[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting 6-20-2020 by Art. 31. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This article was adopted as Ch. 137, but was renumbered to maintain the organization of the Code.
The purpose of this bylaw is to establish minimum stormwater management requirements and procedures in order to minimize damage to public and private property and infrastructure; safeguard the public health, safety, environment and general welfare; protect aquatic resources and wildlife habitat; protect the quality and health of water resources; conserve groundwater supplies; and foster climate change resiliency. This bylaw seeks to meet that purpose through the following objectives:
Establish the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission of the Town of Westminster, or its designated agent, as the legal authority to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Stormwater Management Bylaw and its accompanying rules and regulations through a review process, inspection, monitoring, and enforcement.
Establish administrative procedures for: the submission, review, and approval or disapproval of stormwater management permits; the inspection of approved active projects; and post-construction follow-up.
Establish decisionmaking processes surrounding new development and redevelopment that protects watershed integrity and preserves and/or restores the health of local water resources such as lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands, and groundwater.
Ensure compliance with requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) and other applicable state and federal mandates in order to minimize or eliminate erosion and maintain sediment on site so that it is not transported to a water of the commonwealth and to reduce the discharge of pollutants found in stormwater through the retention and treatment of stormwater during and after construction.
This bylaw is adopted under authority granted by the Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution, the Home Rule statutes, pursuant to the regulations of the federal Clean Water Act found at 40 CFR 122.34, and as authorized by the residents of the Town of Westminster at the Town Meeting.
Nothing in this bylaw or the regulations adopted hereunder is intended to replace or be in derogation of the requirements of the Town of Westminster Zoning Bylaw, the Westminster Wetlands Protection Bylaw, or the Westminster Subdivision Control Rules and Regulations.
For the purposes of this bylaw, the following shall mean:
- AGRICULTURAL USE
- 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.
- Any person, individual, partnership, association, firm, company, corporation, trust, authority, agency, department, or political subdivision of the commonwealth or the federal government to the extent permitted by law requesting a soil erosion and sediment control permit for proposed land-disturbance activity.
- BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE (BMP)
- An activity, procedure, restraint, or structural improvement that helps reduce the quantity or improve the quality of stormwater runoff. Some examples of BMPs are described in a stormwater design manual, Stormwater Management, Volume Two: Stormwater Technical Handbook (March 1997, MA Department of Environmental Protection and MA Office of Coastal Zone Management, as updated or amended).
- CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL (CPESC)
- A certified specialist in soil erosion and sediment control. This certification program, sponsored by the Soil and Water Conservation Society in cooperation with the American Society of Agronomy, provides the public with evidence of professional qualifications.
- CONSERVATION COMMISSION
- Town of Westminster Conservation Commission, including its employees or authorized agents designated to enforce this bylaw.
- CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY
- The disturbance of the ground by removal of vegetative surface cover or topsoil, grading, excavation, clearing or filling.
- DISCHARGE OF POLLUTANTS
- The addition from any source of any pollutant or combination of pollutants into the municipal storm drain system or into waters of the United States of America or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from any source.
- Any activity which changes the volume or peak flow discharge rate of rainfall runoff from the land surface. This may include the clearing, grading, digging, scraping, or excavating of soil, placement of fill materials, paving, construction, substantial removal of vegetation, or any activity which bares soil or rock or involves the diversion or piping of any natural man-made watercourse.
- ENFORCEMENT ORDER
- A written order issued by the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission in order to enforce the provisions of this bylaw as issued in accordance with § 169-7 of this bylaw.
- MUNICIPAL SEPARATE STORM SEWER SYSTEM (MS4) or MUNICIPAL STORM DRAIN SYSTEM
- The system of conveyances designed or used for collecting or conveying stormwater, including any road with a drainage system, street, gutter, curb, inlet, piped storm drain, pumping facility, retention or detention basin, natural or man-made or altered drainage channel, reservoir, and other drainage structure that together comprise the storm drainage system owned or operated by the Town of Westminster, MA.
- NATIONAL POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM (NPDES) STORMWATER DISCHARGE PERMIT
- A permit issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or jointly with the state that authorizes the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States.
