Wetlands Protection: Forms and Filing Requirements
In order to work within a wetland or its 100 foot buffer zone, the Conservation Commission must first determine whether or not the work will alter, fill or dredge a jurisdictional resource area.
Work without a permit is subject to enforcement actions including (but not limited to) financial, civil or criminal penalties. The only way to determine whether or not a wetland is present on a parcel is to hire a wetlands delineator to map out the boundaries of a wetland resource area. The Conservation Commission, the Property Owner, and the Owner’s wetlands delineator will then review the wetlands boundaries to determine whether or not they are accurate and to determine whether or not the proposed scope of work will remove, fill, dredge or alter a resource area.
Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (MWPA) Application Forms
Typically, projects within resource areas and buffer zones require either a WPA Form 1- Request for Determination of Applicability or a WPA Form 3- Notice of Intent. All Wetlands Protection Act forms can be retrieved from the DEP website: WPA Forms
Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA): Submitted to determine if the proposed work within wetlands or buffer zone area is significant enough to require filing a formal Notice of Intent application (positive determination). A negative determination means that the proposed activities are minor enough in impact to proceed, subject to certain conditions as mandated by the Commission at the time of determination – RDA Application Form and Instructions
Notice of Intent (NOI): If the Commission determines that a proposed activity will remove, fill, dredge or alter a resource area, an NOI is filed. If approved, the Commission issues an Order of Conditions (OOC), which authorizes the proposed work subject to certain conditions as determined by the Commission. Requests to approve amendments to project plans or for time extensions must be formally submitted to the Commission for consideration. – NOI Application and Instructions
Request for Certificate of Compliance (COC): When the work authorized by an OOC has been completed, the applicant must submit a formal request for a Certificate of Compliance. If the applicant has determined that only a portion of the original permitted project will be completed as originally planned, the application form has a section to explain the change in scope. Note that every OOC contains certain "evergreen" conditions that specify continued effect even after the COC has been issued. – COC Request Application
Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation (ANRAD): An ANRAD is typically only submitted in cases where it is ambiguous whether wetland resources or protected buffer zones are included within the work area of the proposed project. A negative determination means the work may take place without the oversight of the Conservation Commission, though it may still be subject to other municipal, state, or federal regulations (see sections below). – ANRAD Application and Instructions
Please note, these forms require a significant amount of technical expertise and experience. Please do not attempt to fill out these documents without the support of an experienced professional.
Holyoke Wetlands Protection Ordinance (WPO) – Additional Forms and Resources
Affidavit of Service to Abutters: As required by the MWPA and WPO, an Affidavit of Service (M.G.L. 131, Section 40) must be submitted by the Applicant when filing a Notice of Intent. This affidavit affirms that the applicant correctly notified all abutters (within 200 feet) of the public hearing to discuss the project. This form is available here – Holyoke Affidavit of Service
Holyoke Project Information Sheet: Required for all submissions under the local ordinance – Holyoke Project Information Sheet
WPO Fee Table: Used to help the applicant calculate additional filing fees as described in the WPO regulations IV.B. – Holyoke Wetlands Protection Act Fee Table
Variance Request: The WPO VII(C) establishes a "no build zone" for proposed work within the 50-foot buffer zone of any wetland resource (with the exception of Riverfront, which has no associated buffer zone). To permit work in this area, the applicant must include a separate, formal Variance Request along with the NOI. There is no required format for such a request, however, as stated in the WPO, it must minimally include the following: a) Impact of the design on the 50 foot buffer zone, b) Alternative designs, c) Limitations of the parcel that necessitate the variance, and d) Proposed mitigation and/or restoration on site or within the same watershed. Note that WPO I(D)(3)(c) explicitly states that such variances are to be granted only in rare or unusual circumstances.