A Nearly Silent Night

As winter darkness fell across the open spaces, vegetated bordering wetlands, riverbanks, fresh water ponds, vernal pools, and associated buffer zones in Rochester, the Conservation Commission met for the last time in 2017.

On December 19, with only one public hearing and another one continued, the ConCom, Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon, and administrator Margaret Gonneville heard from solar facility developer Greg Carey of Clean Energy Collective on an Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation, also known as an ANRAD.

The developer is planning to install an array on property owned by William Souza, 139 Sarah Sherman Road, between lots 8L and 13 on assessor’s map 28, also listed as 0 Sarah Sherman Road. Carey said the site was approximately 20 acres.

Carey said this site was especially attractive to his firm, given that it is predominately hay fields yet shielded from abutters. He said tree removal would be minimal.

Carey said he has been meeting in the field with Farinon to discuss wetland delineations and other jurisdictional aspects of the property.

When asked by Chris Gerrior, the commission’s newest member, where the array would connect to the public utility, Carey said at the corner of Alley Road, adding that engineering plans were only conceptual at this point in time.

Farinon said that while working with Carey in the field, several areas of jurisdictional oversight were noted and that those were noted on submitted plans.

Carey also said abutters had been notified, but he did not have the USPS mail registration green cards to confirm notifications were, in fact, sent. He said he would bring them to the office in the morning.

Farinon suggested the commission approval the ANRAD, which it did with one descending vote. Chairman Mike Conway said he voted ‘no’ because, without the green cards, “…Abutters have not been notified.”

Carey said that in the coming weeks he would return with more details and also noted that he has had a meeting with the Planning Board to begin the process with that board as well.

Under old business, Farinon reported that a shared recording secretary for ConCom and Planning Board had still not been found despite receiving many applications for the newly created part-time position. She said another notice would circulate through channels that might bring in applicants with a background in municipal government meetings.

In other business, Farinon reported that both the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee agreed to the new fee schedule for filings to the Conservation Commission.

The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is scheduled for January 16 at 7:00 pm in the Rochester Town Hall meeting room.

Rochester Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell


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