Solar Projects Confront Hurdles

            Pedro Rodriguez of Solar MA Project Management LLC in New Milford, Connecticut, gained approval from the Rochester Planning Board for requested changes he made to his plan for properties located at Walnut Plain and Old Middleboro roads during the Planning Board’s March 10 meeting at the Town Hall.

            In the public hearing segment of the meeting, Planning Board Chairman Ben Bailey posed questions about the construction sequence and blasting.

            “I would like to see a construction plan that mimics our sequence,” said Bailey, reiterating stipulations previously made regarding the trimming of trees for an access entry and a site visit. “I would like to see this construction thing modified to match the written decision.”

            “We’re going to have it for sure,” said Rodriguez, who indicated that work on Old Middleboro Road will be done once affected stretches are no longer in use.

            Rodriguez was also reminded that permits and other approvals notwithstanding, blasting is not allowed without prior approval from the Planning Board. He was also asked to comply with and include in his plan stipulations related to working off-peak hours on weekends.

            Bailey also asked Rodriguez to specify the fence surrounding his work, including not only the mesh being black but also the posts.

            Rodriguez noted that the Rochester Conservation Commission will not be meeting next week so he will appear before ConCom on April 7. He described his timeline as “two or three months… sometime this summer. One of the things that we do not do is start construction before there is permitting,” he said.

            In a continued public hearing regarding a 208-unit residential development and commercial space proposed for construction at 22 Cranberry Highway, Phil Cordeiro presented an update and sought the feedback of the Planning Board with support from Ken Steen of Steen Realty and Development of Dartmouth.

            Planning Board Vice Chairman Gary Florindo offered observations about the road design inside the project, pointing to alternatives that limit throughways and result in better traffic flow.

            “Lincoln Park in Dartmouth does that,” said Florindo. “You go so far and you have to come back out.”

            Steen pointed to the constraints of the 10.3-acre space.

            “We would have liked to have sprawled this… but there was no wiggle room on the 20 units per acre,” he said. “This was by far the best layout… the courtyard to the middle.”

            Planning Board member John DiMaggio said he likes the design and the ability for a person to be able to exit the property to go to work even if there is a rescue truck, for instance, on the road. DiMaggio also asked about speedbumps, but Cordeiro said there is not sufficient runway for vehicles to gain the speed necessary to introduce speedbumps.

            Bailey asked about a second access road, without which a site visit would be pointless.

            The case was continued to the Planning Board’s next meeting on March 24.

            Informal discussion took place, as Clean Energy Collective presented its solar plan for 28 Sarah Sherman Road and Beals and Thomas presented four different plans for solar projects, on Featherbed Lane, Featherbed Lane South, Snipatuit Road, and Cushman Road.

            All the discussed plans were in developmental stages and seeking the guidance of the Planning Board where it concerned wetlands, tree clearing, fencing, and construction.

            One of the projects, a 3.7-megawatt project on a 57-acre site approximately 300 feet from Robinson Road, was altered to remove a couple of panels so that the work would not extend across the town line into Acushnet.

Rochester Planning Board

By Mick Colageo

Leave A Comment...