GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

April 4, 2013

Site review set tonight for Rockport house

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — ROCKPORT — Residents and neighbors will have a chance to hear the details, raise questions and get answers regarding a new single-family home being proposed at 129 Granite St.

But the town’s Conservation Commission has already cleared the project, meaning it essentially has the permits to go forward.

The owner, Ron Roma, also owns the house at 121 Granite St., which some residents have nicknamed the “Brick House,” has plans for another brick house on the combined lot which is now 129 Granite St. The site plan review meeting is tonight during the Planning Board Meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Annex.

As Planning Board member Cameron Smith said Wednesday, a site plan review is required for a house more than 6,000 square feet, the second house brick single family house being presented is about 12,000 square feet.

Board members conducted a site visit Tuesday, Smith said there were a few concerns with the property.

Although the property will be within the 15 foot space required from the neighboring Yankee Clipper Inn, Smith said some guests of the Inn might be concerned now having a view of a brick wall. Another potential issue, Smith said, is the amount of runoff and drainage coming from the house, some of the drainage runs underneath the driveway of the Yankee Clipper Inn.

”There is also a generic concern about water going into the sea,” Smith said.

In an email to the Times, Granite Street resident Jane Montecalvo said neighbors do not “love to hate” Roma’s developments, but find the characteristics of the house out of sync with the rest of the neighborhood.

”Preserve Rockport wants to protect the townspeople, not stop building,” she wrote.

In an earlier interview with the Times, however, Roma said his developments benefit the community in a number of ways.

Roma said he has always made an effort to hire local contractors, plumbers and electricians to work on his developments, the first house, constructed in 2008 was during the recession.

”I love the setting and I love the community,” he said.

In addition, Roma said the developments doubled taxes on the property, benefiting the town as a whole.

While Roma said he had heard concerns in the past about tearing down historic properties, the house that sits on the land now was built in 1974. The parcel does contain a small cottage built in 1908, but contractor Alan Battistelli the cottage was first used a chicken coop and has since become covered in mold and is uninhabitable.

Battistelli added the exact size of the house may change. He added, however, that with Conservation Commission already approving on the project, the actual appeals process has passed; as with any site plan review process, it may go forward, he said.

Firefighters got a chance to utilize the house Tuesday night before its demolition. About 12 firefighters in teams of three used controlled burns and filled the house with smoke to conduct a search and rescue training operations at the house.

Fire Chief James Doyle said he was grateful to use the house, firefighters only get the chance to do some one or two times a year. Firefighters used hay, wood and other material to ignite parts of the house, they may go back for more training later this week, Doyle said.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.