Snipatuit Rd. Currently, there are three existing structures on the property, but Ashworth, who was formerly a Fire Chief in Rochester, wants to add one to house his collection of antique fire trucks.

The proposed structure is 15 by 60 feet, putting it over the 1,000-square-foot limit set forth in the bylaws, therefore requiring Ashworth to apply for the special permit. He said that he currently has no plan to make it a museum, though he often takes one of his multiple trucks out from time to time and encourages people to get in touch with him to see them, especially retired firefighters.

“I acquired another ladder truck and I’m trying to get it inside,” said Ashworth, who purchased the 1989 54-foot Maxim ladder truck in New Bedford. “It’s got a history, too, and I’m just trying to get it inside.”

“I think this is fantastic,” Cutler said, adding that the only conditions for the construction of the structure were that any future changes to the facility be proposed to the ZBA.

“I think that the building that is on that property is compatible with the buildings in the neighborhood,” member Kirby Gilmore said. “I don’t see any issues.“

Elsewhere on the agenda, the board granted two variances and a special permit to Shawmut Associates for the construction of a driveway leading to their new facility at 50 Cranberry Hwy in Rochester.

Greg Wirsen, an engineer for Green Seal Environmental, which represents Shawmut Associates, said that the driveway “is integral to facility operations.” He presented an extensive plan to the Board, which showed numerous aspects of the plans for the construction of the 90,000-square-foot solid waste facility.

“We have many moving parts to get this shovel ready,” said Wirsen.

He added that they currently have at least four different sets of plans regarding the facility which are still “up in the air.”

“It appears to me that the applicant has done extensive homework,” Gilmore said. “I think that the use is compatible. I’m in favor of this project as it’s been presented. The town needs to have this sort of project going on in this part of town. I think it’s a win for us.”

Wirner added that part of the plan includes the planting of 12-foot arborvitaes, as well as a fence around the property to keep it aesthetically pleasing and to keep litter from blowing around.

The two variances and the special permit essentially allow Shawmut to construct the driveway, and approve it for industrial use in a commercial zone.

By Nick Walecka

Leave A Comment...