Bylaw Change Proposed to Help Meet Quorum

It doesn’t happen very often, but April 19 was one of those nights when the Rochester Conservation Commission had a hard time making a quorum for the public meetings.

With two members calling in sick and another running late, associate member David Gagne suggested making a bylaw change that would allow the associate member to step in when reaching a quorum was problematic.

Chairman Rosemary Smith agreed that was probably a good idea, as did commission member Kevin Cassidy. Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon was asked to confer with town counsel on making such a change.

The public meeting was able to begin at 7:15 pm when commission member Laurene Gerrior arrived and the quorum was established.

The first order of business was to briefly discuss the Request for Determination of Applicability application filed by TEC Associates for Massachusetts Coastal Railroad. The company asked and received a continuation until May 3, at which time Farinon, along with TEC’s representative, will update the commission on maintenance needed along the right-of-way bordering jurisdictional areas.

The next hearing was a Notice of Intent filed by Brennan Bolduc for property located on Walnut Plain Road. Bolduc proposes to build a single-family dwelling and barn structure bordering resource areas.

Represented by Joshua Bows of Merrill Engineering, the project was fully described by Bows.

Farinon said that she was pleased with the amount of work Bows and his team had done in delineating wetlands and working with her office to place the structures as far away as possible from resources. She also lauded the fine work done by wetlands engineer Brad Holmes in evaluating other areas of the site to establish what was and was not wetlands.

There was discussion about stormwater management for paved driveways and runoff from the large barn roof. Bows said that an earthen berm would divert water to a grassy patch where it would be recharged into the ground. Bolduc said that he planned to collect rainwater from the barn’s roof to irrigate raised garden beds. Those considerations pleased the commissioners.

Farinon made her recommendation that the project receive a positive determination with conditions for the berm, rain barrels or dry well, and that a permanent demarcation be placed behind the barn to denote the 25-foot no touch zone. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the project.

In other business, the commissioners extended a three-year permit granted to Covanta Company of SEMASS for various projects on that site. Farinon will update the commission on work that has been completed to date.

The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is scheduled for May 3 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall meeting room.

By Marilou Newell


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