Town of Ashland, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Ashland 5-2-2007 Annual Town Meeting, Art. 22. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Soil removal — See Ch. 242.
Wetlands protection — See Ch. 280.
Zoning — See Ch. 282.

§ 247-1 Purpose.

Regulation of activities that result in the disturbance of land and the creation of stormwater runoff is necessary for the protection of the Town of Ashland to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the general public and protect the natural resources of the Town. The purpose of this bylaw is to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase II program by preventing or diminishing stormwater impacts by controlling runoff and preventing soil erosion and sedimentation resulting from site construction, development and other circumstances, and eliminating non-stormwater discharges into the Town's municipal storm sewer system.

§ 247-2 Statutory authority.

This bylaw is adopted under authority granted by the Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution, the Home Rule statutes, and pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act found at 40 CFR 122.34.

§ 247-3 Effect on other bylaws.

Nothing in this bylaw is intended to replace the requirements of either the Town of Ashland Wetlands Bylaw, or any other bylaw that has been or may be adopted by the Town of Ashland. Any activity subject to the provisions of the above-cited bylaws must comply with the specifications of each applicable bylaw.

§ 247-4 Objectives.

The objectives of this bylaw are to:
A. 
Establish decision making processes surrounding land development activities that protect the integrity of the watershed and preserve the health of wetland and water resources;
B. 
Require that new development, redevelopment and all land conversion activities maintain the after-development runoff characteristics as equal to or less than the predevelopment runoff characteristics to provide recharge and to reduce flooding, stream bank erosion, siltation, nonpoint source pollution, property damage, and to maintain the integrity of stream channels and aquatic habitats;
C. 
Establish minimum construction/alteration and post-development stormwater management standards and design criteria for the regulation and control of stormwater runoff quantity and quality and for the protection of properties and aquatic resources downstream from land development and land conversion activities from damages due to increases in volume, velocity, frequency, duration, and peak flow rate of stormwater runoff;
D. 
Establish design criteria for measures to minimize nonpoint source pollution from stormwater runoff which would otherwise degrade water quality;
E. 
Establish design and application criteria for the construction and use of structural stormwater control facilities that can be used to meet the minimum construction/alteration and post-development stormwater management standards and to encourage the use of nonstructural stormwater management, stormwater site design practices or low-impact development practices, such as reducing impervious cover and the preservation of open space and other natural areas, to the maximum extent practicable;
F. 
Establish provisions for the long-term responsibility for and maintenance of structural stormwater control facilities and nonstructural stormwater management practices to ensure that they continue to function as designed, are maintained, and pose no threat to public safety;
G. 
Establish provisions to ensure there is an adequate funding mechanism, including surety, for the proper review, inspection and long-term maintenance of stormwater facilities implemented as part of this bylaw; and
H. 
Establish administrative procedures and fees for the submission, review, approval, or disapproval of stormwater management plans, and for the inspection of approved active projects, and long-term follow up.

§ 247-5 Definitions.

