[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Belchertown 5-14-2007 by Art. 25. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Land uses in Town affect our streams, lakes and drinking water supplies. Land development and other land use conversions, and their associated changes to land cover, have the potential to permanently alter the function of local watersheds, resulting in increased stormwater runoff rates and volumes, which in turn increase flooding, stream channel erosion, sediment transport and discharge, and nonpoint source pollution, and decrease groundwater recharge. Adverse impacts can be controlled and minimized through the application of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and low-impact development principles.
Low-impact development (LID) seeks a balance between human activities and protecting habitat and important natural resources. It is about maintaining environmental quality of life that gives the communities we live in a sense of place. The goal of LID is to integrate human development into the landscape in a way that is mindful of natural ecosystems and does not disrupt the complex hydrologic cycle that maintains them. LID can be applied through development density, reduced impervious surface coverage, lot size, open space/tree retention, street design, street width, parking design, sidewalks, and stormwater management practices. Because LID involves a comprehensive approach, it must be integrated into municipal policies, regulations, and development standards in order for it to be effective.
Careful planning of development, redevelopment, and land conversion projects will protect the quality and health of the water resources of Belchertown. Therefore, the Town of Belchertown enacts this Stormwater Management Bylaw to prevent potential harmful impacts from land development activities.
In addition, localities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are required to comply with a number of both state and federal laws, bylaws and permits which require a locality to address the impacts of construction site runoff, post-development stormwater runoff, and nonpoint source pollution.
Therefore, the Town of Belchertown has established this chapter to provide reasonable guidance for site planning and stormwater management for the purpose of protecting local water resources from degradation. This chapter addresses construction and post-construction stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment projects.
This chapter is not retroactive and does not affect current or approved land development or redevelopment applications.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety, environment and general welfare by establishing requirements and procedures to control the adverse impacts of stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment. The objectives of the chapter are to:
Establish regulations for land development activities that preserve the health of water resources by reducing the adverse water quality impacts from stormwater discharges to rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and streams in order to attain federal water quality standards;
Require that new development, redevelopment and all land conversion activities maintain the natural hydrologic characteristics of the land in order to reduce flooding, stream bank erosion, siltation, nonpoint source pollution, property damage, and to maintain the integrity of stream channels and aquatic habitats;
Prevent the discharge of pollutants, including hazardous chemicals, into stormwater runoff;
Minimize the volume and rate of stormwater discharges to rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and streams during and following development;
Prevent erosion and sedimentation from land development, and reduce stream channel erosion caused by increased runoff;
Provide for the recharge of groundwater aquifers and maintain the base flow of streams;
Encourage the use of LID practices such as reducing impervious cover and the preservation of green space and other natural areas, to the maximum extent practicable;
Coordinate site design plans, which include green space, with the Town's green space protection plan;
Provide stormwater management facilities that are attractive, maintain the natural integrity of the environment, and are designed to protect public safety;
Require that the amount and quality of stormwater runoff from new development is equal to or better than pre-development conditions in order to reduce flooding, stream erosion, pollution, property damage, and harm to aquatic life;
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 stormwater management plans, and for the Town's inspection of approved stormwater controls;
Comply with state and federal statutes and regulations relating to stormwater discharges.
Nothing in this chapter is intended to replace the requirements of the Town of Belchertown Wetlands Protection Bylaw, or any other bylaw that may be adopted by the Town of Belchertown. Any activity subject to the provisions of the above-cited bylaws must comply with the specifications of each.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any activity, which will measurably change the ability of a ground surface area to absorb water or will change existing surface drainage patterns. Alter may be similarly represented as "alteration of drainage characteristics," and "conducting land disturbance activities."
- A property owner or agent of a property owner who has filed an application for a stormwater management permit.
- BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE (BMP)
- Structural, nonstructural and managerial techniques that are recognized to be the most effective and practical means to prevent and/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.
- CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION (COC)
- A document issued by the Stormwater Authority after all construction activities have been completed, which states that all conditions of an issued stormwater management permit have been met and that a project has been completed in compliance with the conditions set forth in a stormwater management permit.
