Town of Harwich, MA
Barnstable County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Harwich 5-5-2009 by Art. 1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Wetlands protection — See Ch. 310.
Any water-dependent structure, such as a wharf, float, pier, dock, or similar structure, as hereinafter defined, constructed seaward of mean high water in any tidal waters of the Town after the effective date of this bylaw shall be subject to the provisions hereof and be in conformity herewith. Any water-dependent structure constructed within areas of Pleasant Bay where structures are allowed shall also be subject to the provisions of the Pleasant Bay Management Plan's Guidelines and Performance Standards for Docks and Piers.
For the purpose of this bylaw the following words shall have the following meanings:
DECK
The surface of a water-dependent structure designed as the walkway for persons using the same.
DEEP WATER CHANNEL
The area of a water body wherein the depth of water is three feet or more at mean low water.
FLOAT
A floating structure anchored in position by pilings, chain or otherwise which is designed to rise and fall with the tide and used in conjunction with a wharf, pier or dock to moor and give access to a vessel.
GANGWAY
A ramp or platform used to provide access between a float or vessel and a pier, dock or wharf.
MEAN HIGH WATER
The elevation in feet above National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) established by the present arithmetic mean of the water heights observed at high tide over a specific nineteen-year Metonic cycle (the National Tidal Datum Epoch) as shown on the New England Coastline Tidal Flood Survey - Tidal Flood Profile No. 9 Barnstable to Chatham, MA by the New England Division, Corps of Engineers. Where salt marsh occurs, the mean high tide will be that point where spartina alternaflora gives way to spartina patents. Walkways over salt marshes that extend beyond this intersection will be regulated under the provisions of this bylaw.
PILING
A column constructed from any material used to support the deck or other structural member of a wharf, pier or dock or to serve as a mooring spar or dolphin for vessels or floats.
WATER-DEPENDENT STRUCTURE
Any structure or combination of structures built adjacent to or at an angle from the shore and extending seaward beyond the mean high-water mark so that vessels may lie alongside to receive and discharge passengers or cargo or for use as a promenade and shall include structures commonly referred to as floats, docks, piers, or wharves.
No water-dependent structure shall hereafter be constructed without a permit to do so issued by the Harwich Conservation Commission (hereinafter "the Commission") and a permit approving structural components from the Building Department.
No permit shall be issued for construction of a new, private, water-dependent structure in the area of Round Cove of Pleasant Bay. This area includes all contiguous parcels beginning with the northerly boundary of the property (Map and Parcel Number 115-S1-3) and extending southerly along the shore to the southerly boundary of the property (Map and Parcel Number 109-B1-5), and all shore front parcels between these two properties, including Round Cove. This prohibition does not apply to existing, licensed structures or to the maintenance of existing, licensed structures.
A. 
No permit shall be issued to construct a water-dependent structure until a completed permit application has been received and approved.
B. 
An application for a permit to construct a water-dependent structure shall be submitted to the Conservation Commission and shall include the following:
(1) 
Fourteen copies of plans of the proposed work, which shall include all information required by the Conservation Commission under the regulations applicable to plans to be filed with a notice of intent under MGL c. 131, § 40, as amended and 310 CMR 9.0 (Chapter 91, Licensing).
(2) 
Two copies of the notice of intent filed for the project with the Conservation Commission under MGL c. 131, § 40, as amended.
(3) 
An application fee as set from time to time by the Board of Selectmen payable to the Town of Harwich in addition to filing fees required under MGL c. 131, § 40.
Upon receipt of the application, the Conservation Commission shall date stamp the application and plans and shall forward copies of the plans to the Waterways Commission, the Harbormaster, the Shellfish Warden and the Building Official who shall review the same and within 28 days of receipt thereof advise the Conservation Commission of any areas of noncompliance with this bylaw, standards for structural integrity, and other comments relative to its or his review. Such comments shall be included in the review of the application by the Commission.
The Conservation Commission shall hold a hearing within 21 days of receipt of the application; however, the Commission may request a continuation if it has not received comments by other reviewing entities. The provisions for a continuation under Chapter 310, Wetlands Protection, § 310-5F shall also apply. Upon review of all information the Commission shall then determine whether it can issue a permit authorizing the work in compliance with the conditions stated herein or issue a written denial stating in detail the reasons therefor.
