[HISTORY: Adopted by the Conservation Commission of the Town of Plainville, effective 1-27-2009. Amendments noted where applicable.]
These regulations of the Plainville Conservation Commission (the "Commission") are promulgated pursuant to the authority granted to it under § 472-14 of Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville and the Home Rule Amendment, Article LXXXIX(89), of the amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and shall have the force of law upon the effective date.
The purpose of these regulations is to aid in the consistent and effective implementation of the Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville. These regulations set uniform standards and procedures for activities and work conducted in wetland and buffer zone resource areas and for the filing and review of applications under Chapter 472.
Wetlands, wetland buffer zones, and floodplains contribute to a number of public values and are therefore protected by Chapter 472. These values include, but are not limited to, the following: public and/or private water supply, groundwater protection, flood control, storm damage prevention, water pollution prevention, fisheries, freshwater shellfish, and wildlife and wildlife habitat.
Jurisdiction. Except as permitted by the Commission or as provided by Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville and these regulations, no person shall remove, fill, dredge, alter, or build upon the following wetland resource areas: any vegetated fresh water wetland, marsh, swamp, wet meadow, bog; lands bordering on any creek, river, or stream (intermittent or perennial), lake or pond; any bank of any creek, river, or stream; any vernal pool; all lands within 100 feet of the aforementioned wetland resource area (buffer zone); any land subject to flooding or inundation, or within the one-hundred-year floodplain; any isolated land subject to flooding; and lands under any of the resource areas. Lands within 200 feet of perennial streams are regulated under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act. Activities outside the one-hundred-foot buffer zone to a wetland resource area are not subject to regulation unless they will alter that resource area.
Editor's Note: See MGL c. 131, §§ 40 and 40A.
The definitions in these regulations, in some cases, are stricter or expanded and shall take precedence in the event of conflict or inconsistency with the definitions in MGL c. 131, § 40, and regulations of 310 CMR 10. The following definitions apply to the interpretation of Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville and these regulations:
- Means the owner of land abutting the subject property including owners of land directly opposite on any public or private street or way including another municipality or across a body of water.
- Shall include, without limitation, the following activities when undertaken to, upon, within or affecting resource areas protected by Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville and these regulations:
- A. Removal, excavation, or dredging of soil, sand, gravel, or aggregate materials of any kind;
- B. Changing of preexisting drainage characteristics, flushing characteristics, salinity distribution, sedimentation patterns, flow patterns, or flood retention characteristics;
- C. Drainage or other disturbance of water level or water table;
- D. Dumping, discharging, or filling with any material which may degrade water quality;
- E. Placing of fill, or removal of material, which would alter elevation;
- F. Driving of piles, erection, or repair of buildings, or structures of any kind;
- G. Placing of obstructions or objects (including docks and piers) in water;
- H. Destruction of plant life including the cutting of trees;
- I. Changing water temperature, biochemical oxygen demand; or other physical, biological, or chemical characteristics of water;
- J. Any activities, changes, or work which may cause or tend to contribute to pollution of any body of water or groundwater;
- K. Incremental activities which have, or may have a cumulative adverse impact on the resource areas protected by Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville and these regulations;
- L. Application of pesticides or herbicides.
- When referring to a submittal to the Commission, means a notice of intent as required by 310 CMR 10.05(4).
- Includes the land area which normally abuts and confines a water body; the lower boundary being the mean annual low flow level, and the upper boundary being the first observable break in the slope or the mean annual flood level, whichever is higher.
- Are areas where standing or slowly running water is near or at the surface during a normal growing season and where a vegetational community has a significant portion of the ground or water surface covered with sphagnum moss (Sphagnum), and where the vegetational community is made up of a significant portion of one or more of, but not limited to nor necessarily including all of, the following plants or groups of plants: aster (Aster nemoralis), azaleas (Rhododendron canadense and R. viscosum), black spruce (Picea mariana), bog cotton (Eriophorum), cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), high-bush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), larch (Larix laricina), laurels (Kalmia angustifolia and K. polifolia), leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata), orchids (Arethusa, Calopogon, Pogonia), pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea), sedges (Cyperaceae), sundews (Droseraceae), sweet gale (Myrica gale), white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides).
