Biofuels Conditioned for Solar Project

            Including a condition the petitioner had wanted excluded, Rochester’s Conservation Commission Tuesday approved the Order of Conditions for BWC Snows Pond LLC’s plan to build a 2.39 megawatt, solar-energy array on 12.55 acres of a 31.23-acre parcel at 0 Cushman Road.

            In a previous meeting, the commission requested that the conditions should include the use of biofuels, which are biodegradable hydraulic oils for the construction equipment used there. In a January 26 memo, however, Weston & Sampson engineers asked that this not be made a project condition because the petitioner “could not commit that the selected contractor will be able to supply installation equipment that is compatible…”

            On Tuesday, BWC Snows Pond LLC’s representative had to give up on that request when informed by Conservation Commission Chairman Christopher Gerrior that the use of biofuels is a standard item in the board’s Order of Conditions.

            “We don’t want to be hamstrung by that condition,” Weston & Sampson engineer Rob Bukowski said, explaining that construction wouldn’t take place for another year and that it was not certain that any potential contractors would be able to comply.

            Commission member Ben Bailey said placing this condition on town projects happens all the time, and in fact, the Planning Board will likely place the use of biofuels in its own conditions for the project. He and Gerrior noted biofuels are required for the Cushman Road project because of the steep slope at the site.

            After reading the Order of Conditions that the board would set for the Cushman Road project, which included the bio-fuels requirement, Gerrior asked Bukowski if he had any comment. Bukowski said he had none, and the OOC was approved.

            In other action, the commission approved a letter it will send to Mattapoisett officials regarding its concerns over Rochester’s rights to the water on Red Brick Farm East land. The property is part of a 241-acre, regional Conservation Restriction giving Rochester no rights to the groundwater that Red Brick Farm East might produce. The CR led to a Mattapoisett Land Transfer Agreement that has yet to become reality.

            On Monday, the commissioners asked for the Select Board’s help with the issue, saying the latest correspondence from Mattapoisett listed the reasons why it would be difficult for the town to do such a transfer. The Select Board responded they needed Mattapoisett’s “no” in print before moving forward with any help.

            Tuesday, the commission endorsed the letter Bailey has written to prod that response. Addressed to the Mattapoisett Water Board, the letter reminds that panel that the Water and Sewer Department originally committed to “make every effort” to transfer the 13.06-acre Rochester parcel to the Town of Rochester “for $1” It continues, “Please accept this correspondence as a formal request for: 1). A list of all of the actions taken to date to demonstrate this effort to abide by this agreement and 2. A list of all actions anticipated to fully abide by the agreement.”

            Also, the commission approved a proposed new building and building addition at 340 Rounseville Road on land that is under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction. Engineering consultant Walter Hartley said the petitioner needs ConCom’s approval before the plan goes for state approvals because the town board holds the APR on the property. The plan is to increase the space for winter storage of farm equipment and hay.

            The board approved three-year extensions of the Order of Conditions for Cushman Road Solar LLC’s plan to build a solar-energy array at 0 Cushman Road to include work within the 100-foot buffer zone and the previously approved bituminous, concrete-production facility planned by Edgewood Development Co. LLC on Kings Highway.

            The commission noted the Notice of Intent hearing to build a 15-acre, self-storage facility at 0 and 25 Cranberry Highway and 0 Kings Highway has been continued to February 20.

            The commission agreed to meet on February 10 at 8:00 am for a site visit on Snipatuit Road at the starting area of the Rochester Boat Race, where river conditions might soon impede the herring run. Bailey said the public is welcome to attend to add their own comments and information.

            The Rochester Conservation Commission will meet next on Tuesday, February 20, at 7:00 pm at Town Hall, 1 Constitution Way.

Rochester Conservation Commission

By Michael J. DeCicco

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