- Any structure or device, including pipes, drains, culverts, curb breaks, paved swales or man-made swales of all types designed or utilized to move or direct stormwater runoff or existing water flow.
- A person who undertakes or proposes to undertake land disturbance activities.
- The modification of land to accommodate a new use or expansion of use, usually involving construction.
- DISTURBANCE OF LAND
- Any action that causes a change in the position, location, or arrangement of soil, sand, rock, gravel or similar earth material.
- DRAINAGE EASEMENT
- A legal right granted by a landowner to a grantee allowing the use of private land for LID management purposes.
- Changing the level or shape of the ground surface.
- EROSION CONTROL
- The prevention or reduction of the movement of soil particles or rock fragments.
- EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL PLAN
- A plan that shows the location and construction detail(s) of the erosion and sediment reduction controls to be utilized for a construction site.
- FLOOD CONTROL
- The prevention or reduction of flooding and flood damage.
- A local and temporary inundation or a rise in the surface of a body of water, such that it covers land not usually under water.
- FOREST CUTTING PLAN
- A plan for the cutting of trees on forest land, which is prepared and submitted in accordance with MGL 132 §§ 40 through 46A. The forest cutting plan requires approval by a Service Forester of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, as provided under 304 CMR 11.04.
- All water beneath any land surface including water in the soil and bedrock beneath water bodies.
- Land uses or activities with higher potential pollutant loadings, such as 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.
- IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
- Any material or structure on or above the ground that prevents water from infiltrating through the underlying soil. "Impervious surface" is defined to include, without limitation: paved parking lots, rooftops, driveways, patios, and paved roads.
- The act of conveying surface water into the ground to permit groundwater recharge and the reduction of stormwater runoff from a project site.
- 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 through 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.
- 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 Belchertown.
- NEW DEVELOPMENT
- Any construction or land disturbance of a parcel of land that is currently in a natural vegetated state and does not contain alteration by man-made activities.
- NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION
- Pollution from many diffuse sources caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into water resource areas.
- OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE PLAN
- A plan that defines the functional, financial and organizational mechanisms for the ongoing operation and maintenance of a LID management system to insure that it continues to function as designed.
- A person with a legal or equitable interest in a property.
- 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 Belchertown, and any other legal entity, its legal representatives, agents, or assigns.
- The conditions that exist at the time that plans for the land development of a tract of land are submitted to the Stormwater Authority. 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 pre-development conditions.
- POINT SOURCE
- Any discernible, confined, and discrete conveyance, including, but not limited to, any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, or container from which pollutants are or may be discharged.
- 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.
- The replenishment of underground water reserves.
- Any construction, alteration, or improvement that disturbs the ground surface or increases the impervious area on previously developed sites.
- RESOURCE AREA
- Any area protected under, including without limitation, the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, Massachusetts Rivers Act, or Town of Belchertown Wetlands Protection Bylaw.
- Rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation water flowing over the ground surface.
- A process of depositing material that has been suspended and transported in water.
- The parcel of land being developed, or a designated planning area in which the land development project is located.
- STORMWATER AUTHORITY
- The Town of Belchertown Conservation Commission. The Stormwater Authority is responsible for coordinating the review, approval and permit process as defined in this chapter. Other boards and/or departments participate in the review process as defined in § 112-5 of this chapter.[Amended 5-11-2009 ATM by Art. 23]
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
- The use of structural or nonstructural practices that are designed to reduce stormwater runoff pollutant loads, discharge volumes, and/or peak flow discharge rates.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PERMIT
- A permit issued by the Stormwater Authority, after review of an application, plans, calculations, and other supporting documents, which is designed to protect the environment of the Town from the adverse affects of uncontrolled and untreated stormwater runoff.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PLAN
- A plan to be submitted with the application for a stormwater management permit, which shall include current and proposed site conditions, proposed improvements, proposed stormwater control measures, development schedules, and such other matters as may be required by the Stormwater Authority.
- STOP-WORK ORDER
- An order issued which requires that all construction activity on a site be stopped.
- Total suspended solids.
