[HISTORY: Adopted by the Special Town Meeting 11-14-2006 by Art. 22. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Land uses in Town affect our streams, lakes and water supplies. Careful planning of new development and redevelopment will protect the quality and health of these important water resources. Therefore, the Town of Westminster enacts this Low-Impact Development (LID) Bylaw to provide guidance that will prevent harmful impacts from land development activities.
The purpose of this bylaw is to protect, maintain and enhance the public health, safety, environment and general welfare by establishing requirements and procedures to manage stormwater runoff, promote groundwater recharge and to prevent water pollution from new development and redevelopment. This bylaw seeks to meet that purpose through the following objectives:
Establish regulations for land development activities that preserve the health of water resources;
Require that the amount and quality of stormwater from new development is equal to or better than predevelopment conditions in order to reduce flooding, stream erosion, pollution, property damage and harm to aquatic life;
Establish LID management standards and design criteria to control the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff;
Encourage the use of "low-impact development practices," such as reducing impervious cover and preserving greenspace and other natural areas;
Establish maintenance provisions to ensure that stormwater treatment practices will continue to function as designed and pose no threat to public safety;
Establish procedures for the Town's review of low-impact development plans and for the Town's inspection of approved stormwater treatment practices.
Nothing in this bylaw is intended to replace the requirements of either the Town of Westminster General Wetlands Protection Bylaw, or any other bylaw that may be adopted by the Town of Westminster. Any activity subject to the provisions of the above-cited bylaws must comply with the specifications of each.
This bylaw is adopted under authority granted by the Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution, and pursuant to the regulations of the federal Clean Water Act, and as authorized by the residents of the Town of Westminster at Town Meeting, dated November 14, 2006.
This bylaw shall be applicable to all new development and redevelopment, including site plan applications and subdivision applications. The bylaw shall apply to any activities that will result in an increased amount of stormwater runoff or pollutants from a parcel of land, or that will alter the drainage characteristics of a parcel of land, unless exempt under § 136-4B of this bylaw. All new development and redevelopment, under the jurisdiction of this bylaw, shall be required to obtain a LID Permit. The LID permit process shall be coordinated with existing permitting, where applicable.
An alteration, redevelopment, or conversion of land use or activities to those with higher potential pollutant loadings, such as auto salvage yards, auto fueling facilities, fleet storage yards, commercial parking lots, road salt storage areas, commercial nurseries and landscaping, outdoor storage and loading areas of hazardous substances, or marinas, shall require a LID permit.
Redevelopment projects are presumed to meet the specified LID requirements described in this bylaw if the total impervious cover is reduced by 40% from existing conditions.
Exemptions. No person shall alter land within the Town of Westminster without having obtained a LID permit for the property, with the following exceptions:
Any activity that will disturb an area less than 10,000 square feet or less than 25% of a contiguous property, whichever is less;
Normal maintenance and improvement of land in agricultural use as defined by the Wetlands Protection Act, 310 CMR 10.04, and MGL c. 131, § 40.
Conversion of land to agricultural use for crops and/or pasture;
Timber harvesting conducted under the terms of an approved forest cutting plan as defined by the Forest Cutting Practices Act regulation, 304 CMR 11.00, and MGL c. 132, §§ 40 through 46;
Maintenance of existing landscaping, gardens or lawn areas associated with a single-family dwelling;
Construction of a single-family dwelling, where approval is not required, as defined under the Subdivision Control Law. Prior to land-disturbing activities, persons constructing a single-family dwelling are strongly encouraged to consult with the Town Building Inspector and/or Director of Public Works about actions to reduce stormwater impacts during and after construction. Persons constructing single-family dwellings are strongly encouraged to use stormwater control and site planning methods described in the Town of Westminster Best Development Practices Guidebook;
Repair or replacement of an existing septic system;
Repair or replacement of an existing roof of a single-family dwelling;
The construction of any fence that will not alter existing terrain or drainage patterns;
Construction of a deck, patio, retaining wall, driveway expansion, shed, swimming pool, tennis or basketball court associated with a single-family dwelling;
Construction of utilities (gas, water, electric, telephone, etc.) other than drainage, which will not alter terrain, ground cover, or drainage patterns;
Emergency repairs to any stormwater management facility or practice that poses a threat to public health or safety, or as deemed necessary by the LID Authority;
Any work or projects for which all necessary approvals and permits have been issued before the effective date of this bylaw;
The definitions are in Appendix A of this bylaw and shall apply in the interpretation and implementation of the bylaw. Terms not defined in this Appendix shall be understood according to their customary and usual meaning. Additional definitions may be adopted by separate regulation.
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included at the end of this chapter.
The Planning Board is hereby designated as the LID Authority. The Planning Board shall administer, implement and enforce this bylaw. Any powers granted or duties imposed upon the Planning Board may be delegated in writing by the Planning Board to its employees or agents.
LID regulations. The Planning Board may adopt, and periodically amend, rules and regulations relating to the terms, conditions, definitions, enforcement, fees (including application, inspection, and/or consultant fees), procedures and administration of this LID Bylaw by majority vote of the Planning Board, after conducting a public hearing to receive comments on any proposed revisions. Such hearing dates shall be advertised in a newspaper of general local circulation, at least 14 days prior to the hearing date. After public notice and public hearing, the Planning Board may issue rules and regulations to fulfill the purposes of this bylaw. Failure by the Planning Board to issue such rules and regulations or a legal declaration of their invalidity by a court shall not suspend or invalidate the effect of this bylaw.
The Planning Board may, with the concurrence of the applicant, designate another Town Board, including the Conservation Commission and Board of Health, as its authorized agent for the purposes of reviewing all LID submittals and approving LID permits for any project within that particular Board's jurisdiction.
Stormwater management handbooks. The Planning Board will use the policy, criteria and information, including specifications and standards, of the latest edition of the Massachusetts Stormwater Management Policy to execute the provisions of this bylaw. This policy includes a list of acceptable stormwater treatment practices, including specific design criteria for each. The policy may be updated and expanded periodically, based on improvements in engineering, science, monitoring, and local maintenance experience. Unless specifically altered in the LID regulations, 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 water quality standards.
Actions by the Planning Board. The Planning Board may take any of the following actions as a result of an application for a LID permit: approval, approval with conditions, disapproval, or disapproval without prejudice.
Appeals of action by the Planning Board. A decision of the Planning Board shall be final. Further relief of a decision by the Planning Board made under this bylaw shall be reviewable in the Superior Court in an action filed within 60 days thereof, in accordance with MGL c. 249, § 4.
LID credit system. The Planning Board may adopt a LID credit system through the regulations authorized by this LID Bylaw. This credit system will allow applicants the option, if approved by the Planning Board, to take credit for the use of stormwater better site design practices to reduce some of the requirements specified in the criteria section of the regulations. Failure by the Planning Board to issue such a credit system through its regulations or a legal declaration of its invalidity by a court shall not act to suspend or invalidate the effect of this bylaw.
Permit procedures and requirements shall be defined and included as part of any rules and regulations issued as permitted under § 136-6 of this bylaw.
The Planning Board or an authorized agent of the Planning Board shall enforce this bylaw, regulations, orders, violation notices, and enforcement orders, and may pursue all civil and criminal remedies for such violations. Enforcement shall be further defined and included as part of any LID regulations issued as permitted under § 136-6 of this bylaw.
The invalidity of any section, provision, paragraph, sentence, or clause of this bylaw shall not invalidate any section, provision, paragraph, sentence, or clause thereof, nor shall it invalidate any permit or determination that previously has been issued.