Rochester’s Planning Board Tuesday delayed deciding the fate of two big proposed projects until its next meeting on December 12.
BWC Snows Pond LLC’s plan is to build a solar array on 12.55 acres of a 31-acre parcel at 0 Cushman Road to include a 2.39 MW, DC, single-access tracking photovoltaic array and associated battery energy storage.
Engineering consultant Andrew Hamel updated the board with the information that the array will be screened from surrounding properties with a chain-link fence at one end, a stockyard fence at the other end and 97 arborvitaes planted in staggered fashion. The buffer will not result in any increased water runoff.
As she did when the project was reviewed by the Conservation Commission on November 7, the site’s nearest Jason Lane neighbor, Melanie Sherman Morrison, expressed objection, stating that she is such a close neighbor that she will have to constantly look at this solar array once it is erected.
Sherman Morrison asked why the project developer would be taking out trees on the parcel. Hamel said they were doing so only to fit bylaw requirements regarding in what direction the solar array should be pointing. Sherman Morrison wanted to know why a stone wall will be split open to fit an access road. Hamel assured her this action is being taken for access to the site only. Planning Board members assured her they will inspect what is done with the stone afterward.
Planning Board Chairman Arnold Johnson gave Hamel the homework to completely stake out the project’s borders correctly so the board can inspect the site and to install poles where the fencing will be placed.
“It’s important to get the site-line adjustments,” Johnson said. “Notify us when those are complete. Then we will need 48 hours’ notice when we post the site visit.”
The resulting vote to continue the hearing to December 12 was unanimous.
Next, the board reopened the public hearing for JPF Development’s plan to build a 15-acre, self-storage facility at Kings Highway and Route 28 that will feature the construction of seven, self-storage buildings and an office with associated, paved access drives, parking areas, utilities and a stormwater-management system.
Consulting engineer Bill Madden asked for and received a continuance to December 12 because of information he is missing. He said he is still waiting for full drawings of the buildings that will be erected there. He is also waiting for a response to his reply to the town’s consulting engineer’s peer review and correspondence with important input from his fire-prevention specialist.
While he was there, Madden noted there are some changes to the plan the board originally saw but nothing major. Smaller units will be added to the ends of the storage-unit buildings. An underground basin will be installed for roof stormwater runoff, and a wooden guardrail will be built along the Kings Highway side to keep water runoff from ever reaching passing motorists. “But nothing that’s a major change,” he said.
In other action, the board endorsed an Approval Not Required application for a lot-line adjustment plan at 2 Bishop Road but not without a “no” vote from Johnson.
Consulting engineer John Romanelli had said at a previous Zoning Board of Appeals meeting that the 12×16-foot shed at 2 Bishop Road is less than 40 feet from 0 Bishop Road because he made a mathematical error when drawing the lot lines. Now the owner of 0 Bishop Road, Mark Wilson, wants to sell his vacant lot and needs his parcel to be a legally conforming size. But the pool shed owned by Romanelli’s client, Logan Smith, 2 Bishop Road, is massive, filled with electrical and plumbing infrastructure, and would be difficult to move to make the lots conform.
On November 14, Romanelli presented the Planning Board with a solution. Smith and Wilson have agreed to trade lot lines. Romanelli said, however, that Wilson has not signed an affidavit proving he agrees to this trade. Romanelli said Wilson is away on vacation but will sign the affidavit at the end of the week.
Johnson voted against approving the ANR, explaining that proof from Wilson should come first. But the majority of Planning Board members approved the ANR, and the motion passed.
The entire board then passed on appointing two of its members to the new Zoning Bylaw Review Committee. Johnson reasoned Planning Board members have busy schedules already, and they don’t need to be on the new board because they can simply share their notes on the subject with the new panel and vice versa. The board’s final motion on the issue was to find out what days Zoning Bylaw Review Committee meetings will be scheduled.
The Rochester Planning Board will meet next on Tuesday, December 12, at 7:00 pm at Town Hall, 1 Constitution Way.
Rochester Planning Board
By Michael J. DeCicco