Three (3) Year Term
CONSERVATION COMMISSION FUNCTION
Under the Wetlands Protection Act (Massachusetts General Law 131, Section 40), the Conservation Commission has jurisdiction over all of the wetlands in Swampscott and all land within the 100 foot buffer zone adjacent to the waterways and wetlands. Under this law, the Conservation Commission is charged with protecting these natural resources to prevent pollution, protect drinking water, to improve flood control, to protect wildlife and to protect fisheries.
The Conservation Commission is a group of seven volunteers, appointed by the Board of Selectmen, who work to achieve community conservation goals including wetland, open space and natural resource protection. The majority of the Commission’s time is spent implementing the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and holding public meetings/hearings, conducting site visits and issuing Determinations of Applicability and Orders of Conditions on proposed projects that fall within 100 feet of wetland resource areas and 200 feet from either side of perennial streams.
All Conservation Commission meetings are open to the public. Anyone wishing to join the Commission, either as a full or associate (non-voting) member is invited to contact any Commission member or the Conservation Agent.
We strive to work proactively with all Swampscott residents and businesses to comply with the Wetlands Protection Act. If you have any questions about proposed land uses in the vicinity of wetlands or whether land falls within our jurisdiction please contact the Conservation Agent.
CONSERVATION COMMISSION FILING
Anyone considering a new land use or project within 200 feet of a stream or 100 feet of a pond, marsh, swamp or ocean bank should contact the Conservation Agent. Some common proceedings before the Conservation Commission include (but are not limited to):
Request for Determination of Applicability
This request leads to a determination of whether the Commission has jurisdiction and, if so, will the resource be affected. As a result of this action, the Commission may find any of the following:
· The Commission has jurisdiction and will require a Notice of Intent
· The Commission will not require a Notice of Intent, but will impose conditions
· The Commission does not have jurisdiction
Notice of Intent
This document requires a Public Hearing, with notification of all properties within 100 ft of the subject parcel. It usually requires the preparation of plans by a Registered Professional Engineer. Once the Public Hearing is complete, the Commission will either:
· Issues an Order of Condition for the proposed work, or
· Deny the project for inability to adequately protect the resource
Orders of Conditions specify how the work is to be performed as to protect the wetland areas to the greatest extent practical. This may include erecting a hay bale barrier along the wetland to prevent siltation and erosion from degrading the area or constructing wetland conditions and replanting wetland plant species in other areas of the site to compensate for any losses. The Order is recorded at the Essex County Registry of Deeds. When the work is complete per the submitted plans, the last phase of the process begins.
Commission decisions may be appealed to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection by the applicant, abutters or a group of citizens of the town. An Order of Conditions is valid for a period of 3 years, and may be extended for up to 3 years.
Certificate of Compliance
A Certificate of Compliance is a legal document indicating that an Order of Conditions has been satisfied or that no work has occurred. This Certificate may be required for a property to be transferred to a new owner.
At the completion of the project, the Conservation Agent, who enforces and inspects wetland projects for the Commission, provides a report on the site at a meeting. If the Commission decides that the work has been done according to the plans submitted and is satisfied that wetlands have not been adversely affected, then it votes to issue a Certificate of Compliance. This is also recorded at the Registry of Deeds and serves to document completion of the project.