Delete Reference to Unimproved Lots in
Wetland Conservation Overlay Zone Amendment (2)
The Planning Board has proposed eliminating the distinction between improved and unimproved lots which existed prior to 1997
The text of the proposed change is shown below
Explanation: This amendment will require that both improved and unimproved existing lots are treated the same with regard to construction on lots of record in existence prior to the adoption of
the Wetland Ordinance. This means that the amendment would remove protections of the Wetland Conservation Overlay Zone currently applied to improved lots that legally existed before March 11, 1997. The Planning Board cited a recent case at 88 Runnels Bridge Road to construct a convenience store in the wetland buffer. The current ordinance requires that the applicant get approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) before disturbing the wetland buffer. It seems that lowering the bar for exceptions is a common theme in the Planning Board’s proposals. The present language of the ordinance provides more protection for our town’s wetlands and has been in place since 1997. What is the justification to relax it now? If exceptions are needed, appeal to the ZBA is available. The current process has successfully protected our wetland resources for 26 years.
Recommendation: Vote NO for Zoning Amendment (2).