Light Agenda for ConCom

Rochester’s Conservation Commission handled a light agenda as twilight descended on Town Hall on June 3. In attendance were Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon, Chairman Rosemary Smith, and members John Teal, Christopher York and Laurene Gerrior.

A notice of intent filed by Don Stimer of 14 Bishop Road, which had been continued from the previous meeting, was continued again as Farinon noted the applicant was still collecting information requested by the commission. Further, Stimer is still waiting to hear back from National Heritage. Regarding this property and notice of intent, a “Mullin Rule” affidavit has been filed. The Mullin rule arises from the Appeals Court decision of Mullin v. Planning Board of Brewster, 17 Mass. App. 139 (1983) which held that a planning board decision on a subdivision plan is an adjudicatory proceeding. The members of the board who vote on the plan must have attended the hearings on the plans. The Mullin case involved, at most, two hearings on a proposed subdivision plan. At least two Massachusetts Trial Court judges have refused to apply the Mullin rule in an overly stringent fashion when there are a series of public meetings. These judges have ruled, in essence, that if a planning board member misses a meeting when non-substantive issues were discussed, it makes little difference. Furthermore, if a planning board member misses a meeting where there may have been substantive discussion and presentation but that substantive material was undoubtedly reiterated at a later meeting which the planning board member did attend, the Mullin rule should not apply.” The hearing was continued until that time.

A certificate of compliance requested by Erica Benoit and Kathryn Guy for property located off Snipatuit Road was issued. Farinon reported to the members that a deed restriction has been added to the property to ensure that there won’t be another remediation project at this site given the amount of remediation that was required – a total of 850 square feet – to compensate for 650 square feet of fill for a driveway crossing through bordering vegetated wetland.

A certificate of compliance requested by Andrew and Susan Revell of 59 Bradford Lane was also issued.

In old business, the property located at 510 New Bedford Road was discussed. Farinon shared with the commission that wetland lines will be re-drawn according to engineer Rich Charon and that the parties involved will be ready for the July 1 meeting.

Farinon reported that MapGeo, an online municipal mapping program, will soon be available to the public via the town website, and she lauded it as a great tool for residents as well as town employees. Information available will include flood plains.

Smith showed the members new signage that will be placed in the kiosk at Doggett’s Brook. The members also discussed language suggestions received from town counsel that might be displayed on signage at the Leonard’s Pond kiosk. After editing the legal text, Farinon will revisit what is absolutely necessary to have posted versus the long list offered by counsel.

The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is June 17 at 7:00 pm at Town Hall.

By Marilou Newell


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