- WATER QUALITY VOLUME
- The storage needed to capture a specified average annual stormwater runoff volume. Numerically (WQv) will vary as a function of drainage area or impervious area.
This chapter is adopted under the 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 Belchertown at Town Meeting, dated May 14, 2007.
The Conservation Commission is hereby designated as the Stormwater Authority. The Stormwater Authority shall administer, implement and enforce this chapter. The Stormwater Authority may designate Town boards, including the Planning Board, Department of Public Works, or Board of Health, as its authorized agent for the purposes of reviewing stormwater submittals and making recommendations on stormwater permit applications for any project within that particular board's (the "reviewing board’s") jurisdiction. The reviewing board(s) shall notify the Stormwater Authority of its recommendations on stormwater management permit applications. Both the Stormwater Authority and the reviewing board(s) shall have authority to enforce this chapter.
[Amended 5-11-2009 ATM by Art. 23]
Fees. The Stormwater Authority, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, shall establish a schedule of application fees and technical review fees to cover expenses associated with any public hearing and review of the stormwater management permit application and with the retention of a professional engineer or other professional consultant to advise the Stormwater Authority on technical, legal, economic, or other aspects of the proposed work.
Stormwater management regulations. The Stormwater Authority 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 chapter, 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 hearing, the Stormwater Authority may issue rules and regulations to fulfill the purposes of this chapter. Failure by the Stormwater Authority to issue 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 chapter.
Waivers. The Stormwater Authority may waive strict compliance with this chapter if such action is allowed by federal, state and local statutes, bylaws, and/or regulations; is in the public interest; and is consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
Stormwater Management Manual. The Stormwater Authority will utilize 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 chapter. This policy includes a list of acceptable stormwater treatment practices, including the 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 regulations authorized by this chapter, stormwater treatment 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 Stormwater Authority. The Stormwater Authority may take any of the following actions as a result of an application for a stormwater management permit: approval, approval with conditions, disapproval, or disapproval without prejudice.
Appeals. A decision of the Stormwater Authority shall be final. Further relief of a decision by the Stormwater Authority made under this chapter shall be reviewable in the Superior Court in an action filed within 60 days thereof, in accordance with MGL c 249, § 4.
Stormwater credit system. The Stormwater Authority may adopt a stormwater credit system as part of the regulations authorized by this chapter. This credit system will allow applicants the option to use better site design practices to reduce some of the requirements specified in the criteria section of the regulations. Failure of the Stormwater Authority to promulgate 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 chapter.
This chapter applies to all new development and redevelopment, and other activities that will result in an increased amount of stormwater runoff and/or water 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 this section of this chapter. All actions under the jurisdiction of this chapter shall be required to obtain a stormwater management permit.
Notwithstanding any exemption provided pursuant to Subsection C of this section, an alteration, redevelopment, or conversion of land use to a hotspot as defined in the most recent version of the Massachusetts Stormwater Management Policy, such as auto salvage yards, auto fueling facilities, fleet storage yards, commercial parking lots, and other potential water quality concerns shall require a stormwater management permit.
Exemptions. No person shall alter land within the Town of Belchertown without having obtained a stormwater management permit for the proposed activity, with the following exceptions:
Any activity that will disturb an area less than 10,000 square feet, not including projects that will disturb an area less than 10,000 square feet that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale that will ultimately disturb greater than or equal to 10,000 square feet.
Normal maintenance and improvement of land in agricultural use as defined by the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations 310 CMR 10.04.
Maintenance of existing landscaping, gardens or lawn areas associated with a single-family dwelling.
Repair or replacement of an existing roof of a single-family dwelling.
Repair or replacement of an existing septic system.
Construction of a deck, patio, retaining wall, shed, swimming pool, tennis or basketball court associated with a single-family dwelling.
The construction of any fence that will not alter existing terrain or drainage patterns.
Construction of utilities (gas, water, electric, telephone, etc.) other than drainage, which will not permanently alter terrain, ground cover, or drainage patterns.
Routine maintenance to existing Town roads that is performed to maintain the original width, line, grade, hydraulic capacity, or original purpose of the roadway.
