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Generally, any activity that would constitute altering, removing, filling, dredging, or building upon an area under the jurisdiction of the Commission as described above requires Conservation Commission approval. An application is to be filed with the Commission prior to undertaking the activity. For small projects, an "Administrative Review" may be all that is needed. Any questions about whether a proposed activity requires Commission review should be directed to the Conservation office. Please note that alteration includes the cutting of trees and/or vegetation.
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The Commission holds public hearings twice a month on the second and fourth Wednesdays to review applications. Public Hearings start at 9 am, usually in the large meeting room located in the Town Annex building at 261 George Ryder Road.
The Commission holds Work Sessions at 3 pm. At these posted public meetings, the Commission votes on applications, drafts permits (Orders of Conditions), deals with violations, and conducts other business as necessary.
The Commission is a board of 7 volunteers who are citizens of the Town of Chatham and who are appointed by the Select Board for a three-year term.
The Commission's primary responsibility is to administer both local and state wetlands protection statutes (the Wetlands Protection Act, MGL Chapter 131, s. 40 and the Chatham Wetlands Protection Bylaw, Chapter 272). This means that the Commission reviews proposed projects to be undertaken in areas of its jurisdiction. The Commission's objective is to permit projects while protecting the natural resources and the public interests they provide.
The Commission is also responsible for overseeing several town-owned conservation lands.
Both freshwater and coastal wetlands are protected. In addition to the obvious wetlands such as marshes, ponds, bogs, etc., other areas considered wetland resource areas include coastal banks, inland banks, and land subject to coastal storm flowage (the 100-year flood plain). Additionally, the upland within 100 feet of any of these resource areas and the land within 200 feet of a river or perennial stream are protected.
A copy of Chapter 272, Chatham's Wetlands Protection Bylaw, and the regulations can be purchased for $10 and is available at the Town Annex, 261 George Ryder Road. It may also be downloaded at no charge from this website on the Conservation Division's webpage.
A complete application must be submitted by noon 15 days prior to a scheduled meeting.