At its Tuesday, June 28 meeting, the Rochester planning Board fine-tuned a home occupancy bylaw – which delineates rules for a trade, profession or other occupation that is carried out in a dwelling – that the board is planning to put on the warrant of the next town meeting. The board also heard from member Susan Peterson about syncing its zoning and planning activities to the state’s Corridor Plan to help ensure receipt of possible future grants.
The home business bylaw would remove current rules that essentially list which professions are allowed in private homes, and add new rules that apply across the board to all types of home-run businesses.
At the meeting, the board spent some time editing preliminary bylaw language. The board agreed to allow business-related accessory structures up to 1,000 square feet. Language that capped square footage at 675 feet for structures holding animals, and 875 square feet for guest homes, was removed so that all structures would follow the 1,000 square-foot rule.
Town Planner John Charbonneau suggested putting a limit on the percentage of square footage dedicated to an in-home business endeavor to 22 to 33 percent, although no consensus was reached on that matter.
The board also looked at rules governing roadside stands, which under the rules, must be 15 feet away from the side or lot line. Some confusion arose as to where the lot line begins, as a town typically owns the land 25 feet from the center of the road. Board member Susan Peterson noted that this distance would render many existing roadside stands out of compliance.
Roadside stands that are under 150 square feet would not require special permitting – and all accessory structures could not exceed height of principle structure without a special waiver. Any stand over 675 square feet would require planning Board review, and no structures could exceed 1,000 feet without a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals. all business-related materials would be required to remain out of site to abutters, either in enclosed structures or elsewhere.
The board agreed not to put a limit on number of allowable hours of operation, or time of operation – but the board discussed requiring a minimum of three parking spots for retail operations.
In a separate discussion, board member Susan Peterson gave a brief presentation on Executive Order 525, which was enacted by Gov. Deval Patrick nine months ago, that require state agencies to review policies and actions to determine if they support the implementation of a corridor plan, which details plans for rail service form Boston to Fall River and new Bedford.
“if Rochester is to be eligible for state money, our zoning plans should be consistent with the Corridor plan,” Ms. Peterson said. She reviewed SRPPED’s map of Rochester that is part of the corridor plan, which designates areas to preserve (Mattapoisett River Valley, Sippican River Valley, and the Former Airport area on Route 105) and areas suited for growth and mixed uses (the Town Center, lower County Road, and the northeastern industrial zone).
Mr. Charbonneau said he would reach out to state agencies to learn about possible grant monies available for local projects. Board Member Gary Florindo floated the idea of acquiring funding to put in a water line along Kings Highway – which the board expressed interest in exploring.
In other business, the board voted to recommend that the Board of Selectmen not exercise its right of first refusal for a lot on 120 Hiller Road.
By Laura Fedak Pedulli