- BORDERING VEGETATED WETLANDS
- Are freshwater wetlands which border on creeks, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. Bordering vegetated wetlands are areas where the soils are saturated and/or inundated such that they support a predominance (50% or greater) of wetland indicator plants. Wetlands and their boundaries shall be identified in the manner designated in the Massachusetts DEP Handbook "Delineating Bordering Vegetated Wetlands under Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act," March 1995, and future amendments, or other DEP guidance documents generally accepted by conservation commissions for purposes of bordering vegetated wetland delineation.
- BUFFER ZONE
- Means that area of land extending 100 feet horizontally outward from the boundary of the following resource areas: freshwater wetlands, marshes, wet meadows, bogs, swamps, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, creeks, banks, beaches, vernal pools, isolated wetlands, and lands under water bodies.
- Shall mean the removal of all or substantially all overstory trees within a prescribed area, such as within the footprint of a proposed structure or portion thereof.
- Means the same as a stream.
- Means to deepen, widen, or excavate, either temporarily or permanently.
- EXTENDED DROUGHT
- Shall be defined at 310 CMR 10.58(2), as it may be amended.
- FRESHWATER WETLANDS
- Are wet meadows, marshes, swamps and bogs.
- Means any open body of fresh water with a surface area of 10 acres or more, and shall include great ponds.
- LAND SUBJECT TO FLOODING OR INUNDATION
- Is as defined in 310 CMR 10.57(2) with the addition that it shall include vernal pools whether or not they are within another resource area, and with the difference that isolated land subject to flooding may contain a minimum of 1/8 acre-foot. A vernal pool may be any size.
- Are areas where a plant community exists in standing or running water during the growing season and where a significant part of the vegetational community is composed of, but not limited to nor necessarily including all, of the following plants or groups of plants: arums (Araceae), bladder worts (Utricularia), burr reeds (Sparganiaceae), button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), cattails (Typha), duck weeds (Lemnaceae), eelgrass (Vallisneria), frog bits (Hydrocharitaceae), horsetails (Equisetaceae), hydrophilic grasses (Gramineae), leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata), pickerel weeds (Pontederiaceae), pipeworts (Eriocaulon), pond weeds (Potamogeton), rushes (Juncaceae), sedges (Cyperaceae), smartweeds (Polygonum), sweet gale (Myrica gale), water milfoil (Haloragaceae), water lilies (Nymphaeaceae), water starworts (Callitrichaceae), water willow (Decodon verticilatus).
- MEAN ANNUAL HIGH-WATER LINE
- Shall be defined in the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations, 310 CMR 10.58(2), as they may be amended.
- Shall include any substantially open body of fresh water with a surface area observed or recorded, within 10 years prior to the date of application, of at least 5,000 square feet. Ponds may be either naturally occurring or man-made by impoundment, excavation, or otherwise. Ponds shall contain standing water except for periods of extended drought.
- RARE SPECIES
- Shall include, without limitation, all vertebrate and invertebrate animal and plant species listed as "endangered," "threatened" or "of special concern" by the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, regardless of whether the site in which they occur has been previously identified by the Department.
- RESOURCE AREA VALUES
- Include but are not limited to the following: public or private water supply, groundwater, flood control, erosion and sedimentation control, storm damage prevention, water quality, fisheries, and wildlife habitat.
- RESOURCE AREAS
- Include any freshwater wetlands, marshes, wet meadows, bogs, swamps, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, creeks, banks, beaches, vernal pools, isolated wetlands, land under water in each resource area, riverfront area, and land subject to flooding or inundation by groundwater or surface waters.
- Shall be defined as a natural flowing body of water of any size that empties to any ocean, lake or other river and which flows throughout the year.
