GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 16, 2013

Owner gets green light for Granite Street project

ROCKPORT — After months of municipal meetings and planning, a property owner’s plans for a controversial house on Granite Street has been given a green light by the town’s building inspector.

And the project’s contractor said he hopes work on the house can begin within a week.

Developer Ron Roma has been granted a building permit to build a 10,820-square-foot house at 129 Granite St., just down the road from another of his houses at 121 Granite St. The new house will also abut the Yankee Clipper Inn.

The new project has raised a number of questions in Rockport from residents, and from the owner and manager of the Yankee Clipper Inn, over whether the proposed structure fits in with the size and scope of surrounding Granite Street homes.

In July, the Planning Board issued its findings as part of the town’s site plan review process. Site plan review is required for any single- or two-family dwelling that measures 6,000 square feet or more of floor space.

The purpose of site plan review, its backers say, is to provide a comprehensive review of projects in town, minimize the obstruction of scenic views and to minimize departure from the character and scale of buildings in the vicinity, among other factors. But the process has also drawn questions from those who feel it merely delays the process, even for projects that have otherwise gained approvals.

Roma, meanwhile, had filed an appeal claiming that the Planning Board did not act within its required 60-day time frame. At the same time, Michael Rauseo, owner of the Yankee Clipper Inn, filed an appeal against the Planning Board claiming that it did not enforce the site plan review process.

The Board of Appeals, meanwhile, denied Roma’s appeal in late September, siding with Building Inspector Paul Orlando and the Planning Board and upholding the board’s adherence to 60-day time frame.

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