Rochester Growers begins to bloom in King's Highway proposal

By Andrea Ray | Aug 07, 2017

Rochester — A new fertilizer and agricultural supply distribution center is moving forward on King's Highway.

Property owner Craig Canning has proposed Rochester Growers, on the lot; Canning is also the owner of Progressive Growers in Wareham. The Wareham site sells fertilizer and other agricultural supplies.

Canning initially approached Rochester's Planning Board on June 28 concerning Rochester Growers. On August 7, he returned to begin a formal site plan review for the project.

"It's just a bulk distribution center," explained Bill Madden of GAF engineering, who is overseeing the project.

Canning explained at the June 28 Planning Board meeting that he proposed six buildings at 7,200 square feet apiece, rather than one larger building, because of fire code.

"Any building larger than 7,500 square feet needs its own sprinkler system," he explained. "That becomes cost-prohibitive."

"Will you be selling to anyone at this location?" asked Planning Board Chair Arnie Johnson.

"Well, we don't advertise," Canning said. "But if someone wanted to come pick up some fertilizer for their garden, we'd be fine with that."

Madden was careful to explain that the majority of the operation - of which six-and-a-half acres of 15 would be developed - would be hidden by trees. "There is one side that's slightly higher, so you may able to see a little bit," he said. "But you can't see anything from King's Highway, and only a little from Cranberry Highway."

"I think that's a win-win," said Planning Board member Gary Florindo.

Attorney George Hailer, representing abutter Rochester Bituminous Products, a nearby asphalt contractor at 83 King's Highway, brought up concerns of stormwater runoff. "I would like to stress that there are no concerns over the business itself," he said. "The biggest concern is surface water drainage calculations for the area in general. There's lot of proposed development in the area, and a lot of wetlands. Some of these calculations should be looked at on an area-specific basis to address the potential flooding and flood plain area nearby," he said.

"We're very familiar with the area's hydrogeology," Madden told him. "I'll prepare a brief overview for the abutters which will show that no neighboring areas will see any adverse effects."

The Planning Board also made it a requirement that the entrance to the property on King's Highway be kept solely as an emergency exit and entrance. "We would prefer that the main entrance be on Route 28, to ensure traffic safety on King's Highway," Johnson said.

"I have no problem with that at all," Canning said. "I had only ever intended to use the King's Highway exit for emergencies anyway."



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