[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fitchburg 6-1-1999 by Ord. No. 215-99. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Erosion and sedimentation is a significant environmental concern in Fitchburg because of the City's unique physical characteristics, including the City's hilly topography and the predominance of shallow and exposed bedrock. Inadequate stormwater management systems can result in property damage, flooding, the contamination of drinking water supplies, the loss of recreational opportunities, adverse impacts on fisheries and wildlife, the loss of wetlands, costly maintenance of the City's stormwater sewer system, and the loss of valuable agricultural soils. The purpose of this chapter is to prevent or diminish these impacts by controlling runoff and preventing soil erosion and sedimentation resulting from site construction and development.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE or BMP
- A structural, nonstructural, or vegetative measure which reduces erosion, sediment, peak storm discharge, and/or improves the quality of stormwater runoff as described in Stormwater Management or in a publication substantially equivalent.
- Any construction or grading activities other than for agricultural and silvicultural purposes.
- DISTURBED AREA
- An area where the natural vegetation has been removed, or is proposed to be removed, in connection with a development resulting in exposing the underlying soil or covering up of vegetation.
- A condition in which the earth's surface, including soil or rock fragment, is detached and moved away by the action of water, wind, ice, gravity or other means.
- PROJECT AREA
- The area within the boundaries of a development and shall include the area within any proposed subdivision or as depicted on a site plan.
- Solid material, whether mineral or organic, that is in suspension, is transported or has been moved from its site of origin by erosion.
- The reduction in the soil erosion rate which results in an erosion rate typical of undisturbed soils. Soils which are disturbed will be considered stabilized when covered with a healthy, mature growth of grass. As a temporary measure only, disturbed soils will be considered stabilized if covered with a sufficient covering of hay or straw mulch, applied in an amount of at least two tons per acre, sufficient to prevent erosion on an interim basis.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
- As a text, shall mean the handbook, Volume One and Volume Two, prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management dated March 1977 as the same may be from time to time revised.
- STORMWATER RUNOFF
- Water from precipitation which is not absorbed, evaporated or otherwise stored within the contributing drainage area.
- The land area which drains into the City's reservoirs. The watershed areas are depicted and identified on the Geographic Information System of the City of Fitchburg.
The provisions of this chapter and the requirement for submission of a stormwater management and erosion control plan to the Conservation Commission shall apply to any person proposing a development, or subdivision, if any one or more of the following criteria are met:
To prevent duplicative permitting requirements, a person otherwise required to file a stormwater management and erosion control plan with the Conservation Commission shall be exempt from this requirement if such a plan has been filed with, and approved by, the Fitchburg City Council, the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals.
An environmental impact statement required under federal law, or an environmental impact report required by state law, may be substituted for the stormwater management and erosion and sedimentation control plan required by this chapter, if, in the opinion of the Conservation Commission, the report adequately and reasonably addresses the purposes, concerns and intent of this chapter.
The exemptions applicable to agricultural or forestry operations, contained in the Wetlands Protection Act, MGL c. 131, § 40, shall apply to this chapter.
The reconstruction or resurfacng of any public way shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
No person shall start any project subject to the provisions of this chapter without first obtaining the approval of the Conservation Commission.
In order to obtain approval for project subject to the provisions of this chapter, the applicant must submit a site plan which shows the following information:
A locus map showing the parcel in relation to the surrounding properties.
A North arrow, scale and date.
The property lines.
Easements and/or legal rights of other persons within the property lines.
All structures, utilities, roads and other paved areas.
Topographic contours at two foot intervals.
Critical area boundaries at the site.
Surface water and wetlands, drainage patterns and watershed boundaries.
Existing vegetation at the site.
The location, identification, narrative description with detailed drawings and design calculations of all temporary and permanent stormwater management and erosion and sediment control best management practices.
The project's phases as relate to soil disturbance.
The name, address and the beeper or cell phone number, if applicable, of the best management practices manager and a proposed schedule for the inspection and maintenance of all best management practices.
A narrative section which includes a discussion of each measure, its purpose, its construction sequence and installation timing as they apply to the site and the project proposed.
The extent of one-hundred-year floodplain boundaries if identified on the Federal Emergency Management Agency floodplain maps.
Soils information for design purposes from the Soil Survey of Worcester County Massachusetts, Northeastern Part, prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service.
A depiction or description of areas of soil disturbance.
A depiction or description of areas of cut and fill.
Tabulated sequence of construction.
The construction schedule.
The earth movement schedule.
The Conservation Commission may waive all, or some, of the requirements for a stormwater management and erosion control application if it determines that some, or all, of the application requirements are unnecessary because of the size or character of the development project or because of the natural conditions at the site.
The applicant shall make all requests for waivers in writing. The applicant must submit supporting technical information and documentation to demonstrate that, because of minimal environmental impact, some, or all, of the requirements are unnecessary. The Commission's decision to grant or deny waiver shall be in writing and shall set forth the reasons for the grant or denial.
The following standards shall be applied in planning for stormwater management and erosion control:
All measures in the plan shall meet, at a minimum, the Best Management Practices as set forth in the Stormwater Management handbook.
Whenever practical, natural vegetation shall been retained, protected and/or supplemented. The stripping of vegetation shall be done in a manner that minimizes soil erosion.
Temporary erosion and sediment control measures shall be installed before any soil disturbance.
The area of disturbance shall be kept to a minimum. Disturbed areas remaining idle for more than 30 days shall be stabilized.
