A subdivision that has been in the making for 10 years was once again the subject of an application before the Rochester Conservation Commission during the February 20 meeting.
Coming before the commission was Stephen Meltzer, a principal in the Edgewood Development Company of Plainville as well as the property owner of record, with a Request for Determination of Applicability for the construction of a private well and new home on one of the proposed 115 lots originally planned.
Meltzer described grading activity planned for the lot and pointed out that most of the jurisdictional buffer zone was outside the site in question.
But commissioner Daniel Gagne questioned photographs that seemed to show that cutting within the buffer zone had taken place.
Meltzer said he was unfamiliar with “prior history” of the lot, leading Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon to interject that development had begun 10 years ago, site disturbance from previous owners was evident and she didn’t believe there had been any recent tree clearing.
“The history of the site is varied,” she told Gagne.
Gagne remained skeptical, noting that he was simply looking at photographs from the site and from his viewpoint those photographs showed cutting in the buffer zone.
Meltzer said, “I’m not here to argue… There may have been past deeds that took place… I’m sorry.”
Farinon suggested that the commissioners visit the site to see firsthand what the current conditions are. She also left open the possibility that the RDA filing might not be sufficient and that a Notice of Intent may be in order.
“This is a good one for the commission to see,” Farinon said.
The public meeting was continued until March 6.
Next was the Request for Determination of Non-Significance filed by James Holbrook on behalf of his mother for a proposed dwelling at Old Mill Way. It had come to light, Holbrook explained, that the current plans placed the home over the lot line by three inches. The revised plans would situate the building a foot closer to wetlands then previously drawn. The request was approved.
A Request for Extension Permit by Edgewood Development for the construction of a new bituminous concrete manufacturing plant located off King’s Highway was continued until March 6 due to a lack of quorum as one commissioner would have to be recused from the public meeting due to a conflict. The application was continued until March 6.
The commissioners also reviewed the commission’s annual report and accepted the draft as written. Farinon said that the document will now head to the Selectmen’s Office for inclusion in a larger report to be distributed during Town Meeting.
Also reviewed and accepted was a 60-plus page forest management plan drafted by Benjamin Forestry Services for the evaluation of the Upper and Lower River Bend areas off New Bedford Road adjacent to the Shoolman Preserve, a conservation property cooperatively managed by both the Rochester and Mattapoisett Land Trusts.
The report detailed the current condition of the property, including the history of the parcel, types of trees and other vegetation, wildlife implications, and goals for water quality.
Farinon walked the commissioners through the report, noting various significant highpoints including Benjamin’s recommendation that the majority of the site be left in its natural state with conservative tree clearing in only a few locations.
The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is scheduled for March 6 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall meeting room.
Rochester Conservation Commission
By Marilou Newell