The Rochester Conservation Commission met for their first September meeting on Tuesday, September 4. The first hearing, which was continued from August, was in regards to a Notice of Intent filed by Robert Ferreira of Infinity Landscape Construction Company on behalf of Kurt Noyce. Ferreira is seeking approval for regrading and excavation associated to the construction of an in-ground pool and cabana for property at 38 Gerrish Road. The project would take place within a 100-foot wetland buffer zone.
“We’re proposing a buffer zone project that involves the construction of a pool, a concrete apron around the pool and a cabana [to be used as storage],” said Kevin Forgue of G.A.F. Engineering.
In addition, a chain-link fence is proposed that would run parallel to a nearby wetland area. The project would also require a staging area for building materials.
“There is an existing gravel driveway that goes down to the site where the pool is proposed. If there is any stockpiling of materials, that’s where it would be,” he said.
Forgue said that the location of the cabana has been moved further away from the wetland border, per the request of Rochester conservation agent Laurell Farinon.
The Commission voted in favor of the project, pending a standard order of conditions.
The Commission then heard from engineer Rick Charon on behalf of James Welch and Marguerite Zandrowicz regarding an amended order of conditions for property at 357 Neck Road. The amended order would include the replacement of an existing porch with a new deck, as well as renovations to the cottage on the property.
While the Commission was largely in favor of the project, Farinon requested that erosion control measures be added to the project.
The Commission then voted in favor of the plan.
The Conservation Commission then held a public meeting, continued from August 21, regarding a Request for Determination of Applicability filed by the City of New Bedford for property on North Avenue. The City would like to install a 15,000-panel solar array on 28.5 acres near Little Quittacas Pond. The project would be completed in conjunction with Con Ed Solutions and the Real Goods Solar Company.
The project, which would be built on land owned by the City of New Bedford, would generate electricity to be used by the New Bedford municipal water department. No electricity would be sold by the city.
The project has been met with a lot of questions and concerns from the community, though there were few residents present for this meeting. The current proposal reflects a reduction in the size of the project and includes a redesigned drainage plan that would relegate all precipitation on the site.
Sam Moffett of TRC Environmental was back before the Commission to answer more questions. Moffett had spoken to the Commission two weeks ago and has met with the Planning Board.
“I have little to add to my presentation from our meeting two weeks ago,” Moffett said.
Commission member Laurene Gerrior asked who would be in charge of maintenance of the site.
“The City of New Bedford would lease the land to Con Ed Solutions, who would maintain the array,” Moffett said.
“I’ve been out to the site a couple times to review the wetland delineation. As you can see from the plans, the City has deliberately kept the majority of the work away from the wetlands,” said Farinon.
She said that she found no significant conflict regarding encroachment of the wetlands due to the construction of the array.
The Conservation Commission voted in favor of the solar project.
The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission will be on Tuesday, September 18 at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall.
By Eric Tripoli