- NEW DEVELOPMENT
- Any modification of land that disturbs the ground surface or increases the impervious area on previously undeveloped sites. Any construction, land alteration, or addition of impervious surfaces resulting in total earth disturbances equal to or greater than one acre or activities that are part of a larger common plan of development disturbing greater than one acre that does not meet the definition of "redevelopment."
- A person with a legal or equitable interest in property.
- An individual, partnership, association, firm, company, trust, corporation, agency, authority, department or political subdivision of the commonwealth or the federal government, to the extent permitted by law, and any officer, employee, or agent of such person.
- PLANNING BOARD
- Town of Westminster Planning Board, including its employees or authorized agents designated to enforce this bylaw.
- PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER (P.E.)
- A registered professional engineer within the State of Massachusetts in good standing.
- Development, rehabilitation, expansion, demolition or phase projects that disturb the ground surface or increase the impervious area on previously developed sites. Any construction, land alteration, or improvement of impervious surfaces resulting in total earth disturbances equal to or greater than one acre (or activities that are part of a larger common plan of redevelopment disturbing greater than one acre) that does not meet the definition of "new development."
- Stormwater runoff, snow melt runoff, and surface water runoff and drainage.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PERMIT
- The written approval granted by the Planning Board to undertake a construction activity pursuant to a stormwater management permit application. A valid stormwater management permit must be signed by a majority of the Planning Board participating at a duly noted public hearing, and such permit must be recorded at the Worcester Registry of Deeds, prior to the start of any work.
- WATERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH
- All waters within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including, without limitation, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, springs, impoundments, estuaries, wetlands, coastal waters, groundwaters, and vernal pools.
The Planning Board shall be the permit granting authority for this bylaw except when a project subject to review under this bylaw falls under the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission, in which case the Conservation Commission shall be the permit granting authority hereunder. Any powers granted to or duties imposed upon the Planning Board may be delegated, in writing, by the Planning Board to any Town employee, board, commission, committee or agent, hereby known as the "Reviewing Agent."
The Planning Board shall not have jurisdiction over stormwater issues within areas where the Conservation Commission has jurisdiction under the Wetlands Protection Act and/or any local regulations.
The Planning Board or its Reviewing Agent shall take any of the following actions as a result of an application for a stormwater management permit as specifically defined within the stormwater management rules and regulations promulgated as a result of this bylaw: approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval.
A decision of the Planning Board or its Reviewing Agent shall be final. Further relief from a decision by the Planning Board or its Reviewing Agent made under this bylaw shall be appealable to the Superior Court, in accordance with MGL c. 249, § 4.
The Planning Board may adopt, and periodically amend, the stormwater management rules and regulations relating to the terms, conditions, definitions, enforcement, fees (including application, inspection, and/or consultant fees), procedures and administration of this Stormwater Management Bylaw by majority vote of the Planning Board, after conducting an advertised public hearing to receive comments on any proposed revisions. The hearings shall be duly advertised in a paper of general circulation in the Town of Westminster no less than 14 days prior to the date of the public hearing.
No person may undertake a construction activity, including clearing, grading, and excavation that results in a land disturbance to an area equal to or greater than one acre of land or will disturb less than one acre of land but is part of a larger common plan of development or sale that will ultimately disturb an area equal to or greater than one acre of land within the Town of Westminster, without first obtaining a stormwater management permit issued by the Planning Board.
Normal maintenance and improvement of land in agricultural use as defined by the Wetlands Protection Act regulation, 310 CMR 10.04, as amended;
Maintenance of existing landscaping, gardens, or lawn areas associated with a single-family dwelling;
The construction of fencing that will not substantially alter existing terrain or drainage patterns;
Normal maintenance and improvements of the Town of Westminster's publicly owned roadways and associated drainage infrastructure; and
Emergency repairs to any stormwater management system or feature that poses a threat to public health or safety, or other action as deemed necessary by a Town department or board to abate such a threat to public health or safety.
