Leonard’s Pond Access Path Discussed

            The much beloved Leonard’s Pond was discussed during the October 1 meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission. Before the commission was a Request for Determination of Applicability filed by the town for the purpose of making improvements to a gravel boat access path and to consider options for making the area ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.

            Speaking on behalf of the town, Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon explained that she has been exploring design options for the access path, everything from asphalt paving to timber planks to simple grading and applying more gravel to the access point.

            Farinon explained that the path has been a source of concern as erosion has caused sediment flow into the pond.

            “The area needs to be stabilized,” she began. She said that the best solution would be “a low-key plan.”

            Access for people with mobility issues made finding a simple resolution and design rather difficult, Farinon shared. She said that most ADA compliant designs would require the removal of forested bank, something she said made the recreational area special and unique given its undisturbed state. 

            Continuing on, Farinon suggested the best course of action would be to maintain the access path as it currently exists using dense crushed gravel “to keep it as simple as possible.” She said the town wasn’t under any time constraints, so if the commission wished, she would continue to pursue design concepts looking for the best fit for the location. The filing was continued until November 5 to allow for more review.

            Coming before the commission with a Notice of Intent filing was John and Michelle Vinagre of 7 Ginny’s Drive for the construction of a 40×36-foot garage and associated driveway within a 100-foot buffer zone.

            Represented by engineer Stephen Chmiel, the project was described as including a 200-foot swale and permanent boundary markers. After Chmiel’s brief presentation, Farinon remarked, “The owners have been good stewards of the property.” She suggested that a positive Order of Conditions be issued. The project received conditioning.

            Also briefly coming before the commission was Sarah Rosenblat of SWEB Development USA representing Rochester Farms LLC and owner Craig Canning. Canning’s solar array project has been slowly working its way through the Conservation Commission review process for several months. All that came to a head on this night when the commission accepted the Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation of 3,850 feet of Bordering Vegetated Wetlands after Rosenblat pointed out the last remaining comments the commission requested on the plan of record. The project received the issuance of an Order of Resource Area Delineation.

            Another project receiving an Order of Resource Area Delineation was also for a solar array project. The filing of an Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation by Erica Buster, Quaker Lane, for 10,100 linear feet of Bordering Vegetated Wetlands and 1,600-feet of riverfront area met with approval after Jon Connel of SITEC, Inc. made the final presentation. Farinon suggested the approval and commented that peer review consultant John Rockwell of Marion had spent considerable time in the field making recommendations.

            Continued filings were two ANRADs, one for 0 Featherbed Lane and another for 0 Cushman Road filed by Joe Harrison of SunRise Investments. The hearing was continued to October 15.

            Also continued until October 15 was an NOI filed by REpurpose Properties for property located at Rounseville Road abutting Plumb Corner.

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

Rochester Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell

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