Solar Sun Shining in Rochester

With a light agenda for its February 25 meeting, the Rochester Planning Board was able to informally discuss a number of projects in various stages of permitting including six solar-array development projects. 

            Chairman Arnold Johnson said that Seaboard Solar was still submitting revisions to the plan of record even though the project’s hearing had been closed. He said that peer review consultant Ken Motta of Field Engineering had suggested some minor plan modifications that the developer included as plan revisions after the hearing closed. Johnson stated, “We’ll have to reopen the hearing at our next meeting.” He said that the project had not completed permitting with the Conservation Commission, therefore reopening the hearing would not change a construction start date.

            Sunray Solar has five solar arrays planned for Rochester. The developer asked Town Planner Steve Starrett if technical reviews prior to opening hearings could be grouped together. Starrett thought this was possible, given earlier discussions with the developer which brought to light the manner in which the Planning Board would be conducting hearings and the documentation required.

            Sunray Solar’s projects are planned for Featherbed Lane, Braley Hill Road, Snipatuit Pond Road, and Cushman Road, Johnson said.

            Rounding out the solar-array projects was the mention of Clean Energy, which plans to construct its project on Sarah Sherman Road. Johnson said that informal technical reviews and a site visit were in the queue.

            Earlier in the evening, the Planning Board met with Nancy Steidle, 0 Walnut Plain Road, who filed an Approval Not Required request.

            Steidle explained that she had purchased more than 13 acres along Walnut Plain Road and planned to sell the lion’s share, some 11 acres, to the Buzzards Bay Coalition. She said two acres would be held as a house lot.

            Commissioner Ben Bailey cautioned Steidle to make sure the BBC did not plan to have a large parking lot or access roadway into the acreage that she planned to sell to them. He warned her that public access to BBC lands might be a requirement of their non-profit status. If that were the case, he said she could end-up with the public impacting the peaceful enjoyment of her home. Bailey asked her if she wished to proceed with the Approval Not Required application, noting that once the land was separated it would have to stay that way, or if she wanted to discuss matters further with the BBC. Steidle said she would go ahead and talk to the non-profit before the closing.

            Continued until March 10 was the hearing for a proposed 40B housing project planned for Route 28 near the intersection with Route 58, the current location of Seasons convenience store and gas station. Starrett said that developer Steen Realty and Development and the Seasons management team had not yet been able to begin discussions on access and egress locations needed for the residential subdivision. He said that Seasons had not responded to calls placed by Steen. At the developer’s request, the hearing was continued.

            The next meeting of the Rochester Planning Board is scheduled for March 10 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall meeting room.

Rochester Planning Board

By Marilou Newell

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