Cranberry Highway fertilizer distribution center proposed

By Andrea Ray | Jun 28, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray Craig Canning (left) and Bill Madden explain a proposal for a new fertilizer distribution center on Cranberry Highway.

Rochester — Months after an informal interview concerning Rochester Farms, Craig Canning returned to the Rochester Planning Board for another informal meeting about a new business in Rochester -- this time concerning "Rochester Growers."

Canning already owns "Progressive Growers" in Wareham's Industrial Park. The business sells fertilizer and other agricultural supplies. The proposed business would be located just over the Rochester/Wareham border, in Rochester's industrial zone.

The proposed business is a distribution center for fertilizer. The property abuts both Cranberry Highway and King's Highway.

The meeting was an informal pre-submission conference, meant for the Planning Board to give Madden and Canning input before they submit plans for a public hearing.

Bill Madden of GAF Engineering presented the initial draft of the proposal, which includes six 7,200 square-foot buildings, meant for the storage of fertilizer and other agricultural equipment.

The plans include an access road connecting King's Highway to Cranberry Highway - something Planning Board member Gary Florindo advised Canning to keep gated. "Otherwise you'll have people wandering through at all hours," he said.

"We had already planned on that," Canning said, explaining that all traffic was slated to enter and exit from Cranberry Highway. "The back entrance is meant more for a possible emergency situation."

"What are your intended hours? Are you going to be going around the clock?" Florindo asked.

Canning said that the majority of the distribution would take place between 7 a.m and 5 p.m. "If someone needs to leave a little early at 6:30 a.m., or come in at 6:30 p.m., we might do that, but most of our deliveries are local. There won't be anyone working at 2 a.m.," Canning promised.

"Why did you keep the buildings separate? They're all holding fertilizer, right?" Planning Board Chair Arnie Johnson asked him curiously.

"Well, there are six buildings at 7,200 square feet. Any building above 7,500 square feet requires a sprinkler system along with other features. At some point doing that just gets too costly. It's easier to have several smaller buildings," Canning explained.

One meeting attendee asked Canning what would happen in the event of a fertilizer spill.

"Everything going into the buildings will be pre-packaged," Canning explained. "I mean, a bag might rip once and awhile, and one of us will sweep it up, take it home, and stick it on our garden. But we've never had an issue with anything leaching into the water supply, and we won't be opening anything there."

With few other questions from the board, Madden and Canning said that they intended to shoot for a public hearing with the Planning Board on July 25.

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