Borrego Solar Project Continued Again

Before hearing the cases on a rather light pre-holiday agenda on December 18, Rochester Conservation Commission Chairman Michael Conway said he had a few comments to make regarding one of the board members – Laurene Gerrior.

Conway said it was Gerrior’s last night as a commissioner as she is relocating to Middleboro. He went on to express gratitude for Gerrior’s many years of service to the community, which include being a Conservation Commission member since 2009, as well as working on the Open Space Committee, Historical Commission, Rochester Land Trust, and Cultural Council.

Gerrior said that she’ll be taking a year off from volunteering before filling her evenings with meetings in her new location.

Then it was onto the business at hand.

First up and taking up the majority of the meeting was a continued public hearing for an Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation filed by Steve Longo of Borrego Solar System, Inc. for property located at 75 Vaughan Hill Road. The property owner is Kiriakos Rentumis.

If Longo believed that this meeting would wrap up this portion of the proposed solar project, that belief was shattered when abutter Daniel MacGregor, 91 Vaughn Hill Road, questioned the location and number of vernal pools being reported.

There ensued a lively discussion of methods used by Longo’s engineering team to find and map all wetland and jurisdictional features on the property, with MacGregor asserting that some things had been missed. MacGregor said that the location of wetlands was important because it would impact the number and location of solar panels, including those that might be placed close to his home.

Rochester Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon said, “We’ve been at this for a while, it’s a big site,” and while she said she had confidence in Longo’s report and mapping, she also acknowledged that now was the time to ferret out any and all issues. “This is why we re-advertised and notified abutters again,” she said while adding, “We’ve been over this with a fine-tooth comb to ensure nothing was missed.”

Conway suggested that MacGregor and Longo walk the site together to find any inconsistencies between the two parties. Longo commented many times during the discussion, saying, “Ours is correct,” adding that tax maps were wrong, if that was what MacGregor had based his opinions on.

In the end it was determined that the hearing would be continued until January 15 and that Longo would provide MacGregor with documentation and mapping used to support the wetland delineation report he had defended.

In other matters, a Certificate of Compliance requested by Decas Real Estate Trust for 15 Cranberry Highway was continued until January 15.

Two other requests for Certificates of Compliance – one requested by Michael Williams, 692 Walnut Plain Road, and another by Sonia Amaral, 28 Snows Pond Road – were granted.

The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is scheduled for January 15 at 7:00 pm in the Rochester Town Hall meeting room.

Rochester Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell

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