Fence, traffic still a headache for Wellspring Farm

By Andrea Ray | Jun 28, 2017

Rochester — Another public hearing has led to another continuation for the owners of Wellspring Farm, who found themselves at odds with neighbors and the Rochester Planning Board over traffic concerns and plans remaining incomplete.

After receiving three previous continuations, Wellspring Farm owner Jim Vogel, as well as representative George Boerger, were on hand at the Planning Board's June 27 meeting.

Boerger apologized for construction work that occurred on the a screening fence meant to accommodate privacy concerns from abutters. "I'm sorry about the misunderstanding," he said. "No more will happen until we have formal approval."

"I think we cautioned you on this last time," said Planning Board Chair Arnie Johnson. "What I don't understand is why it started up again."

"We told you we wanted 8' solid plank fencing, and now you're inviting us out to see something that we didn't order, and asking us to like it. I'm afraid if we send you away with the same instructions, you'll come back telling us it was unclear again," said board member Ben Bailey.

The board also went over Wellspring's parking situation, noting that there are seventeen parking spaces available in the parking lot. "The traffic analysis we had done indicates that at most, there are seven cars coming and leaving at the busiest hour," said Vogel. "If we have six clinicians and six children on the property, that's only twelve spots, we have plenty of space."

Johnson wasn't convinced. "You say that, but people are still parking on the Walnut Plain Road property," he said. "If you have sufficient parking, why is that happening?"

Vogel explained that therapy also took place on Wellspring's Walnut Plain Road property, which is non-contiguous to its property on Hiller Road. "If the child's therapy is happening there, in the woods, which is good for them, the clinician and the parents will park there," he said. "I know that officials were concerned that people were walking to the Hiller Road property from Walnut Plain, but that isn't the case."

With the parking issue settled for the moment, Johnson also took Boerger and the Vogels to task for insufficient plans. "This plan says that the parking lot, which you constructed without formal approval, is filled with crushed stone. Is crushed stone the same as crushed concrete?”

“No," said engineer Bill Webby, of Webby Engineering, who had Wellspring's plans.

"The plans don’t match what’s out there. You need to get your plan to match what’s out there, and I’ve said this before. Are you proposing to rip it all up?” Johnson asked. “I’m not understanding what is so hard about this, we’ve made it crystal clear. I don't know why you continue to play these games. It is not conducive to finishing this process.”

“We’re not trying to play any games," Boerger said. "My understanding is that what was in the plan was what was there."

“We can keep going with this into the fall, and the dollars are going to keep rolling. Straighten this out," Johnson continued. "For us the site plan review is not that complicated. I don’t know why there has been so much delay and so many incomplete and insufficient plans put before us. You are the ones dragging this process out.”

As Johnson warned Vogel and Boerger that correct plans needed to be submitted immediately, Wellspring received a continuance until the board's July 25 meeting.



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