On October 17, the Rochester Conservation Commission resumed discussion and debate regarding the establishment of fees for filings.
Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon distributed a spreadsheet and other supporting documentation that detailed what other cities and towns charge for filings such as Determination of Acceptability applications and Notices of Intent.
Unlike surrounding communities, Rochester had not instituted a filing fee structure, until now. The commission also considered further ‘after-the-fact’ filing fees as a penalty for performing activities in jurisdictional areas without prior approval.
Commission member Daniel Gagne suggested a step system for Notice of Intent filings that included six categories each with a fee. Those categories are: site work only, homes, commercial, wetland crossings, docks and piers, and wetland delineations.
Fees would run around $100 for each category.
The commissioners reasoned that these types of filings are complex, requiring more assistance from the conservation office and therefore should carry a heftier fee. Gagne said that the categories noted are recognized by the Department of Environmental Protection.
For Requests of Determination of Applicability, a flat fee of $50 was settled on by the commissioners, with a doubling of that fee for after-the-fact filings.
Timing for implementation of fees will follow after discussions have concluded.
In other business, Ryan Motta’s RDA filing received a Negative Determination. Motta’s property is located at 229 Neck Road, the site of a former farm. Motta plans to return some portions of his property to farming activities and sought permission to clear land up to a 25-foot No Disturb Zone for raising alpacas, pasture lands, and blueberry cultivation.
The commissioners are unanimously pleased that former farmland was being returned to this historic endeavor.
Also coming before the commission was Bruce Ouellette, 245 Hartley Road, for a septic upgrade. The project was swiftly approved, with Farinon commenting, “We love septic repair projects, especially near cranberry bogs.”
Farinon also began the process of informing applicants during the hearing process that any changes to the plan of record required the pre-approval of the commission.
The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is scheduled for November 7 at 7:00 pm in the Rochester Town Hall meeting room.
Rochester Conservation Commission
By Marilou Newell