If I submit a Notice of Intent Application with the Conservation Commission, When Can I begin Work?
Applicants who are required to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) application for proposed work within areas subject to the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission can expect the process to take eight weeks before substantive work may begin on the project. The Conservation Office can help determine if an NOI application is required for your project (tel. 978-887-6000 x506).
A complete Notice of Intent Application must be filed at least two weeks prior to the target public hearing date. Instructions on how to complete an NOI application are available from the Conservation Office.
Public hearings are held during regularly scheduled meetings of the Conservation Commission. These meetings are generally scheduled for the first and third Thursday of the month. The meeting schedule and other information is available on the town website.
Following submission of a complete NOI application, the Conservation Commission will open the public hearing for the project during a regularly scheduled meeting. The public hearing often spans at least two consecutive meetings of the Conservation Commission. After closing the public hearing, the Commission will review all the information submitted during the hearing process and will determine whether to issue an Order of Conditions (OOC) approving or denying the project. The Commission has 21 days after closing the hearing to make this determination, but will typically act within 14 days (the next meeting). Because the Conservation Commission’s meeting dates are typically two weeks apart, the public hearing and action on the NOI typically takes at least four weeks.
After the Conservation Commission approves or denies an Order of Conditions, the Conservation Office finalizes the documents and mails the OOC to the applicant. The mailing generally occurs the Monday following the meeting date. The date of the mailing of the OOC by the Conservation Office is the “issuance date” from which the appeals period and permit expiration date are calculated. The applicant must wait until the ten-day appeals period expires before beginning work on the project. Because the appeals period is calculated in terms of business days, the time required to issue the OOC and complete the appeals period actually spans two and one-half weeks from the last meeting date.
The applicant must complete any preliminary tasks required under the Order of Conditions before beginning substantive work on the project. These conditions typically include recording the Order with the Registry of Deeds, conducting a pre-activity meeting with the Conservation Office, and installing erosion controls.