- Is a body of running water, and the land under the water, including brooks, creeks, and man-made watercourses, which moves in a definite channel in the ground due to hydraulic gradient. A portion of a stream may flow through a culvert, or beneath a bridge, or beneath the surface of the ground. Such a body of running water which does not flow throughout the year (i.e., which is intermittent) is a stream except for those that serve only to carry the immediate surface runoff from stormwater or snowmelt.
- Are areas where groundwater is at or near the surface of the ground for a significant part of the growing season or where runoff water from surface drainage frequently collects above the soil surface, and where a significant part of the vegetational community is made up of, but not limited to nor necessarily include all of the following plants or groups of plants: alders (Alnus), ashes (Fraxinus), azaleas (Rhododendron canadense and R. viscosum), black alder (Ilex verticillata), black spruce (Picea mariana), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), American or white elm (Ulmus americana), white Hellebore (Veratrum viride), hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), larch (Larix laricina), cowslip (Caltha palustris), poison sumac (Toxicodendron vermix), red maple (Acer rubrum), skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), sphagnum mosses (Sphagnum), spice bush (Lindera benzoin), black gum tupelo (Nyssa sytvatica), sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), willow (Salicaceae), common reed (Phragmites communis), and jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).
- VERNAL POOL
- Shall include a confined basin depression of any size which is subject to flooding, which, at least in most years, holds water for a minimum of two continuous months during the spring and/or summer, and which is free of adult fish populations, or are areas that vernal pool species, as recognized by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, used for breeding as evidenced by breeding adults, eggs, tadpoles, or transforming adults. These areas are essential breeding habitats and provide other extremely important wildlife habitat functions during nonbreeding season as well for a variety of amphibian species and are important habitat for other wildlife species. The vernal pool need not be certified. Vernal pool habitat shall include the pool and the area within 100 feet of the mean annual boundary of the pool.
- VISTA PRUNING
- Means the selective thinning of tree branches or understory shrubs to improve visibility. "Vista pruning" does not include the cutting of trees nor the mowing or removal of understory brush.
- WET MEADOWS
- Are areas where groundwater is at the surface for the significant part of the growing season and near the surface throughout the year and where a significant part of the vegetational community is composed of various grasses, sedges, and rushes, made up of, but not limited to nor necessarily including all of the following plants or groups of plants: blue flag (iris), vervain (Verbena), thoroughwort (Eupatorium), dock (Rumex), false loosestrife (Ludwigia), hydrophilic grasses (Gramineae), loosestrife (Lythrum), marsh fern (Dryopteris thelypteris), rushes (Juncaceae), sedges (Cyperaceae), sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), and smartweed (Polygonum).
All work shall be done in such a manner as to prevent eutrophication, sedimentation, erosion, or any other significant negative impact on wetlands, wetland resource areas, or public and private water supplies.
All necessary local Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Board of Health approvals and permits shall be submitted before application to the Conservation Commission. This does not include building permits, preapplication conferences, or requests for determination of wetland status. The Commission may, at its discretion, issue an order of conditions that is contingent upon obtaining any necessary permits or approvals from the Board of Health or Planning Board.
The Conservation Commission may not regulate the design of subsurface disposal systems but may, under Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville and these regulations, regulate construction methods and location in order to protect wetland values.
The Conservation Commission may, at its discretion, regulate the type of equipment to be used within a wetland resource area.
Projects involving the application of herbicides, deicers, dust controllers or fertilizers shall supply trade name, constituents, applications rates and frequencies. In order to protect wildlife and water supplies, the Commission may regulate the above procedures in accordance with label requirements and current EPA or other official recommendations. The Commission may also require substitution of other substances or procedures. The Commission's activities and decisions will be consistent with state law.
For all projects, including construction of any sort, a written statement describing construction methodology, including type of machinery to be used, accessway to project site, proposed timetables, etc., is required at the time of application.
Any hearing held under Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville may be continued — with the applicant's approval — for a reasonable time to produce information which the Commission deems necessary to make a decision on the impact of the project. As an alternative to continuance, or after failure or refusal by the applicant to produce additional information as requested, the Commission may deny the project based on a lack of necessary information.