As used in this bylaw, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AGRICULTURE
The normal maintenance or improvement of land in agricultural or aquacultural use, as defined by the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (MGL c. 131, § 40) and its implementing regulations (310 CMR 10.00).
ALTER
Any activity that changes the water quality, or the force, quantity, direction, timing or location of runoff flowing from the area and will measurably change the ability of a ground surface area to absorb water. Such changes include: change from distributed runoff to confined, discrete discharge; change in the volume of runoff from the area; change in the peak rate of runoff from the area; and change in the recharge to groundwater on the area. "Alter" may be similarly represented as "alteration of drainage characteristics," and "conducting land disturbance activities."
APPLICANT
Any person, as defined below, requesting a stormwater management permit for proposed land-disturbance activity.
AUTHORIZED ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
The Conservation Commission (hereinafter "the Commission") and its employees or agents or other employee of the Town of Ashland shall be in charge of enforcing the requirements of this bylaw.
BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE (BMP)
Structural, nonstructural, vegetative and managerial techniques that are recognized to be the most effective and practical means to reduce erosion and sediment, prevent or reduce increases in stormwater volumes and flows, reduce point source and nonpoint source pollution, and promote stormwater quality and protection of the environment. Structural BMPs are devices that are engineered and constructed to provide temporary storage and treatment of stormwater runoff. Nonstructural BMPs use natural measures to reduce pollution levels, do not require extensive construction efforts, and/or promote pollutant reduction by eliminating the pollutant source.
BETTER SITE DESIGN
Site design approaches and techniques that can reduce a site's impact on the watershed through the use of nonstructural stormwater management practices. "Better site design" includes conserving and protecting natural areas and green space, reducing impervious cover, and using natural features for stormwater management.
CONSTRUCTION AND WASTE MATERIALS
Excess or discarded building or construction site materials that may adversely impact water quality, including but not limited to concrete truck washout, chemicals, litter and sanitary waste.
DISTURBED AREA
An area, man-made or natural, where the existing condition has been or is proposed to be altered.
ENVIRONMENTAL SITE MONITOR
A professional engineer, or other trained professional selected by the Commission and retained by the holder of a stormwater management permit to periodically inspect the work and report to the Commission.
EROSION
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 natural means.
HOTSPOT
Land uses or activities with higher potential pollutant loadings, such as, but not limited to, auto salvage yards, auto fueling facilities, fleet storage yards, commercial parking lots with high-intensity use, road salt storage areas, commercial nurseries and landscaping, outdoor storage and loading areas of hazardous substances, or marinas.
ILLICIT DISCHARGES
Any discharge to a stormwater structure, stream, lake, pond, vernal pool, body of water or wetland that is or has not been permitted, waived or exempted by the Town (state and/or federal regulations).
ISOLATED DEPRESSION SUBJECT TO FLOODING
An isolated depression or closed basin which serves as a ponding area for runoff or high groundwater which has risen above the ground surface. The basin must confine standing water at least once per year for a two-month period in nondrought conditions to an average depth of six inches and occupy a minimum surface area of 5,000 square feet.
MASSACHUSETTS STORMWATER MANAGEMENT POLICY
The policy issued by the Department of Environmental Protection, and as amended, that coordinates the requirements prescribed by state regulations promulgated under the authority of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, MGL c. 131, § 40, and Massachusetts Clean Waters Act, MGL c. 21, § 23-56. The policy addresses stormwater impacts through implementation of performance standards to reduce or prevent pollutants from reaching water bodies and control the quantity of runoff from a site.
NEW DEVELOPMENT
Any construction or land disturbance of a parcel of land that is currently in a natural vegetated state.
PERSON
Any individual, group of individuals, association, partnership, corporation, company, business organization, trust, estate, the commonwealth or political subdivision thereof to the extent subject to Town bylaws, administrative agency, public or quasi-public corporation or body, the Town of Ashland, and any other legal entity, its legal representatives, agents, or assigns.
PHASED DEVELOPMENT
The method of segmenting and dividing the disturbance, construction or development of a site into smaller areas and/or timeframe (to reduce possible impacts to the site and resource).
POST-DEVELOPMENT
The conditions that reasonably may be expected or anticipated to exist after completion of the land development activity on a specific site or tract of land. "Post-development" refers to the phase of a new development or redevelopment project after completion, and does not refer to the construction phase of a project.
PREDEVELOPMENT
The conditions that exist at the time that plans for the land development of a tract of land are submitted to the Conservation Commission. Where phased development or plan approval occurs (preliminary grading, roads and utilities, etc.), the existing conditions at the time prior to the first plan submission shall establish predevelopment conditions.
QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL
A civil engineer registered in Massachusetts, a registered land surveyor, a Massachusetts licensed soil evaluator, a certified professional in erosion and sediment control, a certified professional in stormwater quality, or other person who can satisfactorily demonstrate to the issuing authority proficiency in the field of stormwater management as appropriate to the scope of the project.
RECHARGE
The replenishment of underground water reserves.
REDEVELOPMENT
Any construction, alteration, or improvement exceeding land disturbance of 5,000 square feet, where the existing land use is commercial, industrial, institutional, or multifamily residential.
RUNOFF
Rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation water flowing over the ground surface.
SEDIMENT
Solid material, whether mineral or organic, that is in suspension, is transported or has been moved from its site of origin by erosion.
SEDIMENTATION
A process of depositing material that has been suspended and transported in water.
SLOPE
The vertical rise divided by the horizontal distance and expressed as a fraction or percentage.
STABILIZED
The elimination of any erosion or erosion potential.
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK
Stormwater Management Handbook, Volume One and Volume Two, prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, dated March 1997, as the same may be from time to time revised.
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PERMIT (SMP)
A permit issued for an application that meets a set of predetermined standards which is designed to protect the environment of the Town from the deleterious effects of uncontrolled and untreated stormwater runoff outlined in the regulations to be adopted by the Commission under this bylaw. By meeting these predetermined standards, after review of an application, plans, calculations, and other supporting documents, the proposed project will be presumed to meet the requirements and intent of this bylaw.
VERNAL POOL
A confined basin or depression not occurring in existing lawns, gardens, landscaped areas or driveways which, at least in most years, holds water for a minimum of two continuous months during the spring and/or summer, contains at least 200 cubic feet of water at some time during most years, is free of adult fish populations, and provides essential breeding and rearing habitat functions for amphibian, reptile or other vernal pool community species, regardless of whether the site has been certified by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

