Contentious Projects Near the Finish Line

It has been a long process for Wellspring Farm in Rochester with months of public hearings — oftentimes punctuated with frustrations that have escalated into angry exchanges –where large turn-outs have required the use of the Rochester Council on Aging meeting space. But not on October 12.

Coming before the Rochester Planning Board on October 12, for what will likely be the next to last time, was Holly and Jim Vogel of Wellspring Farm, 42 Hiller Road, and their attorney George Boerger to address any final questions as the Planning Board fine tuned their draft decision.

The Planning Board had closed the public hearing in September after hearing the concerns from abutters regarding noise, traffic, lighting, signage, running vehicle engines, and fencing, a process that has taken many months. The Planning Board made site visits and enlisted the assistance of Field Engineering to assist in providing guidance that would address the concerns of abutters.

As the Planning Board members reviewed their draft decision that had been vetted through town counsel, the absence of standing room only crowds made for a very pronounced quiet in the Town Hall meeting room.

Chairman Arnie Johnson discussed the necessity for a pre-construction meeting before the Vogels began driveway and parking area work, while board member Ben Bailey wondered aloud about the noise regulation and the ability to quantify sporadic loud human outbursts. It was decided that state regulations would be referenced.

Regarding fencing, the board determined that in the event the fence needed maintenance that work would be completed in 30 days, weather providing, and that inspection of the driveway area would be done by board members twice a year.

The Vogels will return to the Planning Board on October 24 to receive the final decision. While this process is nearly closed, the Vogels still must complete the Conservation Commission process for work, as noted in the Planning Board decision.

Also coming before the Planning Board to discuss drafts of final decisions was Bill Madden of G.A.F. Engineering representing Craig Canning, whose two projects have been wending their way through the public hearing process.

Canning’s projects — an agricultural distribution facility named Progressive Growers planned for Kings Highway, and Rochester Farms –a retail vegetable stand and organic farming operation located on Marion Road, were discussed briefly with the draft language seeming to satisfy the board members and Madden. Canning’s applications will also receive final decisions on October 24.

The next meeting of the Rochester Planning Board is scheduled for October 24 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Council on Aging building located on Dexter Road.

Rochester Planning Board

By Marilou Newell


Leave A Comment...