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Wetlands Protection

Wetlands Protection (8)

21-Day Timing Provisions in the Wetlands Act Are Obligatory and Pre-Empt Local Wetland Bylaws

Written by
/ Published Thursday, 14 April 2022 11:08
Local wetlands bylaw (or ordinance) jurisdiction over projects in and near resource areas depends on Conservation Commission compliance with the 21-day deadlines for commencing public hearings and issuing decisions on Notices of Intent (NOI). Indeed, you may safely regard those timing provisions in the state Wetlands Protection Act (the Act) as binding on the Commission, with failure to meet them potentially fatal to any decision the Commission may render.

Boston Enacts Wetlands Protection Ordinance to Address Climate Change

Written by
/ Published Tuesday, 24 December 2019 11:15
On December 23, 2019, the City of Boston joined the almost two-thirds of the Commonwealth’s 351 municipalities in having more stringent requirements for work in and near wetlands, waterbodies, and floodplains. Unlike many of those other municipalities, the explicit purpose of Boston’s wetlands ordinance is to address climate change, through adaptation and building resiliency.

Appeals Court Sets Limit on Wetlands Enforcement and Cautions on Imposing Fines

Written by
/ Published Thursday, 15 June 2017 14:11
A conservation commission may want to enforce the Wetlands Protection Act (hereinafter,  the “Act”) and its wetland bylaw or ordinance (hereinafter, “bylaw”) against a project that was built a while ago without commission approval. The impetus might be a tip from a resident or new observation by a commissioner or agent.  A recent decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court provides important guidance and useful reminders.

Understanding Home Rule Wetland Bylaws and Conservation Commission Decision Making

Written by
/ Published Thursday, 16 February 2017 11:36
The Appeals Court in Parkview Electronics Trust, LLC v. Conservation Commission of Winchester, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 833 (2016), reinforced the well-established principle that a local conservation commission can have regulatory authority under a wetlands bylaw or ordinance (hereinafter “bylaw”) that is independent from, and in addition to, its authority under the state Wetlands Protection Act (“Act”).

Appeals Court Reaffirms Conservation Commissions’ Dual Authority

Written by
/ Published Monday, 26 January 2015 13:02
The Appeals Court in Parkview Electronics Trust, LLC v. Conservation Commission of Winchester, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 833 (2016), recently rejected a challenge to the well-established principle that a conservation commission can have regulatory authority under a local wetlands bylaw or ordinance that is independent from, and in addition to, its authority under the state Wetlands Protection Act (“Act”). This is so as long as a commission relies on a provision of its local wetlands law that is more stringent than the Act and complies with the timeframes set forth in the Act. Otherwise a commission risks having its decisions…

Without Clearly Defined Performance Standards, A Local Wetlands Ordinance or Bylaw May Be Worthless

Written by
/ Published Monday, 09 December 2013 16:14
The Massachusetts Appeals Court’s decision in Tremont Redevelopment Corporation v. Conservation Commission of Westwood, 73 Mass. App. Ct. 1127 (2009), provides guidance for municipalities concerned about the limits of Home Rule for local wetland protection ordinances or bylaws.   The Court applied the Home Rule Doctrine in light of several prior decisions1 and ruled that the Westwood Conservation Commission’s disapproval of a project under its Wetlands Protection Bylaw was invalid.2  

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