§ 247-6 Applicability.

This bylaw shall be applicable to all new development and redevelopment, including, but not limited to, site plan applications, subdivision applications, grading applications, land use conversion applications, any activity that will result in an increased amount of stormwater runoff or pollutants flowing from a parcel of land, or any activity that will alter the drainage characteristics of a parcel of land, unless exempt pursuant to § 247-7 of this bylaw. After approval of this bylaw by the Attorney General, the Commission shall not approve any application for development or redevelopment if the land or parcels of land were held in common ownership (including ownership by related or jointly controlled persons or entities) and were subdivided or otherwise modified to avoid compliance. A development shall not be segmented or phased in a manner to avoid compliance with this bylaw. A stormwater management permit shall be required from the Commission for the following:
A. 
Any activity subject to site plan review (Ashland Town Code § 282-6);
B. 
Any activity that will result in the alteration and/or soil disturbance of 10,000 square feet or more, or increase the amount of impervious surfaces to more than 50% of the parcel or lot;
C. 
Any redevelopment of a commercial, industrial, institutional, or multifamily residential parcel as defined by Ashland Town Code § 282-99;
D. 
Any activity that will disturb land with a slope of 15% or greater and where the land disturbance is greater than or equal to 5,000 square feet within the sloped area; and
E. 
Any activity that will alter, fill or degrade a wetland, body of water, floodplain or isolated depression subject to flooding.

§ 247-7 Exemptions.

The following activities are exempt from the requirements of this bylaw:
A. 
Normal maintenance of Town-owned public land, ways and appurtenances, such as, but not limited to, the maintenance of drainage structures or utilities within or associated with public ways;
B. 
Normal maintenance and improvement of land in agricultural use as defined by the Wetlands Protection Act regulation 310 CMR 10.04 and MGL c. 40A, § 3;
C. 
Repair or replacement of septic systems when approved by the Board of Health for the protection of public health;
D. 
Normal maintenance of existing landscaping, gardens or lawn areas associated with a residential dwelling, provided such maintenance does not include the addition of more than 100 cubic yards of soil material, or alteration of drainage patterns;
E. 
The construction of fencing that will not alter existing terrain or drainage patterns;
F. 
The removal of earth products undertaken in connection with an agricultural use if the removal is necessary for or directly related to planting, cultivating or harvesting or the raising or care of animals; or
G. 
Activity in accordance with the terms of an existing order of conditions or determination of applicability issued by the Commission pursuant to the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, MGL c. 131, § 40, or the Ashland Wetlands Protection Bylaw, Chapter 280 of the Code of the Town of Ashland.

§ 247-8 Administration.

