The Rochester Planning Board heard a proposal Tuesday night that would substantially expand the size and capability of the 890-ton-per-day industrial waste receiving and transfer station at 50 Cranberry Highway.
The land and the building are owned by Shawmut Associates, LLC, but New Bedford Waste Services operates the recycling facility, which is specializes in receiving and transferring dry demolition debris and in some cases, converts it into alternate fuels, such as burnable briquettes that are shipped out-of-state. The facility does not handle food or chemical waste.
According to the proposal, the existing facility, which measures 30,000 square feet, would be expanded to 90,000 square feet. The tripling of the building area will allow for more space for the processing components, which are quite large.
“It’s a really long process. It’s a big expansion. It’s the biggest infrastructure upgrade since the facility was first constructed in 1997,” said Greg Wirsen of Green Seal Environmental, the company that has designed the project.
“It’s a system of large conveyors and sorters. The inside looks like a factory that processes waste,” he said.
The entire site will be run on solar power with panels flush-mounted on the roof. Water will be brought in from Wareham. Wirsen said they are waiting for the final numbers from the Wareham Water Department and Fire Department.
While the building will be expanded, the daily amount of waste received and recycled would not increase beyond 890 tons per day.
Wiresen said they are asking for various waivers for the project, including separate waivers to pave to the limit of the property line, to use mechanized methods of cleaning the property, and for the renovation and relocation of the septic system.
“They all seem to make sense, but we’ll see more as we go along,” said Planning Board chairman Arnold Johnson.
Wirsen also said the company issued a traffic study over two years ago, which did not report any potential problems with the increase in vehicle traffic at the site.
According to Ken Motta of Field Engineering, they may have to commission a new study as the Massachusetts Department of Transportation requires that submitted traffic studies are no more than two years old.
“Trying to get this shovel-ready before the opening of ‘municipal season’ is very important,” Wirsen said, pressing for the submittal process to being as soon as possible.
Wirsen said that they were waiting on the final storm water calculations and did not want to submit plans until he had all the paperwork in order. He has a goal of submitting for a site plan review before Valentine’s Day.
“We’ve had the benefit of meeting a couple times with these gentlemen,” said Planning Board chairman Arnold Johnson, who also said was confident in Wirsen and his knowledge of the project and the process.
“This is still the conceptual stage, so there will be time later for more information and public hearings,” said Johnson.
In other business, the Planning Board discussed a plan to address use of a residential field for storage of materials by a local business.
Harry Riggle owns a field on Route 28 across the street from Shea Concrete. The business had been storing materials in the field with Riggle’s permission, but the Conservation Commission issued an order of conditions for various violations of riverfront protection laws.
“We didn’t know about that at the time,” said Riggle. He added that they have since replanted a lot of the damaged area and moved storage of materials further away from the protected area.
Johnson said that he and the highway surveyor walked the site previous to Tuesday night’s meeting. The surveyor said that he was concerned about the lack of asphalt paving at one entrance of the property. Due to traffic entering and exiting the area, part of the road bed of Route 28 is breaking away.
“We have some concerns there and based on the amount of square footage up there it qualifies for a site plan review,” said Johnson, who suggested members of the Planning Board examine the site further once the weather gets warmer.
Riggle did install a gate across the entrance and said that the business no longer has access to the site. He was amenable to the Planning Board’s site plan review, which was scheduled for February 9.
The next meeting of the Rochester Planning Board will be on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall.
By Eric Tripoli