Rochester Selectmen approve marijuana, housing development bylaws

Apr 1, 2019

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Board of Selectmen approved a bylaw that would create a special district for an affordable housing project and a marijuana bylaw to appear on the May 21 Town Meeting warrant.

Town Counsel Blair Bailey presented a bylaw for the Cranberry Highway Overlay District at an April 1 meeting. He said the bylaw addresses affordability and site plan requirements for the 208-unit housing development.

Steen Realty and Development Corp., a Dartmouth-based developer, will use a process known state law known as “Chapter 40R,” which provides the town financial incentives and some say in the planning process, offsets school costs for students and requires a quarter of the units be rented at affordable rates.

The Selectmen did not comment on the bylaw and referred it to the Planning Board for a public hearing before Town Meeting.

Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar said Steen Realty will begin financial impact study on the project, and that the town will hold another open forum after the impact study is completed.

Selectmen also approved a marijuana bylaw for town meeting review.

“I have not heard from the state, which is the first step in beginning the formal process. But I have received a few calls,” said Bailey.

The bylaw limits the number of facilities to no more than two retail facilities and no more than two growth or processing facilities.

Cultivation would be allowed on a minimum five acre lot with stringent security, and is not permitted within 500 feet of schools or other community locations where minors could access it.

The bylaw stipulates that no marijuana can be visible, and facilities must mask any odors. Marijuana operations also need a security plan approved by police and fire chief, a site plan review and a community host agreement.