Emergency repairs to any stormwater management facility or practice that poses a threat to public health or safety, or as deemed necessary by the Stormwater Authority or reviewing board(s).
Any emergency activity that is immediately necessary for the protection of life, property, or the environment, as determined by the Stormwater Authority or reviewing board(s).
Customary cemetery management.
Any work or projects for which all necessary approvals and permits have been issued before the effective date of this chapter.
Redevelopment projects are presumed to meet the chapter requirements if the total impervious cover is reduced by 40% from existing conditions.
Permit procedures and requirements shall be defined and included as part of any rules and regulations issued under § 112-5 of the chapter. No land owner or land operator shall receive any of the grading, or other land development permits required for land disturbance activities, and no land owner shall commence land disturbance activities, without first receiving a stormwater management permit from the Stormwater Authority and meeting the requirements of this chapter and associated regulations. The stormwater management permit application package shall include:
For land altering activity subject to the Town of Belchertown Stormwater Management Bylaw involving construction of a single-family dwelling, where approval is not required (ANR), as defined in the Subdivision Control Act, and that disturbs less than one acre of land, the stormwater management permit application package shall include:
A completed Application Form with original signatures of all owners;
A list of abutters, certified by the Assessor's office, within 100 feet of the property line of the site, including property owners in another municipality;
Stormwater management plan;
Payment of the application and review fees;
Surety bond, if determined to be required by the Stormwater Authority.
For all other land altering activity subject to the Town of Belchertown Stormwater Management Bylaw, the stormwater management permit application package shall include:
A completed application form with original signatures of all owners;
A list of abutters, certified by the Assessor's office; within 100 feet of the property line of the site, including property owners in another municipality;
Stormwater management plan;
Operation and maintenance plan, with inspection and maintenance agreement;
Payment of the application and review fees;
The Stormwater Authority or an authorized agent of the Stormwater Authority shall enforce this chapter, regulations, orders, violation notices, and enforcement orders, and may pursue all civil and criminal remedies, including injunctive relief and monetary damages and costs of litigation and attorney fees, for such violations and for mitigation and compliance actions taken by the Stormwater Authority. Enforcement shall be further defined and included as part of any regulations adopted under this chapter. Enforcement may be made by way of noncriminal disposition pursuant to Chapter 1, § 1-2 of the Town's Bylaws. The Stormwater Authority shall be the enforcing entity. The penalty for the first violation shall be $100. The penalty for the second violation shall be $200. The penalty for the 3rd and subsequent violations shall be $300. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense.
The invalidity of any section, provision, paragraph, sentence or clause of this chapter shall not invalidate any other section, provisions, paragraph, sentence or clause thereof, nor shall it invalidate any permit or determination that previously has been issued.
[Added 5-13-2019 ATM by Art. 35]
Title. This bylaw shall be known as the Stormwater Utility Bylaw of the Town of Belchertown, Massachusetts, hereinafter referred to as "this bylaw."
Responsibility for administration. The Board of Selectmen shall administer, implement, and enforce this bylaw. Any powers granted to or duties imposed upon the Board may be delegated in writing by the Board of Selectmen to its employees or agents.
Purpose. The purpose of this bylaw is to provide a framework for the administration of the Town's public stormwater management program. It shall be funded by revenue collected through the stormwater utility fee and such other revenue as may, from time to time, be appropriated. This bylaw shall enable the Town to protect its interests in flood control; storm damage prevention; and prevention of pollution, through the Town's activities to maintain, repair, and replace stormwater management systems it owns, controls, or maintains, in order to: promote the health and safety of the public; protect property from flooding and the damage caused by stormwater runoff; protect and manage water quality by controlling the level of pollutants in stormwater runoff and the flow of water as conveyed by manmade and by natural stormwater management systems and facilities; and maintain compliance with the requirements of external agencies.
This bylaw is adopted in accordance with the authority granted, inter alia, by Amendment Article 89 to Article 2 of the Massachusetts Constitution (the Home Rule Amendment), Massachusetts General Law Chapter 83, and such other powers as granted to cities and towns in said General Laws.
