When Neil Lefaivre of Empire Design-Build, Inc. met with the Rochester Conservation Commission on December 5 to discuss his client’s 24-foot by 17-foot sunroom addition, he believed he had all the proverbial ducks in a row. On behalf of Matthew Monteiro of 590 New Bedford Road, Lefaivre submitted stamped engineered drawings and evidence that abutters had been notified of the proposed project.
But as Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon flipped through the U.S. Postal Service tickets that demonstrated the mailing of meeting notification to the abutters, she asked if the ‘green cards,’ the signed acknowledgments, had also been received. Lefaivre admitted that his office had not received any.
Still, the public hearing continued.
Chairman Michael Conway asked Monteiro why he had elected to place the sunroom within the 100-foot buffer zone of the wetlands. Monteiro shared that he and his wife were gardeners interested in using the new space to grow fruit trees indoors and that, given his property was heavily forested, the south exposure placed the structure within the buffer zone.
The commission then moved to approve the Notice of Intent with conditions; however, when the vote was taken, Conway voted ‘no.’
Conway then looked at Lefaivre and said, “Do you know why I voted no?”
Conway, with a steady gaze on Lefaivre, told him that simply providing the commission with receipts that notices were sent to abutters did not mean that the abutters actually received the notices.
“It’s more important to show the abutters received it,” said Conway.
Farinon countered that the requirement was not to prove that an addressee actually received a mailing, but that the applicant show proof of the mailing.
There were several tense moments as Conway told the commissioners they would have to re-visit their vote to amend the conditions.
Lefaivre offered to call the engineer, John DeLano, to ascertain if his office instead had received any signed responses. DeLano confirmed via telephone that green cards had been received, and Lefaivre offered to bring them to the conservation office the following day.
In other business, Rick Charon of Charon & Associates representing Donald King, 425 Neck Road, requested a Certificate of Compliance.
“It’s really a lovely project,” Charon said of work that had taken since 2011 to complete.
Farinon confirmed the quality of the finished project, saying, “The project all along went really well … has no adverse impact … [and] ended up with a well done project.”
The Certificate of Compliance was approved.
An abbreviated Notice of Intent filed by Greg Carey of Clean Energy Collective for property located at 0 Sarah Sherman Road was continued until December 19.
Also during the meeting, Farinon updated the commission on the placement of a piezometer at Snow’s Pond on property owned by Rochester Land Trust Chairman Bob Lawrence. The meter will measure the pond’s water level including ground water levels.
Farinon said the Mattapoisett River Valley Water Supply Protection Advisory Committee will be using data collected from the meter for their studies. A draft document was submitted by Farinon for the commission’s consideration that will formalize the agreement between the Town of Rochester and the committee.
The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is planned for December 19 at 7:00 pm in the town hall conference room.
Rochester Conservation Commission
By Marilou Newell