Projects proposing disruption of any resource area subject to Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville and these regulations may be required to replicate not only the function of the area disturbed but its physical properties, characteristics and vegetative cover as well. Inability to do so where required may be cause for denial.
Plans and drawings involving the practice of surveying or engineering shall be stamped and signed by the appropriate design professional who shall be registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville requires consideration of fisheries and wildlife. A discussion of the effect of the proposed project on these interests must be included.
Wildlife habitat evaluations may be required for work in a bordering vegetated wetland.
Four copies of the application, plans, and supporting documentation shall be submitted to the Conservation Commission Office as one package (i.e., not piecemeal) at least 14 days prior to a scheduled hearing. An additional copy of the complete application and plan set shall be submitted to the Town Clerk and evidence of receipt by the Town Clerk's office shall be provided to the Commission at the time of filing. The application will be considered incomplete until such evidence is provided to the Conservation Office.
An application is not complete until all required application materials have been received by the Commission. Required application materials are specified in the applicable permit application instructions.
Once a complete application is submitted to the Conservation Commission Office, the application will be scheduled for a public hearing within 21 days of its receipt.
The applicant shall also submit to the Commission four sets of any revised, amended, or supplemental information, either requested by the Commission or provided by the applicant (plans, pictures, calculations, etc.) during the course of the public hearing(s) on the application, no later than seven days prior to the date the information is scheduled to be discussed on the agenda. Plans and/or documents will not be accepted into the record at the meeting. Failure to submit supplemental information within this time frame may be grounds for the Commission to continue a public hearing. Any revised plans must be submitted to the Town Clerk's office.
The Commission may, at any time during the review process, require the submission of extra copies, at the applicant's cost, of the application and/or plans.
Information to be shown on plans.
The plan(s) shall be clearly drawn at a scale sufficient to depict all area(s) subject to protection and in sufficient detail to describe the proposed project. The plan(s) when applicable shall include:
Property lines, rights-of-way, easements, restrictions, existing grades, proposed grades at two-foot intervals, proposed and existing structures with dimensions and/or other proposed activity, landmarks such as stone walls, street locations and names, other visible physical alterations noted, North arrow, and locus;
All below-ground alterations and structures, including utility lines, drainage structures, on-site subsurface disposal systems, wells, and storage tanks;
The boundary(s) of all areas subject to protection: Vegetated wetland boundary with consecutive numbered flags as located in the field; river boundary (mean high annual water mark elevation) with consecutive numbered flags as located in the field; boundary of land subject to flooding or inundation up to the one-hundred-year storm event; bank of intermittent streams; vernal pools or potential vernal pools if not certified; and elevation of standing water in lakes or ponds with date observed. Include name of the person (and company) who delineated the resource area(s) and the date of delineation;
One-hundred-foot buffer zone boundary(s) and thirty-five-foot no-disturbance zone boundary; resource area alterations (list square footage of each resource area alteration on plan);
Location and number of test plots such as: delineation test plots (used for DEP delineation forms); test pits for percolation tests, and monitoring wells;
Erosion and sedimentation controls with detail; erosion and sedimentation control plan when applicable;
For any project other than alterations to, or associated with those for, a single residential lot, the drainage basin in which the site is located shall be delineated on the locus;
Other significant natural features on or abutting the site;
Any existing hiking, cross-country ski, foot, or bicycle trails or paths;
Name of owner of record, Tax Assessor's Map and Parcel/Lot numbers, and nearest utility pole number, if applicable; and
Plans shall be signed and stamped by a certified professional engineer unless otherwise permitted by the Conservation Commission or its agent. All revision dates shall be noted in date block.
A hearing date will be scheduled within 21 days of the filing of a completed notice of intent or abbreviated notice of resource area delineation. The Commission will publish a public notice, at the applicant's expense, in a local publication at least five business days prior to hearing date. At the time of the hearing and before the hearing opens, the applicant must present a list of all abutters and any property owners within 300 feet ("abutters' list") of the project property line.