The Board of Selectmen may promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this bylaw after conducting a public hearing to receive comments. Such hearing dates shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation, at least 14 days prior to the hearing date. Failure by the Board of Selectmen to promulgate such rules and regulations or a legal declaration of their invalidity by a court shall not have the effect of suspending or invalidating this bylaw.
Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this bylaw, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- A reduction in the amount of a stormwater utility fee charged to the owner of a particular property where that property owner owns, maintains and operates on-site or off-site stormwater management systems or facilities, or provides services or activities that reduce or mitigate the Town's cost of providing stormwater management services, in accordance with the Town's approved credit policy.
- Property altered from its natural state by construction or installation of greater than or equal to 500 square feet of impervious surfaces.
- GENERAL LAWS
- The General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
- Any material or structure on or above the ground that prevents water infiltrating the underlying soil. Common impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to: roads and ways; parking lots; rooftops; buildings or structures, including solar panels; sidewalks; walkways, driveways; gravel travelways; patio areas, decks, and other surfaces which prevent or impede the natural infiltration of stormwater runoff which existed prior to development.
- Surface water that results from precipitation and that travels over natural or developed land surfaces to discharge into a drainage system or surface water body. Stormwater includes stormwater runoff, snow melt runoff, and surface water runoff and drainage.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT SERVICES
- All services provided by the Town which relate to:
- (1) Transfer, control, conveyance or movement of stormwater runoff through the Town;
- (2) Maintenance, repair and replacement of stormwater management systems and facilities owned, controlled, or maintained by the Town;
- (3) Planning, development, design and construction of additional stormwater management systems and facilities to meet current and anticipated needs;
- (4) Regulation, oversight, and enforcement of the use of stormwater management services, systems and facilities;
- (5) Compliance with applicable local, state, and federal stormwater management regulations and permit requirements including, but not limited to, public education and outreach. Stormwater management services may address the quality of stormwater runoff as well as the quantity thereof.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND FACILITIES
- Those natural and manmade channels, swales, ditches, rivers, streams, creeks, branches, reservoirs, ponds, drainageways, inlets, catch basins, pipes, headwalls, storm sewers, outfalls and other physical works, properties and improvements which transfer, control, convey, detain, retain, treat or otherwise influence the movement of stormwater runoff.
- STORMWATER UTILITY FEE
- The periodic user fee imposed pursuant to this bylaw by the Town of Belchertown which will be dedicated to the provision of public stormwater management services.
- UNDEVELOPED LAND
- All land that is not altered from its natural state to an extent that results in greater than 500 square feet of impervious surface area.
Stormwater utility fee and enterprise fund established; billing; deposit to stormwater enterprise fund.
Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 83, Section 16, the Town hereby establishes a charge for the use of the stormwater management services of the Town to be known as the stormwater utility fee. Stormwater charges shall be established such that they will provide sufficient funds, proportionately calculated and assessed, to construct, operate, maintain, and regulate the stormwater management systems and facilities in the Town of Belchertown.
The stormwater utility fee is assessed to each developed parcel, whether occupied or not. The fee shall be calculated on an annual basis and billed to the record title owner of the property.
The Town shall establish a dedicated Stormwater Enterprise Fund in the Town budget and an accounting system for the purpose of managing all funds collected for the purposes and responsibilities of the stormwater program. All revenues and receipts of the stormwater utility shall be placed in the Stormwater Enterprise Fund, which shall be separate from all other funds, and only expenses of the stormwater program shall be paid by the fund (as provided in Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 44, Section 53F 1/2).
Expenditure of funds may consider both stormwater quality and quantity management needs and can be used as described in § 112-10G.
The Town Accountant, under the general supervision of the Board of Selectmen, shall within 45 days after the close of each fiscal year, prepare an annual report of the change in cash balances which shall detail the cash receipts and disbursements for the year and which shall be submitted to the Town Administrator and Board of Selectmen.
