Old Business Seeks, Sometimes Finds, Conclusion

            Though the members of the Rochester Conservation Commission had little new business come before them during their September 15 meeting, they addressed several outstanding requests relating to projects that have been continued from meetings earlier in the year.

            Stephen Meltzer of Edgewood Development Company, LLC addressed the commission with the hope of receiving an Extension Permit for the work associated with the Connet Woods Development. The Order of Conditions initially submitted in 2007 was set to expire in August of 2020.

            Meltzer started his discussion with Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon to apply for a Certificate of Compliance for the work that has already been completed on the site. Meltzer received a partial COC for his work back in April. After continued discussions with Farinon, Meltzer began steps to apply for an extension for the Order of Conditions on the project, as there are still three lots on the site that have yet to be developed.

            While the application called for a three-year extension to the order of conditions, Meltzer explained that he will likely have completed the work in a year’s time. At that point, he will come before the commission to request a completed COC with the commission’s conditions for the project.

            Farinon explained that the request for an extension of a project should be treated as if it were a new filing so that the commission has a sufficient understanding of what was done on the site and what still needs to be completed. “We are advised by the (state Department of Environmental Protection) to treat extension as new filings and really review the project to make sure work being done is in compliance with the commission’s conditions.”

            Brian Grady came before the commission on behalf of Decas Cranberry Company to request two certificates of compliance for work completed on Mary’s Pond Road. The proposed work initially involved the reconstruction and improvement of 13 acres of cranberry bogs with some work being done in buffer zones to bordering wetlands. The scale of the project was scaled back from the set of plans originally submitted in 1998 and only involved improvement to 9 acres of bogs.

            Grady previously met the commission, seeking the same certificate, but opted to continue his request after the commission suggested he receive a signed letter from an engineer stating that any work that had been done on the site was within the conditions set forth by the commission. Upon receipt of the letter from Grady, the commission voted to issue the Certificate of Compliance to allow the project to be closed and affirm that all work was completed with substantial compliance.

            Brian Holmes followed Grady, seeking his own Certificate of Compliance. Holmes has been working on a project on behalf of Lorraine Roy Hawkins, who had received a notice to improve wetland areas on her property.

            The Order of Conditions was first issued in 2017 to address impacts from cutting vegetation in a buffer zone to a bordering wetlands area. Restoration of the buffer zone involved the maintenance of invasive species, removal of stumps, and new plantings in the area.

            Farinon explained that significant work has been done in the area in order to ensure that the site has been properly stabilized and the site achieved greater than 75 percent vegetation density. “Mr. Holmes prepared a restoration plan including supplemental plantings and allowed the area to come back on its own,” said Farinon, who recommended that the commission issue a Certificate of Compliance due to the improvements and positive state of the current site. The commission voted to approve the request for a COC, allowing the restoration of the site to come to a close.

            The next Rochester Conservation Commission meeting is set to take place on remotely on Tuesday, September 29, at 7:00 pm with public access provided via Zoom.

Rochester Conservation Commission

By Matthew Donato

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