The Planning Board and/or the Conservation Commission, or an authorized agent of the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission, shall enforce this bylaw, and any associated regulations, orders, violations notices, and enforcement orders, and may pursue all civil and criminal remedies for such violations.
The Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission may issue a written order to enforce the provisions of this bylaw, which may include requirements to:
Cease and desist from construction or land-disturbing activity until there is compliance with this bylaw and the stormwater management permit;
Repair, maintain, or replace the stormwater management system or portions thereof in accordance with the operation and maintenance plan;
Maintain, install, or perform additional erosion and sediment control measures;
Perform monitoring, analyses, and reporting;
Remediate adverse impact resulting directly or indirectly from malfunction of the stormwater management system or erosion and sediment control system;
Cease and desist from unlawful discharges, practices, or operations; and/or
Remediate contamination in connection therewith.
If the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission determines that abatement or remediation of adverse impacts is required, the enforcement order shall set forth a deadline by which such abatement or remediation must be completed. Said order shall further advise that, should the violator or property owner fail to abate or perform remediation within the specified deadline, the Town of Westminster may, at its option, undertake such work, and the property owner shall reimburse the Town's expense.
Within 30 days after completing all measures necessary to abate the violation, the violator and the property owner shall be notified of the costs incurred by the Town of Westminster, including administrative costs. The violator or property owner may file a written protest objecting to the amount or basis of costs with the Planning Board within 30 days of receipt of the notification of the costs incurred. If the amount due is not received by the expiration of the time in which to file a protest or within 30 days following a decision of the Planning Board affirming or reducing the costs, or from a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, the costs shall become a special assessment against the property owner and shall constitute a lien on the owner's property for the amount of said costs. Interest shall begin to accrue on any unpaid costs at the statutory rate provided in MGL c. 59, § 57, after the 31st day at which the costs first become due.
To the extent permitted by state law, or if authorized by the owner or other party in control of the property, the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission, or its Reviewing Agent, may enter upon privately owned property for the purpose of performing their duties under this bylaw and regulations and may make or cause to be made such examinations, surveys or sampling as the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission or Reviewing Agent deems reasonably necessary.
The Planning Board may waive strict compliance with any requirement of this bylaw promulgated hereunder, where:
Any applicant may submit a written request to be granted such a waiver. Such a request shall be accompanied by an explanation or documentation supporting the waiver request and demonstrating that strict application of this bylaw does not further the purposes or objectives of this bylaw. The Planning Board may require documentation to be submitted and stamped by a qualified P.E. registered in Massachusetts or a certified professional in erosion and sediment control (CPESC).
If a person violates the provisions of this bylaw, permit, notices, or order issued thereunder, the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission may seek injunctive relief in a court of competent jurisdiction restraining the person from activities which would create further violations or compelling the person to perform abatement or remediation of the violation.
Any person who violates any provision of this bylaw, order or permit issued thereunder shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense.
The remedies listed in this bylaw are not exclusive of any other remedies available under any applicable federal, state or local law. In addition to the provisions of enforcement listed above, the Building Commissioner may, in his discretion, enforce the provisions of the Zoning Bylaw by noncriminal disposition pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D. Each day on which a violation exists shall be deemed to be a separate offense. Noncriminal citations may be appealed to Gardner District Court or Worcester County Housing Court in accordance with MGL c. 40, § 21D. The penalty for violation of any provision of the Zoning Bylaw pursuant to this section shall be $50 for the first offense; $75 for the second offense; $100 for the third offense; and $125 for the fourth and each subsequent offense.
The Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission may require the permittee to post before the start of land disturbance or construction activity a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit, cash, or other acceptable security. The form of the bond shall be approved by Town Counsel, and be in an amount deemed sufficient by the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission to ensure that the work will be completed in accordance with the permit. If the project is phased, the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission may release part of the bond as each phase is completed in compliance with the stormwater management permit, but the bond may not be fully released until the Planning Board and/or Conservation Commission has received the final inspection report as required by the stormwater management rules and regulations and issued a certificate of completion.
If any provision, paragraph, sentence, or clause of this bylaw shall be held invalid for any reason, all other provisions shall continue in full force and effect.