ZBA Closes Rochester Farms Appeal

Craig Canning’s farmer’s market he had hoped to establish on Marion Road was officially erased from the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeal’s slate on January 25.

Canning, developer of the proposed Rochester Farms, LLC, received his Special Permit from the ZBA last year to proceed with his project, but was halted by two lawsuits filed by Maryann and Kenneth Cutler of 223 Marion Road, abutters who opposed the agricultural/commercial establishment being built across the road from their house.

In his attorney’s December 13 letter to the ZBA, Canning stated he was withdrawing his application for the Special Permit with regard to the project.

“Unfortunately, projected litigation costs make the project economically unfeasible at this time given the two lawsuits filed … coupled with the administrative appeal to the Zoning Board,” states the letter.

Town Counsel Blair Bailey guided the board through the two motions it needed to make that night: the first being the acceptance of Canning’s withdrawal as well as the rescinding of the ZBA’s prior approval, and the second being the remanding of the Cutlers’ appeal of the Planning Board’s Site Plan review approval over to the Planning Board to take action.

The Planning Board received a similar letter from Canning on December 13 also requesting a withdrawal of his application for Site Plan Review.

“Mr. Canning is no longer going to move forward with what he wants to do,” said Bailey, explaining the board’s task to accept the withdrawal and vacate its prior decision, while also remanding the appeal to the Planning Board. “And that would end the matter as it relates to this board.”

Acting Chairman David Arancio asked Bailey if this withdrawal would act as one “without prejudice,” meaning Canning could reapply for another project in the future without having to wait the mandatory two years. The Cutlers’ attorney who was present that night stated that having to wait two years before returning with an application for another project was not stipulated within the court-filed agreement between Canning and the Cutlers.

“So he could,” said Bailey.

The public hearing for Catherine Mendoza’s appeal of the Planning Board’s Site Plan Approval for Wellspring Farm, LLC was continued until the next meeting at the request of both parties.

The next meeting of the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals will be February 8 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals

By Jean Perry

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