The applicant shall send notices to all abutters and any property owner within 300 feet of the subject property, the owner of the subject property, the Board of Health, Building Inspector, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Planning Board of the Town of Plainville by hand delivery, certified mail, return receipt requested, or by certificates of mailing, and present the return receipts or certificates at the hearing meeting.
The abutters' list must be certified by the Town of Plainville Tax Assessor's office, and must be included with all notices of intent, abbreviated notices of resource area delineation, and requests for amendment to orders of conditions.
Within 21 days after the receipt of a request for determination of applicability, the Commission shall issue a determination of applicability. The Commission will publish a public notice regarding the meeting where this determination is to be issued at least five business days prior to the meeting, at the expense of the person making the request.
As provided MGL c. 44, § 53G, the Plainville Conservation Commission may impose reasonable fees for the employment of outside consultants engaged by the Conservation Commission, for specific expert services deemed necessary by the Commission to come to a decision regarding an application submitted pursuant to the requirements of the Wetlands Protection Act (MGL c. 131, § 40) and Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville.
Funds received by the Conservation Commission pursuant to these rules shall be deposited with the Town Treasurer who shall establish a special account for this purpose. Expenditures from this special account may be made at the direction of the Conservation Commission without further appropriation as provided in MGL c. 44, § 53G. Expenditures from this account shall be made only in connection with the review of a specific projects or projects for which a consultant fee has been collected from the applicant.
Specific consultant services may include but are not limited to resource area survey and delineation, analysis of resource area values, hydrogeologic and drainage analysis, impacts on municipal conservation lands, and environmental or land use law. The consultant shall be chosen by, and report only to, the Commission or its agent.
The Conservation Commission shall give written notice to the applicant of the selection of an outside consultant, which notice shall state the identity of the consultant, the amount of the fee to be charged to the applicant, and a request for payment of said fee in its entirety. Such notice shall be deemed to have been given on the date it is mailed or delivered. No such costs or expenses shall be incurred by the applicant if the application or request is withdrawn within five business days of the date notice is given.
The fee must be received in its entirety prior to the initiation of consulting services. The Commission may request additional consultant fees if necessary review requires a larger expenditure than originally anticipated or new information requires additional consultant services. Failure by the applicant to pay the consultant fee specified by the Commission within 10 business days of the request for payment shall be cause for the Commission to deny the permit application for lack of information.
The applicant may appeal the selection of the outside consultant to the Board of Selectmen, who may disqualify the outside consultant selected only on the grounds that the consultant has a conflict of interest or does not possess the minimum required qualifications. The minimum qualifications shall consist of either an educational degree or three or more years of practice in the field at issue or a related field. Such an appeal must be in writing and received by the Plainville Board of Selectmen and a copy received by the Conservation Commission, so as to be received within 10 days of the date consultant fees were requested by the Conservation Commission. The required time limits for action upon the application shall be extended by the duration of the administrative appeal. In the event that no decision is made by the Board of Selectmen within one month following the filing of the appeal, the selection made by the Conservation Commission shall stand.
No work proposed in any notice of intent shall be undertaken until the order of conditions issued by the Commission with respect to such work has been recorded in the Registry of Deeds or, if the land affected is registered land, in the registry section of the Land Court for the district wherein the land lies, and until the holder of the permit provides evidence (book and page number or certificate number) in writing to the Commission that the permit has been recorded.
Extension permits and amendments issued by the Conservation Commission must be recorded in the Registry of Deeds or, if the land affected is registered land, in the registry section of the Land Court for the district wherein the land lies, before any activity covered by the order of conditions resumes. Certificates of compliance must also be recorded at the Registry of Deeds.
