Solar project will work around historic site

Nov 12, 2019

ROCHESTER — At a Nov. 12 Planning Board meeting, Solar MA Project Management, the developer for a solar project on Old Middleboro Road, confirmed that it has changed its plans to avoid the foundations of a historic home on the property. 

At an Oct. 31 meeting when the public hearing for the 32-acre, almost 5 megawatt solar development opened, Planning Board Chair Arnold Johnson said he had heard that the foundation belonged to a prominent Rochester resident, although he did not say who. 

On Nov. 12 moving the foundation was one of the first issues that Solar MA addressed in their opening comments. 

Town Planner Steven Starrett said that when he had been out to see the historic site, he noticed multiple wells and pens and walls. Yet on the plans, the area that the developer will avoid was a square, prompting Starrett to ask if they had just taken into account the foundation of the house or the other features. 

The developer responded that the square included the extra walls and pens as well. 

Planning Board member Gary Florindo also asked the distance from the road to the edge of the development. Solar MA’s representative initially said about 180 feet, but Planning Board members corrected him to about 400 feet. Florindo then wanted to know if the developer planned to leave the trees there. 

Pedro Rodriguez, who filed the application, said that his company would keep the trees, and that maintaining tree coverage was one of the first points that the Planning Board made in its technical review. 

At the first public hearing, many of the abutters showed up with questions on the project. This time, no one from the public had comments. 

Planning Board members made plans for a site visit next weekend, and asked Solar MA to work on some of the bond amounts for the project. They anticipate finalizing the project at the second meeting in January.