A. 
The Conservation Commission shall be the permit granting authority for the issuance of a stormwater management permit and shall administer, implement and enforce this bylaw. Any powers granted to or duties imposed upon the Commission may be delegated in writing by the Commission to its employees or agents or other municipal employees as appropriate. Such permit applications shall be submitted, considered, and issued only in accordance with the provisions of this bylaw and the regulations adopted pursuant to this bylaw.
B. 
Stormwater regulations. After public notice and a public hearing, the Commission shall adopt, and periodically amend, rules and regulations relating to the terms, conditions, definitions, enforcement, fees, procedures and administration of this Stormwater Management Bylaw. These rules and regulations shall be promulgated by a committee established by the Commission. This committee shall be composed of at least three but not more than 11 members. At least one member shall be from each of the Conservation Commission, Planning Board and Ashland Department of Public Works, or their designees. Other committee members may be drawn from other Town committees and boards or from interested Town citizens. The rules and regulations shall include procedures to conduct hearings, issue, deny, revoke and/or modify permits and to appeal, and shall also provide guidance generally to persons seeking to conduct a regulated activity. Such rules and regulations may also provide, as the Commission deems necessary, additional definitions and procedures not inconsistent with the bylaw and a schedule of fees to be charged. Failure by the Commission to promulgate such rules and regulations or a legal declaration of their invalidity by a court shall not act to suspend or invalidate the effect of this bylaw.
C. 
Right of entry. Filing an application for a stormwater management permit grants the Commission or its agent permission to enter the site to verify the information in the application and to inspect for compliance with permit conditions.
D. 
Stormwater Management Manual. The Commission will utilize the policy, criteria and information, including specifications and standards, of the latest edition of the Massachusetts Stormwater Management Policy, for execution of the provisions of this bylaw. This policy includes a list of acceptable best management practices and stormwater treatment practices, including the specific design criteria for each stormwater practice. The policy may be updated and expanded periodically, based on improvements in engineering, science, monitoring, and local maintenance experience. Stormwater management practices that are designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with these design and sizing criteria will be presumed to be protective of Massachusetts's water quality standards unless engineering and performance information provided or obtained from credible and independent sources (as deemed by the Commission) refutes, modifies or supplements information from the Massachusetts Stormwater Management Policy.
E. 
Application. To obtain approval for a project subject to the provisions of this bylaw, the applicant shall submit a stormwater management plan and an operation and maintenance plan prepared, stamped and signed by a civil engineer registered in Massachusetts, a registered land surveyor, a Massachusetts licensed soil evaluator, a certified professional in erosion and sediment control, a certified professional in stormwater quality, or other person who can satisfactorily demonstrate to the issuing authority proficiency in the field of stormwater management as appropriate to the scope of the project, that complies with the requirements set forth herein and in the regulations adopted pursuant to this bylaw. The operation and maintenance plan (O&M plan) shall be designed to ensure compliance with the permit and this bylaw, and that the Massachusetts Surface Water Quality Standards, 314 CMR 4.00 are met in all seasons and throughout the life of the system. The O&M plan shall remain on file with the Commission, the Planning Board, the Department of Public Works and the Town Engineer or the Town's engineering consultant, and shall be an ongoing requirement. The O&M plan shall meet the criteria set forth in the regulations adopted pursuant to this bylaw. The plans shall fully describe the project in drawings, narrative, and calculations.

§ 247-9 Fees.

The Commission shall establish fees to cover expenses incurred by the Town in reviewing the application and monitoring permit compliance. The Commission is authorized to retain and charge the applicant fees to cover the cost of hiring a civil engineer or other professional consultant to advise the Commission on any or all aspects of the project. The applicant for a stormwater management permit may be required to establish and maintain an escrow account to cover the costs of said consultants. Applicants shall pay review fees to the Commission before the review process may begin.

§ 247-10 Surety.

The Commission may require a cash performance guarantee to ensure compliance with these requirements and for the long-term operation and maintenance of all permanent erosion control and stormwater management measures, as determined in the rules and regulations. The form of the bond shall be approved by the Commission upon the recommendation of Town Counsel and the Town Treasurer, as appropriate. With the approval of the Commission upon the recommendation of Town Counsel and the Town Treasurer, as appropriate, the applicant may substitute an irrevocable letter of credit or performance bond in lieu of the cash performance guarantee. Any performance bond or letter of credit shall be executed and maintained by a financial institution, surety, or guarantee company qualified to do business in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

§ 247-11 Waivers.

A. 
The Commission may waive strict compliance with some of the requirements of this bylaw or the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder, if it determines that some of the application requirements are unwarranted because of the size or character of the development project or because of the natural conditions at the site and where such action:
(1) 
Is allowed by federal, state and local statutes and/or regulations;
(2) 
Is in the overriding public interest; and
(3) 
Is not inconsistent with the purpose and intent of this bylaw.
B. 
Any request from an applicant for a waiver of these rules shall be submitted, in writing, to the Commission at the time of submission of the application. Such requests shall clearly identify the provision/s of the rule from which relief is sought and be accompanied by a statement setting forth the reasons why, in the applicant's opinion, the granting of such a waiver would be in the overriding public interest or the specific information required to show strict compliance is irrelevant to the project, and why a waiver would be consistent with the intent and purpose of this bylaw and the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder.