Buffer zones are likely to be significant to the wetland values identified in these regulations. Buffer zones help to reduce or prevent water pollution; provide and protect wildlife habitat; protect groundwater; help reduce erosion; and provide sedimentation control. Buffer zones can play a vital role in protecting resource areas, including but not limited to:
Temperature. Shade and cover can moderate air temperature and water temperature in streams and the shallows of ponds and other water bodies;
Sediments and other contaminants. Buffer zones help filter sediments and other contaminants, including but not limited to pesticides and heavy metals, from surface water flow. Buffer zones also prevent erosion in and into resource areas and preclude development that could lead to increased contaminant loading;
Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous). Buffer zones reduce nutrient loading in water bodies by: filtering from surface water flow the nutrients bound to sediments; removing nutrients from groundwater through uptake in vegetation and by de-nitrification; and precluding development which could increase nutrient loading as a result of activities like lawn fertilizing and landscaping;
Maintenance of stream flow. Buffer zones can store water and help maintain groundwater, stream base flow, and water quality during low-flow periods; and
Wildlife habitat. The vegetated uplands adjacent to wetlands constitute one of the richest zones for aquatic organisms, mammals, birds, and amphibians because they provide shade and cover, food, shelter, and breeding habitat.
Construction and other activities or alterations within buffer zones can harm resource areas through siltation, regrading, compaction of soil, and loss of pervious ground. Following construction or other alterations, use and maintenance of the altered buffer zone frequently degrades resources as a result of the deposition of lawn and yard debris, increased and more rapid stormwater runoff, nutrient loading, habitat degradation, and increased temperatures.
Presumption of significance. When a proposed activity involves the removing, filling, dredging, building upon, or altering of a buffer zone, the Commission shall presume that protection of the buffer zone is significant to the values in Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville. This presumption is rebuttable and may be overcome upon a clear showing by the applicant that the buffer zone does not play a role in the protection of those interests. In the event that the Commission finds that the presumption has been overcome, it shall make a written determination to this effect, stating its grounds.
The portion of a buffer zone extending 35 feet from the wetland, bank, or water body defining the buffer zone's inner edge is designated a "no-disturbance zone." The remainder of the buffer zone is designated a "limited-disturbance zone."
Alterations, including but not limited to grading, landscaping, removing of vegetation, filling, excavating, operation of vehicles or machinery, and paving, shall not be permitted in a no-disturbance zone.
Structures, including but not limited to porches, decks, pools, and sheds, shall not be constructed or placed within a no-disturbance zone.
The no-disturbance zone shall not be construed to preclude access paths, vista pruning, construction of water-dependent structures, or restoration within the buffer zone, any of which may be permitted at the Commission's discretion.
Vernal pools and their surrounding areas provide important wildlife habitat. They are increasingly rare and are inhabited by many species of wildlife, including amphibian, reptile, and other vernal pool community species, some of which are totally dependent on vernal pools for their survival.
Potential vernal pools identified by the Massachusetts Aerial Photo Survey of Potential Vernal Pools, Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP), 2001 (and as may be amended), shall be considered identified vernal pools. Burden of proof to the contrary is the responsibility of the applicant.
Presumption of significance.
A confined basin depression of any size, as well as the area within 100 feet of the mean annual boundaries of such depression, which, at least in most years, holds water for a minimum of two continuous months during the spring and/or summer, and which is free of adult fish populations, or are areas that vernal pool species, as recognized by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, use for breeding as evidenced by breeding adults, eggs, tadpoles, or transforming adults, will be presumed to be essential breeding habitat and provide other extremely important wildlife habitat functions during the nonbreeding season for a variety of wildlife, particularly amphibian species.
Pools occurring in lawns, landscaped area, driveways or developed areas, existing at the time of the adoption of these regulations, are presumed not significant as wildlife habitat.
This presumption may be overcome by a clear showing that the presumed vernal pool does not and cannot meet the defining criteria set forth by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program for vernal pool certification. Certification of a vernal pool under the state program is not required for protection under Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville or these regulations.
Activity or alteration is not generally permitted within a vernal pool habitat.
Activities and alterations include, but are not limited to, removal or alteration of vegetation; removal or alteration of natural ground cover including leaves, logs, and other vegetative litter, grading; landscaping; filling; construction or placement of structures or pavement of any sort.
Timing of evidence collection.
