[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Medfield as Art. IX of the 1926 Bylaws. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this Bylaw is to protect the wetlands of the Town of Medfield by controlling activities deemed to have a significant effect upon wetland values, including but not limited to the following: public or private water supply, groundwater, flood control, erosion control, storm damage prevention, water pollution control, wildlife habitat, recreation, and aesthetics (collectively, the "interests protected by this Bylaw").
No person shall remove, fill, dredge, build upon or alter the following resource areas: any freshwater wetland, bordering vegetated wetland, certifiable vernal pools, marsh, wet meadow, bog or swamp; any bank, beach, lake, river, pond, stream or any land under said waters; any land subject to flooding or inundation by groundwater, surface water or storm flowage; or any riverfront area; or any 50-foot buffer zone without receiving a permit issued pursuant to this Bylaw. Any proposed work which falls within 100 feet of any freshwater wetland, bordering vegetated wetland, vernal pool, marsh, wet meadow, bog or swamp; any bank, beach, lake, river, pond, stream or any land under said waters, within 100 feet of any land subject to flooding or inundation, or within 100 feet of the 100-year storm line must be permitted by the Conservation Commission.
The application for a permit shall be a written application and shall include plans that fully describe such removal, filling, dredging, altering, and building and its effect on the environment. No such activity shall commence until after receiving and complying with the permit issued pursuant to this Bylaw.
Such application may be identical in form to a notice of intent filed pursuant to MGL c. 131, § 40, shall be sent by certified mail to the Medfield Conservation Commission (the "Commission") and shall be accompanied by a filing fee payable to the Town of Medfield. The amount of the filing fee shall be set by the Commission and published in its rules and regulations. No filing fee is required when the Town of Medfield files an application for a permit. The application may be filed before other permits, variances and approvals required by the Zoning Bylaw, the Subdivision Control Law or any other Bylaw or regulation have been obtained. Copies of the application shall be sent at the same time, by certified mail, to the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board and the Board of Health.
Pursuant to MGL c. 44, § 53G, and regulations promulgated by the Commission, the Commission may impose reasonable fees upon applicants for the purpose of securing outside consultants, including engineers, wetlands scientists, wildlife biologists or other experts, in order to aid in the review of proposed projects. Such funds shall be deposited with the Town Treasurer, who shall create an account specifically for this purpose. Additional consultant fees may be requested where the requisite review is more expensive than originally calculated or where new information requires additional consultant services.
Only costs relating to consultant work done in connection with a project for which a consultant fee has been collected shall be paid from this account, and expenditures may be made at the sole discretion of the Commission.
Any consultant hired under this provision shall be selected by, and report exclusively to, the Commission. The Commission shall provide applicants with written notice of the selection of a consultant, identifying the consultant, the amount of the fee to be charged to the applicant and a request for payment of that fee. Notice shall be deemed to have been given on the date it is mailed or delivered. The applicant may withdraw the application or request within five business days of the date notice is given without incurring any costs or expenses.
The entire fee must be received before the initiation of consulting services. Failure by the applicant to pay the requested consultant fee within 10 business days of the request for payment shall be cause for the Commission to declare the application administratively incomplete and deny the permit without prejudice, except in the case of an appeal. The Commission shall inform the applicant and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection of such a decision in writing.
The applicant may appeal the selection of an outside consultant to the Board of Selectmen, who may disqualify the consultant only on the grounds that the consultant has a conflict of interest or is not properly qualified. 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. The applicant shall make such an appeal in writing, which must be received within 10 business days of the date that the request for consultant fees was made by the Commission. Such appeal shall extend the applicable time limits for action upon the application.
Upon written request of any person, the Commission shall, within 21 days, make a written determination as to whether this Bylaw is applicable to any land or work thereon. When the person requesting a determination is other than the owner, notice of the determination shall be sent to the owner as well as to the requesting person.
The provisions of this Section shall not apply to work performed for normal maintenance or improvement of land in agricultural use nor to work performed in the course of maintaining, repairing or replacing, but not substantially changing or enlarging, an existing and lawfully located structure or facility used in the service of the public and used to provide electric, gas, water, telephone, telegraph and other telecommunications services.
The Commission shall hold a public hearing on the application within 21 days of its receipt. Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be given by the Commission at the expense of the applicant, not less than five days prior to the hearing, by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in Medfield and by mailing a notice to the applicant, the Board of Health, Board of Selectmen, Planning Board and to such other persons as the Commission may by regulation determine.
If, after the public hearing, the Commission determines that the area which is the subject of the application is significant to the interests protected by this Bylaw, the Commission shall, within 21 days of such hearing, issue or deny a permit for the work requested. If it issues a permit after making such determination, the Commission shall impose such conditions as it determines are necessary or desirable for protection of those interests, and all work shall be done in accordance with those conditions. If the Commission determines that the area which is the subject of the application is not significant to the interests protected by this Bylaw, or that the proposed activity does not require the imposition of conditions, it shall issue a permit without conditions within 21 days of the public hearing. Permits shall expire one year from the date of issuance, unless renewed prior to expiration, and all work shall be completed prior to expiration. Copies of the permit shall be sent to the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board and the Board of Health. A copy shall also be sent to the Registry of Deeds to be recorded with the deed.