No permit to construct a water-dependent structure shall be issued unless the following standards are complied with:
A. 
No structure or its related appurtenances, including floats, shall extend more than 80 feet seaward of the mean high-water mark nor farther than 50 feet into the deep water channel nor be allowed to encroach upon the deep water channel so as to reduce the usable width thereof to less than 50 feet, and no vessel shall be moored thereto so as to encroach upon the fifty-foot minimum, nor shall it extend so as to interfere with any designated vessel mooring areas or established shellfish beds. In areas of Pleasant Bay where structures are allowed, all water-dependent structures shall meet the recommended fifty-foot setback from navigational channels and mooring areas.
B. 
No new structure, or any vessel moored thereto, shall be allowed closer than 65 feet to an adjacent structure. In areas of Pleasant Bay where structures are allowed, the separation between structures shall be no less than 250 feet. Additionally, shared use proposals (i.e., a single structure to be jointly owned and used by two or more shore front property owners) are encouraged to preserve access by shore front property owners while reducing the number of structures that might otherwise be permitted.
C. 
Structures shall be constructed as closely as possible to the perpendicular from the shoreline, excepting shared docks located on a property line. In areas of Pleasant Bay where structures are allowed, all water-dependent structures shall be a minimum of 50 feet from property lines and associated riparian lines unless the structure will be owned and used by two or more contiguous shore front property owners. In such cases, the fifty-foot setback requirement shall apply to the outermost boundaries of the two or more contiguous properties so that the structure may be placed on a shared property line.
D. 
No structure (except floats) shall exceed four feet of walkway width.
E. 
No float or combinations thereof shall exceed 200 square feet of surface area nor shall any float be allowed landward of mean low water. Preferred float configuration shall be "T" shaped in order to encourage use of the float at its deepest end. No permanent "T" or "L" shaped docks or piers are allowed.
F. 
In order to protect the foreshore, all structures (except floats) shall be supported by pilings. Decks shall have a minimum 1/2 inch spacing between deck planks and shall be at an elevation equal to the width of the deck above mean high water or, in areas of marsh, above the marsh vegetation, whichever is higher. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in all areas where the foreshore is passable on foot, a flight of stairs on either side of the deck shall be provided to allow persons to lawfully use the foreshore. A directional sign in compliance with the Zoning Bylaw, Chapter 325, Article VII, shall be placed indicating permission to cross the structure.
G. 
Any structure proposed for siting in a salt marsh, or in a body of water adjacent to a salt marsh, shall not destroy any portion of the salt marsh or its substratum, nor have any adverse impact on the productivity of the salt marsh. Additionally, the structure should be oriented to minimize the effect of vessels using the structure on the adjacent salt marsh and in its substratum.
H. 
No structure shall be located within 50 feet of an existing eelgrass bed or within a shellfish area defined by the Town bylaws or Town Shellfish Warden. The presence or absence of shellfish at a proposed site must be determined by a shellfish survey submitted by the applicant. The survey shall include existing populations of all sizes of commercially important species of shellfish (clams, quahogs, scallops, and mussels) and shall also include other species of mollusks which may indicate the capacity of the area to support commercially important species. The survey shall also include a description of shell fragments, if feasible, and references, if available, to historical information regarding the presence or absence of shellfish species. Within the Pleasant Bay ACEC, relocation of shellfish encountered during construction of a project is not acceptable mitigation (except when the project is part of a Town- or state-sponsored shellfish relay program, and then only if it can be clearly shown that the productivity of that shellfish bed would not be diminished by its relocation).
I. 
Any structure proposed for siting within a fish run or within 100 feet of a fish run shall not have any adverse impact on the fish run by impeding or obstructing the migration of fish or by impairing the capacity of spawning or nursery habitats necessary to sustain the life stages of the fish. Construction or maintenance of structures shall not occur between March 15 and June 15 without specific written permission from the Division of Marine Fisheries.
J. 
In order to provide the underlying seabed full exposure to sunlight during six months of the year, all proposed structures shall be seasonal, with seven months' maximum use. Off-season storage plans shall be submitted for review and approval by the Conservation Commission.
The Commission shall deny a permit in any case where a proposed structure or combination of structures, otherwise complying herewith, would not extend to a point where at mean low water a water depth of at least 2 1/2 feet is maintained; no vessel shall be aground at mean low water.