Old Shed Won’t Stop New Work

            An old shed of an incalculable age helped seal the deal, as Rochester’s Conservation Commission Tuesday approved a Notice of Intent application to permit installation of a gravel driveway, stone patio and walkway and landscaping and to include work within the 100-foot buffer zone of wetlands at 96 Wolf Island Road.

            Previously, the commission had raised concerns about an existing shed on the property 25 feet from the wetlands “no-touch” zone, and the members recently conducted a site visit to see if the structure was an obstacle to granting the permit.

            Project engineer Bob Rogers of G.A.F. Engineering said Tuesday the only town records available show the shed was renovated in 1988, but no other indication of its age exists.

            “The shed is definitely older than 1988,” acting Chairman Ben Bailey answered, noting its rotting siding and shingles.

            “Clearly the shed is old enough to be grandfathered in,” Commissioner Michael Gifford said.

            Commission members concluded the shed could easily be grandfathered into the project being permitted and unanimously endorsed an Order of Conditions for the work.

            The commission also agreed to the next step in the Herring Run restoration and maintenance project, the commission’s plan to clear the sometimes-clogged, herring-run area from Hartley Farm Pond to the start of the Rochester Boat Race.

            Herring Inspector David Watling said the town needs to measure the cubic yards of dredging material that has to be moved to clear the run. Bailey said he and board member Bill Milka will be able to take the measurements themselves. The two set an appointment to do so at the start of the herring run area on June 7.

            Bailey said the plan is not to remove the dredging material but to perhaps use it to build a berm on the other side of the bank.

            Watling later reported good news on the herring run itself.  He said he counted 9,353 herring in the run this year. He noted he counted 4,500 herring last year.  So this is twice as many as was in the previous count, he said.

            In other action, the board granted a three-year extension of the Order of Conditions set on July 20, 2021 for the Snipatuit Road solar project.

            Bailey updated the board on its approval at the last meeting of the wetland resource boundary limits for an address on Gifford Lane. He said the Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) that the project petitioners applied for should have been an Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation (ANRAD) instead, according to advice from the Department of Environmental Protection.

            The filing of a RDA allows the applicant to side-step fees, but the work involved still requires town officials to conduct the delineation research. Rochester’s fee for such work is $2 per linear feet, ConCom members said. On that basis, the applicant would have paid approximately $1,000 for the appropriate permit. The commission resolved to henceforth require an ANRAD for such a project.

            The next Rochester Conservation Commission meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 18, at 7:00 pm at Town Hall, 1 Constitution Way.

Rochester Conservation Commission

By Michael J. DeCicco

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