The Commission shall not impose additional or more stringent conditions pursuant to MGL c. 131, § 40, than it imposes pursuant to this Bylaw, nor shall it require a notice of intention pursuant to MGL c. 131, § 40, to provide materials or data in addition to those required pursuant to this Bylaw.
This Bylaw shall not apply to any emergency project as defined in MGL c. 131, § 40.
Any person who purchases, inherits or otherwise acquires real estate upon which work has been done in violation of the provisions of this Bylaw or in violation of any permit issued pursuant to this Bylaw shall forthwith comply with any such order or restore such land to its condition prior to any such violation; provided, however, that no action, civil or criminal, shall be brought against such person unless commenced within three years following the date of acquisition of the real estate by such person.
After due notice and public hearing, the Commission may promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this Bylaw. Failure by the Commission to promulgate such rules and regulations or a legal declaration of their invalidity by a court of law shall not act to suspend or invalidate the effect of this Bylaw. Changes in the rules and regulations may be made at any time, after due notice and a public hearing on the changes.
The applicant shall have the burden of showing by a preponderance of credible evidence that the work proposed in the application will not harm the interests protected by this Bylaw. Failure to provide adequate evidence to the Commission supporting a determination that the proposed work will not harm the interests protected by this Bylaw shall be sufficient cause for the Commission to deny a permit or grant a permit with conditions, or, in the Commission's discretion, to continue the hearing to another date to enable the applicant or others to present additional evidence.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and implementation of this Bylaw:
- Shall include, without limitation, the following actions when undertaken in areas subject to this Bylaw:
- (1) Removal, excavation or dredging of soil, sand, gravel or aggregate material of any kind;
- (2) Changing drainage characteristics, flushing characteristics, salinity distribution, sedimentation patterns, flow patterns and flood retention characteristics;
- (3) Drainage or other disturbance of water level or water table;
- (4) Dumping, discharging or filling with any material which may degrade water quality;
- (5) Driving of piles, erection of buildings or structures of any kind;
- (6) Placing of obstructions, whether or not they interfere with the flow of water;
- (7) Destruction of plant life, including cutting of trees;
- (8) Changing of water temperature, or biochemical characteristics of water which confines the water.
- That part of land adjoining any body of water which confines the water.
- IMPROVEMENT OF LAND IN AGRICULTURAL USE
- Includes more extensive practices such as the building of ponds, dams, structures for water control, water and sediment basins, and related activities, but only where a plan for such activity approved by the Conservation District of the Soil Conservation Service is furnished to the Commission prior to the commencement of work. All such activity shall subsequently be carried out in accord with said plan. In the event that the work is not carried out in accordance with the required plan, the Commission may place a stop order on said work and have recourse to such measures as if the plan were a permit.
- LAND IN AGRICULTURAL USE
- Any qualifying wetland within a farm which is qualified or eligible to be qualified under the Farmland Assessment Act, MGL c. 61A, §§ 1 through 5.
- NORMAL MAINTENANCE OR IMPROVEMENT OF LAND IN AGRICULTURAL USE
- (1) Tilling practices customarily employed in the raising of crops;
- (2) Pasturing of animals, including such fences and protective structures as may be required;
- (3) Use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and similar materials subject to state and federal regulations covering their use;
- (4) Constructing, grading, or restoring of field ditches, subsurface drains, grass waterways, culverts, access roads, and similar practices to improve drainage, prevent erosion, provide more effective use of rainfall, and improve equipment operation and efficiency, in order to improve conditions for the growing of crops.
- Shall include any individuals, association, partnership, corporation, company, business organization, trust, estate, the Commonwealth or political subdivision thereof to the extent subject to Town Bylaws, administrative agencies, public or quasi-public corporations or bodies, the Town of Medfield, and any other legal entity, its legal representatives, agents or assigns.
- QUALIFYING WETLAND
- Only inland freshwater areas which are seasonally flooded basins or flats or inland fresh meadows.
- VERNAL POOL
- Shall include, in addition to scientific definitions found in the regulations under the Wetlands Protection Act, any 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 predatory fish populations, and which actually 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. The boundary of the resource area for vernal pools shall be 100 feet outward from the mean annual high-water line defining the depression, but shall not include existing lawns, gardens, landscaped or developed areas.
The Commission may require, as a permit condition, that the performance and observance of other conditions be secured by one or both of the following methods:
By a proper bond, deposit of money or negotiable securities under a written third-party escrow arrangement, or other undertaking of financial responsibility sufficient in the opinion of the Commission, said security to be released in whole or in part upon issuance of a certificate of compliance for work performed pursuant to the permit.
By a conservation restriction, easement or other covenant running with the land, executed and properly recorded (or registered, in the case of registered land).
The Commission, its agents, officers and employees may enter upon privately owned land for the purpose of performing their duties under this Bylaw.
Any person who violated any provision of this Bylaw or any condition of a permit issued pursuant to it shall be punished by the maximum allowable fine. Each day or portion thereof during which a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. This Bylaw may be enforced by a Medfield police officer or Conservation Agent. Upon request of the Commission, the Board of Selectmen shall take such legal action as they deem necessary and proper to enforce this Bylaw and permits issued pursuant to it.
Fines: up to $300 per offense (Medfield police officer or Conservation Agent).
[ATM 4-26-1994; ATM 4-30-2007]