Zoning Board Approves Variances for Apartment Development


A 52-unit apartment building is getting closer to construction after the Rochester Zoning Board of Adjustment approved three key variances.

WBTB Attorney Abby Karoutas presented the plan to the board during its Oct. 13 meeting. Our firm has extensive experience in complex real estate development issues such as these for SSG LLC. The multifamily development is proposed for 29 Wadleigh Road behind the Anchorage Inn.

During her presentation, Attorney Karoutas explained that there is a hardship because of the location and topography of the lot. The variances would address these issues.

She further described how the variances and the spirit of the ordinance would not be contrary to the public interest because none of the three variances conflict with the purpose of the zoning ordinance and do not alter the locality or threaten health, safety, or welfare.

Three key variances were approved for the multifamily development:

  1. The first variance was to allow the development, which will be in a highway commercial zone, to be designed without commercial use.
  2. The second variance was to increase the number of allowable units from 44 to 52.
  3. The third variance concerned height restrictions. Normally buildings are limited to three stories, but due to the location being on a hill, one side of the building would need to be four stories.

All three variances passed 4-1 with Vice-Chair Larry Spector casting the sole dissenting vote.

Next Step Is to Seek Planning Board Approval

The building project will occupy a triangular piece of land that borders Route 125, the Spaulding Turnpike, and Axe Handle Brook. The footprint for the building is planned to be 17,874 square feet with 52 rental apartments. One- and two-bedroom units will be listed at the market rate.

Shanna Saunders, Rochester's planning director, agreed with Attorney Karoutas that including a commercial element in this project didn’t make sense.

"Residential uses are allowed in the zone, but the project will usually have a commercial component, for a mixed-use property," Saunders said. "The property is located behind the Anchorage Inn and commercial use is not conducive, so they asked to build without the commercial component."

The next step will be to apply to the Rochester Planning Board. Only a conceptual plan has been submitted to the city. Now with the variances in hand, the developer will create a fuller plan to be presented for approval by the Planning Board.

Helping to Protect Your Property Interests

All our lawyers at WBTB Law value the importance of protecting property interests. We represent a spectrum of clients from large developers to individual landowners in front of city and town zoning and planning boards. 

Our real estate and land use services include the following:

  • Advising clients during purchase and sales agreement and lease negotiations
  • Helping solve development challenges
  • Appealing planning and zoning board decisions when necessary
  • Helping clients resolve disputes with homeowners’ associations
  • Taking clients through the process of subdividing their land
  • Representing clients in commercial lending transactions 

Real estate is a unique area of the law that demands a specific understanding of the law. A generalist attorney will be at a disadvantage because of the complexities of real estate law. We have the experience and background to help with your commercial or residential real estate matter.

Talk to one of our seasoned attorneys by scheduling a consultation. Contact us online or call (603) 742-5222.