Many of the indicators of vernal pool habitat are seasonal. For example, certain salamander egg clusters are only found between late March and late May. Wood frog chorusing only occurs between late March and May, and then only at night. Consequently, failure to find evidence of breeding must be tied explicitly to those periods during which the evidence is most likely to be available.
Accordingly, in the case of challenges to the presumption of vernal pool habitat the Commission may require that the determination be postponed until the appropriate time period consistent with the evidence being presented. The Commission may also require its own site visits as necessary to confirm the evidence.
There shall be no underground storage of gasoline oil or other fuels, or hazardous materials located within a minimum of 100 feet of any surface water body, stream, creek, brook, river, vernal pool, or wetland.
The soil absorption system of an on-site subsurface disposal system shall be located a minimum of 100 feet from any surface water body, stream, creek, brook, river, vernal pool, or wetland. A waiver may be granted from this requirement upon a demonstration that the system can be located nowhere else on the property, and upon approval of the location by the Board of Health.
The purpose of installing a silt prevention barrier between the proposed limit of disturbance and the edge of wetlands is to intercept sediment-laden runoff by reducing runoff velocity and allowing suspended sediments to "settle out" before entering the wetlands resource area. Such sediments shall be removed and sediment barriers monitored and replaced when deemed necessary by the Commission or its agent.
Proposed location of the sedimentation controls deemed necessary by the Commission shall be shown on the plans submitted in the wetland filing furnished by the applicant for Commission review and approval. Erosion prevention devices shall be installed, and approved by the Commission or its agent, prior to the commencement of any activities on the site.
Any discharge into a wetland or buffer area shall be regulated by the Commission whether or not the pipe actually intrudes into the buffer area or wetland. Design plans must be submitted to the Commission for review and approval in such instances.
A preconstruction meeting with the Conservation Agent or Commissioner(s) shall be required for all projects receiving an order of conditions from the Conservation Commission. Prior to commencement of any work, the applicant shall present evidence that the order of conditions has been filed at the Registry of Deeds as well as evidence showing compliance with any additional preconstruction conditions (including permits from other Town boards and all applicable state and federal permits).
Any site disturbing more than one acre of land requires the development of a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) in accordance with NPDES Phase II. The Conservation Commission, as an authorizing authority, requires that a copy of the SWPPP be submitted to the Conservation Office prior to the start of construction. Furthermore, the Commission requires that the mandatory inspection reports be submitted to the Conservation Office within three business days of their completion.
The Commission may, in its discretion, grant a waiver from one or more of these regulations pursuant to this section. Such waivers are intended to be granted only in rare and unusual cases, and shall be granted only in accordance with the provisions of this section.
A waiver may be granted for the following reasons and upon the following conditions:
The Commission may grant a waiver from these regulations upon a clear showing by the applicant that any proposed work, or its natural and consequential impacts and effects, will not have any adverse effect upon any of the interests protected by Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to provide the Commission with any and all information which the Commission may request, in order to enable the Commission to ascertain such adverse effects. The failure of the applicant to furnish any information which has been so requested shall result in the denial of a request for a waiver pursuant to this subsection.
The Conservation Commission may grant a waiver from these regulations upon the clear and convincing presentation by the applicant that any proposed work will have an overriding public benefit.
In cases where a waiver is granted, the Commission may require mitigation measures to be implemented to offset potential impacts to the wetland resource areas. The mitigation must maintain or improve the natural capacity of a resource area to achieve the interests protected by Chapter 472, Wetlands Protection, of the Code of the Town of Plainville. In its discretion, the Commission may require that mitigation be implemented and demonstrated to be functioning before alterations permitted by the waiver may be implemented.
If any provision of these regulations or the application thereof is held to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or the application of any part of these regulations not specifically held invalid, nor shall it invalidate any Order, Permit, or Determination which previously had been issued, and to this end the provisions of these regulations are declared to be severable.
These regulations took effect on January 27, 2009, and a notice of the public hearing was published in The Sun Chronicle on December 31, 2008, and January 6, 2009.