Rochester seeks to become 'Green Community'

Aug 7, 2018

Selectmen will hold a public forum to inform residents of the town's desire to become a 'Green Community', and seek input on the state administered energy-saving project.

"We've been working, much like Marion has, at becoming a Green Community in Rochester," Selectman Chairman Woody Hartley said at the board's Aug. 6, meeting. "We have a small subcommittee working on it, with the state, to becoming a Green Community, which will open us up for considerable amounts of grant money to do a detailed town-wide  audit, and then money each year after that will be released based on what direction the audit tells us to go to save energy."

The "Green Community Designation and Grant Program" pledges to assist cities and towns who sign on with the program with technical and financial help if municipalities promise to cut municipal energy use by 20 percent over five years, as well as meet four other criteria established by the Green Communities Act.

"We don't fund anything. It all comes from an energy fund put aside by the energy companies," Hartley said. "No money comes from the town."

Hartley said he has been working with the planning board to draft zoning requirements inline with Green Community requirements. The town hopes to get voter approval at the fall special town meeting.

There will be two public forums on the "Green Community" proposal on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Rochester Senior Center, on Dexter Lane. The times are 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Seth Pickering from the Southeast Regional Planning and Economic Development District will be there to give a presentation on what a Green Community is, and answer questions, said Hartley, who is the town's coordinator with Green Community.

"The process has been around for a while. We're just trying to get in on it now.  Out of 350 communities, 240 are involved with it already," Hartley said.

The fall Special Town meeting will be held  on Monday, Nov. 19, at  7 p.m. in Rochester Memorial School cafetorium, 16 Pine St.