Waiting on Berm, Public Hearing Extended

The Rochester Planning Board met Tuesday night and discussed an issue at the Little Quittacas solar project on North Avenue in Rochester.

According to Board members, a berm that was scheduled to be put in at the beginning of spring has not been completed, leaving officials worried that the dry season ahead will cause dust problems for neighbors.

“We thought that this was all going to be done by the beginning of May,” Chairman Arnold Johnson said. “I think we’ll see where they get [before they decide to take some action against them].”

Johnson recommended that they invite everyone involved in the project to the next Planning Board meeting, including everyone associated with Real Goods Solar of Providence, which is responsible for the project. He also suggested that they invite the town’s Building Inspector to the meeting, as well.

“I think we should do whatever we can do [for the neighbors’ sake] until they fix that,” said Ben Bailey of the Board.

Gary Florindo of the Board said that they are running out of time if they want to build the berm and plant trees atop it because of the change of seasons.

“By not having that berm done, they’re losing time,” Florindo said. “I think they missed a move. They’re going to have to take a step back. The clock is ticking.”

Town Planner John Charbonneau said that they’re not currently entertaining the idea of shutting the project down, but they’d like to see Real Goods Solar come back with some sort of plan before the next time the Planning Board meets on June 11.

“It’s in everybody’s best interest not to shut them down,” said Charbonneau. “We want to move them forward.”

In other news, the public hearing for Shawmut Associates, LLC was pushed back until the next meeting because the Board is waiting for the Conservation Committee to make a ruling on wetlands at the site. They meet on June 4, and the Planning Board will be able to make a ruling on the new construction upon approval from the Conservation Committee.

By Nick Walecka


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