§ 247-12 Findings and conditions of approval.

A. 
The Commission shall not approve any application for a stormwater management permit unless it finds BMPs and other criteria will be employed to meet the requirements outlined in the rules and regulations.
B. 
Compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations and guidelines, including but not limited to the Stormwater Management Handbook as it may be amended, has been demonstrated.
C. 
Based upon the nature of the application, the Commission may impose reasonable requirements or limitations to minimize the impacts, if any, on abutting properties or uses.
D. 
On redevelopment applications, the Commission may not require strict adherence to the performance standards or requirements based on the conditions, degree or size of the project.
E. 
Prior to commencement of any land-disturbing activity, the applicant shall record the permit with the Registry of Deeds or Registry District of the Land Court, and shall submit to the Commission written proof of such recording.
F. 
At completion of the project, the owner shall request in writing a notice of completion and submit as-built record drawings of all stormwater controls, treatment, best management practices and associated grading required for the site. The as-built drawing shall show deviations from the approved plans, if any, and shall be certified by a qualified professional registered in Massachusetts of equal or greater qualifications to the qualified professional submitting the original certified plans approved by the Commission.

§ 247-13 Actions by the Commission.

A. 
The Commission shall act on each complete application for a permit within 90 days of the date of filing with the Commission and the Town Clerk, unless such application has been withdrawn from consideration or deemed incomplete. An application is deemed complete if all relevant sections of the application are properly filled out; all relevant plans and information are provided; application fees are paid; and there are no outstanding tax or fee liabilties to the Town of Ashland for the parcel(s) related to the permit application.
B. 
The Commission may take any of the following actions as a result of an application for a stormwater management permit as more specifically defined as part of stormwater regulations promulgated as a result of this bylaw: approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval.
C. 
A stormwater management permit may be disapproved if the Commission determines:
(1) 
The requirements of this bylaw are not met; or
(2) 
Insufficient information was provided to the Commission; or
(3) 
Inadequate response by the applicant to the Commission's request for information; or
(4) 
The intent of the application is to circumvent other provisions of the Town's Zoning Code and regulations.
D. 
Appeals of action by the Commission. A decision of the Commission shall be final. The appeal of a decision by the Commission under this bylaw shall be filed with the Massachusetts Land Court or Massachusetts Superior Court.

§ 247-14 Enforcement; violations and penalties.

The Commission or its authorized agent and the Town of Ashland shall have the power and duty to enforce this bylaw, its regulations, orders, violation notices, and enforcement orders, and may pursue all civil and criminal remedies for such violations.
A. 
Penalties. Any person who violates any provision of this bylaw, regulation, or permit issued hereunder, shall be subject to fines, civil action, criminal prosecution, and liens, as appropriate and as lawfully established by the Town of Ashland.
B. 
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, or regulations, permits or administrative orders issued thereunder shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300. Each day or portion thereof during which a violation continues, or unauthorized fill or alteration remains in place, shall constitute a separate offense, and each provision of the bylaw, regulations and permits or administrative orders violated shall constitute a separate offense.
C. 
Liens. The Town of Ashland shall require reimbursement to the town for the cost of work undertaken by the town that the responsible party was obligated to perform but failed to perform as set forth in the Operation and Maintenance Plan. If reimbursement is not made within (30) days of written notice from the town to the responsible party, the Town may impose an assessment and municipal lien on the property of the responsible party or parties and interest shall begin to accrue on any unpaid costs at the statutory rate provided in G.L. Ch. 59, Section 57.
D. 
Noncriminal disposition. As an alternative to criminal prosecution or civil action, the Town may utilize the noncriminal disposition procedure set forth in MGL c. 40, § 21D, in which case the Conservation Agent or other authorized agent of the Town shall be the enforcing person. If noncriminal disposition is used, any person who violates any provision of this bylaw, regulation, order or permit issued there under, shall be punished by a fine of $300 per violation. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense.

§ 247-15 Severability.

Any determination that a particular provision or set of provisions in this bylaw are invalid or unenforceable shall not render ineffective, unenforceable, or inapplicable the remainder of this bylaw.