To the Editor;
The Town of Rochester has always done a fabulous job in maintaining the rural character of the community. The Planning Board and the Conservation Commission have worked tirelessly and diligently in balancing new growth with Rochester’s scenic, pastoral and historic nature. I commend and thank all the various board and committee members who donate their time, talent, and treasure, as they serve following the Master Plan’s guiding principle to preserve Rochester’s rural nature.
Over the past several years the town has seen an influx in solar development. Despite this increase, boards and committees have navigated well to keep with this guiding principle. Rochester got its first gas station since two decades ago. Senior condominiums were developed, a new school addition built, and thousands of acres of conservation land secured. Chapter 61 property classification encouraged forestry, agricultural, horticultural, and recreational landowners to retain their current use by offering a significant reduction in their appraised values.
The Planning and Conservation boards are now charged with determining if a backlot subdivision, which consists of a dead-end road to a single-family lot, can be approved. The Town’s Subdivision Control Laws set the maximum distance at 500 feet. The proposed road is 728 feet. That’s the length of two football fields, plus another 48 yards. In addition, the road will run right along the backyards of four abutters, involve significant cutting of what used to be classified forestry land, and be within 100 feet of vegetated wetland with a cul-de-sac that extends into the no-touch zone. It also raises some serious questions regarding drainage as a previous sub-division (only approved about six months ago) on this same mother lot has not yet been developed.
But more importantly, approval of so many waivers (15 by the Planning Board, not counting all the sub-bullets) and variances detract from Rochester’s rural guiding principle. It will undo what 30 or more years of forward thinking and hard work have accomplished. Approval will set a precedent that any road can be built without regard to the environment or distance from an abutter’s back yard. I can’t think of any house in Rochester that has a road, private or otherwise, both in their front and in their backyards. The open field with a forested background seen from the Neck Road causeway on Snipatuit Pond will be replaced with a road and a house with a background of houses and their backyards.
On Tuesday, June 29, the Conservation Commission will once again address this. I urge you to help preserve the rural nature of Rochester and join these meetings.
Meetings are either in hybrid or through Zoom. The agenda for the meeting must be posted no later than 48 hours before the meeting date. Go to the Town of Rochester website and choose the Conservation Commission page for full information. Please help preserve Rochester’s scenic and rural nature by attending and voicing your opposition to setting this new trend.
Colman A. Lalli
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