The Board of Selectmen shall establish reasonable rates to defray the cost of administering and implementing the stormwater management program of the Town. The initial rates, and any later modifications, shall be based upon recommendation of staff and shall be set by the adoption of a Stormwater Fee Schedule by vote of the Board of Selectmen. The schedule of said rates shall be on file in the office of the Town Clerk of the Town of Belchertown.
The billing rate structure shall consist of a uniform flat rate based on billing units of 1,000 square feet of impervious area on a developed parcel.
Impervious area per parcel is determined by the Town of Belchertown by utilizing available GIS data layers to calculate the area of building footprints, building structures, driveways, pathways, sport courts, parking areas, and other impervious surfaces. Any impervious areas within the Town-owned right-of-way will not be attributed to the parcel and will not be considered as part of the total impervious area of the parcel.
Scope of responsibility for stormwater management systems and facilities.
The Town owns or otherwise has rights which allow it to operate, maintain, improve and access those stormwater management systems and facilities which are located:
Within public road rights-of-way;
On private property but within easements granted to, and accepted by, the Town of Belchertown, or are otherwise permitted to be located on such private property by written agreements for rights-of-entry, rights-of-access, rights-of-use or such other lawful means to allow for operation, maintenance, improvement and access to the stormwater management system facilities located thereon;
On public land which is owned by the Town and/or land of another governmental entity upon which the Town has agreements providing for the operation, maintenance, improvement and access to the stormwater management systems and facilities located thereon.
Operation, maintenance and/or improvement of stormwater management systems and facilities which are located on private or public property not owned by the Town, and for which the Town lacks a lawful right of entry, shall be and remain the legal responsibility of the property owner, except as otherwise provided for by local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
Purposes of the stormwater utility fund. Receipts from the Stormwater Utility fee shall be used to provide stormwater management services as defined in § 112-10A(3) of this bylaw and may also include the following:
The acquisition by gift, purchase or condemnation of real and personal property, and interests therein, necessary to construct, operate, and maintain stormwater management systems and facilities;
All costs of administration and implementation of the stormwater management program, including the cost of labor and equipment attributable to the stormwater management program and the establishment of reasonable operating and capital reserves to meet unanticipated or emergency stormwater management requirements;
Payment on principal and interest on debt obligations;
Engineering and design, debt service and related financing expenses, construction costs for new facilities (including costs for contracted services) and enlargement or improvement or existing facilities;
Operation and maintenance of the stormwater system, including catch basin cleaning, ditch maintenance, street sweeping, pipe repairs, and stormwater facility repairs;
Capital investments including stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and components (e.g., purchase of plants, soils, and other amenities to support stormwater management alternatives utilizing vegetation);
Illicit discharge detection and elimination;
Monitoring, surveillance, and inspection of stormwater control devices;
Water quality monitoring and water quality programs;
Retrofitting developed areas for pollution control;
Inspection and enforcement activities;
Billing and related administrative costs; and
Other activities which are reasonably necessary to properly manage the stormwater system, including costs related to regulatory compliance.
Stormwater utility fee exemptions.
The Town of Belchertown finds that all developed property in the Town contributes to runoff and either uses or benefits from the maintenance of the stormwater system. Therefore, except as provided in this section or otherwise provided by law, no developed public or private property located in the Town shall be exempt from the stormwater utility fee charges. No exception, credit, offset, or other reduction in stormwater utility fee charges shall be granted based on age, tax status, economic status, race, religion or other condition unrelated to the cost of providing stormwater management services and facilities.
The Town establishes exemptions to the stormwater utility fee as follows:
Railroad rights-of-way (tracks). However, railroad stations, maintenance buildings, and/or other developed property used for railroad purposes shall not be exempt from stormwater utility fee charges.
Unpaved farm or logging roads that access land used for tilling, planting or harvesting of agricultural, horticultural, or forest crops.
Public streets, highways and rights-of-way. However, maintenance buildings and/or other developed property used for road maintenance purposes shall not be exempt from stormwater utility fee charges. All other state, federal, and county properties are subject to the user fee charges on the same basis as private properties.