Measures shall be taken to control erosion within the project area. Sediment in runoff water shall be trapped and retained within the project area using approved measures. Wetland areas and surface areas shall be protected from sediment.
Off-site surface water and runoff from undisturbed areas shall be diverted away from disturbed areas where feasible or carried through the project area without causing erosion. Integrity of downstream drainage systems shall be maintained.
Measures shall be taken to control the post-development peak rate of runoff so that it does not exceed predevelopment runoff for the two-year, ten-year and one-hundred-year twenty-four-hour storm event as specified in the design criteria of the Stormwater Management handbook.
Priority shall be given to preserving natural drainage systems, including perennial and intermittent streams, wetlands, soils and drainage ditches for conveyance of runoff entering and leaving the project area.
All temporary erosion and sedimentation control measures shall be removed after final site stabilization. Trapped sediment and other disturbed soil areas resulting from the removal of temporary measures shall be permanently stabilized within thirty days unless adverse weather conditions delay stabilization.
The applicant shall have the responsibility to install, construct, inspect and dispose of all stormwater management and erosion control measures required of this chapter.
The Conservation Commission may, in its discretion, require a bond or other security in an amount, and with sureties and conditions, satisfactory to the Commission, to assure the actual construction and installation of measures within the time specified by the Commission and expressed in the bond or other security document.
Site development shall not begin until the stormwater management and erosion control plan receives conditional approval. Best management practices shall be installed, as designed and scheduled, as a condition of final approval of the plan.
The Conservation Commission shall indicate approval of the stormwater management and erosion control plan, as filed, if it complies with requirements and objectives of this chapter. The approval shall be noted on the face of the plan. If disapproved, the Conservation Commission will give the applicant a list of the plan's deficiencies and will describe the substantive and procedural steps required to submit an alternative plan.
The Conservation Commission, if it determines such action to be appropriate, may submit the plan for technical review to United States Natural Resources Conservation Service or other qualified professional consultant at the expense of the applicant. The Commission may require such fees to be paid as a precondition to its review of the application.
The Conservation Commission shall adopt, and from time to time amend rules and regulations relative to the issuance of stormwater management and erosion control permits. Such rules shall prescribe substantive specifications consistent with this chapter and the procedures for the submission and approval of such permits.
The Commission's decision shall incorporate the approved application and the plan and shall describe the maintenance requirements for water quality measures required by stormwater management and erosion and sediment control plans. After final approval by the Conservation Commission, the decision shall be recorded in the appropriate registry deeds.
The Conservation Commission may require routine inspections to determine compliance with conditions of the permit and to ascertain if the owner is maintaining water quality protection measures. The Conservation Commission agent shall notify the landowner before such inspections and shall attempt to arrange for inspections at reasonable times for the landowner. The application for permit and acceptance of the permit shall be deemed to be a consent for such inspections.
If the landowner denies the Conservation Commission agent access to the property in order to inspect the site, the agent shall seek to obtain an administrative search warrant from the appropriate court.
The Conservation Commission may require a fee for routine inspections. It shall be the duty of the owner of the site to pay the fee. The Commission shall establish a fee schedule which will adequately and reasonably reflect the actual cost of performing inspections for various types of water quality measures and for compliance with the conditions of the permit.
The Conservation Commission and/or its agent shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this chapter. To this end, the Commission and its agent shall have the authority to seek the following remedies to enforce this chapter, its regulations and/or the terms and conditions of its permit:
Injunctive relief in a court of appropriate jurisdiction.
Criminal prosecution for violation of any provision of this chapter, the permit and/or regulations promulgated by the Conservation Commission. Any such violation shall be punished by a fine of $300 for each offense. Each day on which such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
Issuance of a cease and desist order if the Commission and/or its agent determines that conditions at the site are in violation of any of the requirements of this chapter, the Commission's regulations and/or the permit and that such violation is either an immediate threat to the environment, the public health or safety; or that the property owner has failed to take the corrective action(s) identified in a written notice of the violation issued under this chapter or has failed to take such corrective action within the time required in the notice of violation.
Noncriminal disposition. Whoever violates any provision of this chapter or a regulation promulgated by the Commission, a condition contained in a permit issued by the Commission, the conditions of notice of violation or the conditions on the cease and desist order may, in the discretion of the Commission or its agent, be subject to the noncriminal procedure established pursuant to the provisions of MGL c. 40, § 21D. The penalty for the first violation shall be $50. The penalty for the second violation shall be $100. Each day on which a violation occurs shall be considered a separate offense.
Correction of violations by the Conservation Commission or its agent. The provisions of this chapter impose duties upon persons subject to it and penalties for neglecting those duties. When the Commission or its agent determines that a person, subject to this chapter, has breached one or more of the duties imposed hereunder, the Commission or its agent can perform such duty or duties at the expense of the person having the duty. The expense cannot exceed the penalty imposed by the criminal enforcement sections of this chapter. Pursuant to the MGL c. 40, § 31, expense may be recovered in a contract action. The City hereby expressly declares these expenses to be municipal charges subject to the imposition of a municipal charges lien under the provisions of MGL c. 40, § 58. This lien shall take effect upon the recording of a list of the unpaid charges at the registry of deeds. If this fee or charge remains unpaid when the Assessors set the tax and warrant under MGL c. 59, § 53, this fee or charge shall be added to the tax even if the property is otherwise tax-exempt.
Written notice of violation.
The Conservation Commission or its Agent may issue a written notice of violation to any person whom it determined is in violation of any of the requirements of this chapter, the regulations enacted by the Commission or a permit and plan approved under this chapter. The notice of violation shall: