Continuances for Complex Projects

            The February 18 meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission once again plowed through technical details of complex projects. Piles of engineered drawings and stacks of letters and associated documents were reviewed as applicants fielded questions and asked for continuances.

            Repurpose Properties, LLC represented by Brian Wallace of J.C. Engineering came before the commission following the closure of the public hearing process at the February 13 Planning Board meeting. Wallace said that a confirmation from the Town of Marion on supplying water to the subdivision site planned for Rounseville Road was still pending. He did say, however, that a letter from the Mattapoisett River Valley Water District accepting the project was in hand. On this night the cutting of trees was briefly discussed with Environmental Agent Laurell Farinon, who commented that the cutting plan was good. 

            With the 10th revision of the 44-unit duplex, age-related construction documents before them, Chairman Mike Conway said he didn’t want to close the public hearing before having an opportunity to “digest” everything. 

            Farinon gave a highlight of what an order of conditions from the commission will look like when she noted such contingencies as a pre-construction meeting, staking the limit of work, reflagging the site, on-site operation and maintenance manual, and last but not least confirmation of public freshwater supply. She told the commissioners she would meet with Rochester Town Planner Steve Starrett as well as peer review consultant Ken Motta of Field Engineering to ascertain any other items that needed clarity. The Notice of Intent hearing was continued until March 2.

            Another complicated project that has been in the making over the course of the last two years is only just beginning its journey through the Rochester Conservation Commission process.

            Pedro Rodriguez, Solar MA and Mat Bombaci of Bohler Engineering presented drawings as substantive discussions for a planned 35-acre solar array began. Rodriguez said that the Old Middleboro Road site was 275 acres, of which large tracts will be deeded to the Buzzards Bay Coalition with conservation oversight handled by the Rochester Land Trust.

            The Planning Board public hearing resulted in a list of waivers at its February 12 meeting, but the process with the ConCom is likely to cover several months as Farinon read from a list of issues requiring resolution. 

            Farinon read from a letter submitted by Henry Nover of Nover-Armstrong Environmental Consultants, which covered a number of drainage-related matters including drainage calculations. Rodriguez said, “I think we have answers for these,” and that many of the things noted in Nover’s letter could be found in the drawings provided by Bombaci. But Farinon was a bit skeptical saying, “I want to be realistic about the amount of work that still needs to be done.” The NOI hearing was continued to March 17. 

            The Town of Rochester’s Request for Determination of Applicability for repairs and improvements to the Leonard’s Pond Recreational Area represented by Farinon was discussed. Farinon shared the type of parking-area repairs needed and construction methods planned for the pondside site. She said that some of the work would be completed by the town’s Highway Department but that long-term maintenance plans critical for the area had yet to be decided. The hearing was continued until March 3.

            Earlier in the evening an RDA filed by Chris Makuch, 89 Ryder Road, for the construction of a 36×42-foot garage, was heard. The site had been mapped as a perennial stream, but according to Alicia Tripp of Outback Engineering, it was found to be a cranberry bog ditch. The project received a negative determination.

            An NOI filed by Steen Realty and Development Corporation for a 208-unit residential complex planned for 22 Cranberry Highway was continued until March 3.

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

Rochester Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell

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