Stormwater utility fee credits. The Board of Selectmen or their designee is hereby authorized to grant credits to property owners to be applied against the stormwater utility fee based on the technical and procedural criteria set forth in the Stormwater Utility Credit Manual (Credit Manual) to be developed, maintained and, from time to time, amended by the Board of Selectmen.
Stormwater utility fee billing, delinquencies, collections.
Stormwater utility fees shall be committed to the Tax Collector for collection by the authorizing board pursuant to General Laws Chapter 83, Section 16. Notification of fees assessed under the stormwater utility system shall be provided to the property owner, as identified from public records of the Town of Belchertown, in the form of an annual bill. The Tax Collector shall collect and maintain an accurate accounting of all paid and unpaid stormwater utility bills.
Failure to receive a stormwater utility bill is not justification for nonpayment. The property owner, as identified from public records of the Town of Belchertown, shall be obligated to pay the appropriate stormwater utility fee for that property. If a property is unbilled, or if no bill is sent for a particular parcel of developed land, the Town may back bill for the fees as applicable for a period not to exceed one year of charges. No late fee or interest penalty shall be charged on said omitted bill as long as payment is received on or before the established due date.
Payment of annual stormwater utility fee bills shall be due and payable on or before the 30th day from the postmark without penalty. Interest on any unpaid bill at a rate of 14% will be charged in accordance with Chapter 83, Section 16, of Massachusetts General Laws. Charges for the stormwater utility fee, together with interest thereon and any costs relative thereto, shall be a lien upon the real estate for which the charge was billed. Such lien shall take effect by operation of law on the day immediately following the due date of such charge and, unless dissolved by payment or abatement, shall continue until such charge has been added to or committed as a tax in accordance with the requirements of Section 16C of Chapter 83 of the General Laws, and thereafter, unless so dissolved, shall continue as provided in Section 37 of Chapter 60 of the said General Laws.
Abatements and appeals and hearings.
An owner of real estate aggrieved by a charge imposed pursuant to this bylaw may apply for an abatement thereof by filing a written petition with the Board of Selectmen within 30 days of issuance of the bill, as provided in Section 16E of Chapter 83 of the General Laws. If the Board of Selectmen finds that such charge is more than is properly due, a reasonable abatement shall be made. The provisions of this paragraph shall only apply if the fee is not paid by the date due and a lien is imposed in accordance with Section 16E of Chapter 83 of the General Laws.
As an alternative to the abatement procedure set forth in Section 16E of Chapter 83 of the General Laws, a property owner who believes the stormwater utility fee is more than properly due, may, within 60 days from the date of issuance of the stormwater utility bill, said owner may apply to the Board of Selectmen or their designee, in writing, for abatement. The application for abatement shall be supported by such information as is necessary for the Board of Selectmen or their designee to conclude that the fee was not properly calculated or assessed. The Board shall render a written decision on the application, granting the abatement, in whole or in part, or denying the abatement. The provisions of this and the following paragraph shall only apply if the fee has been paid in full prior to its due date.
In the event that a property owner is aggrieved by a written decision from the Board of Selectmen or their designee denying an application for abatement in whole or in part, or denying an application for a credit, in whole or in part, the property owner shall have 60 days from the date of the written decision to request a hearing by the Board of Selectmen or their designee. The request shall be in writing and shall specify the grounds thereof. Upon the filing of a request for hearing, the Board shall set a date for hearing and notice thereof setting forth the place; date and time of hearing shall be sent to the property owner no less than 10 days prior to the hearing date. The Board shall render a written decision after the conclusion of the hearing, affirming the action or reversing the action. If reversing the denial of an abatement, the decision shall specify the sum to be abated, which shall not exceed the amounts paid. If reversing the denial of a credit, the decision shall specify the credit to be applied prospectively against future charges unless the property owner has paid the full amount of the stormwater utility fee as charged and has also requested an abatement.
If an abatement of the whole or a portion of a fee paid is abated in accordance with the previous sections, the property owner shall be given a credit on future bills until the abatement is fully realized. In the event it is determined that the property owner is not subject to the fee, the owner shall be given a full refund.
Severability. 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.