PETITION TO REQUEST CONSERVATION COMMISSION TO ENFORCE LOCAL BYLAW
In the matter of One James Island Way.
For many years the need for a site to perc limited development in our Town. The limitations of sewer protected against coastal development. The Conservation Commission was rarely asked to enforce our local bylaws to protect coastal properties. While our local bylaws and the lack of sewer both served to protect the aesthetic beauty of our Town, the expansion of the Town’s sewer has removed at least one component of this protective shield and leaves the Town and our elected / appointed officials to protect Cohasset by enforcing it's bylaws.
They will only do this if we the residents of Cohasset insist that they do so. While so many people want to ignore what is going on at James island and the inner little harbor, because it is not in their neighborhood, the results of a decision in this matter effect every neighborhood and every citizen in this Town. Any exception in town where development is being allowed that is against the bylaws, sets precedents for future development and lowers the standards for all future variance requests. Getting a variance is becoming the 'norm' rather than the exception.
In 1989 the Town adopted a local bylaw, and in 2001 adopted Rules and Regulations applicable to the local Bylaw. While many homes may have existed prior to that date, our Town knowingly adopted these laws to prevent further encroachment into wetlands and coastal resources. By signing below we, the Citizens of the Town of Cohasset, respectfully request that the Conservation Commission uphold the local Wetland Bylaw, and require strict adherence to the standards necessary to obtain a Variance. Any applicant should be required to meet the standards by showing:
Section 13 of the Wetlands Regulations provides: “Variances are to be granted only in extenuating cases, and shall be granted only in rare and unusual circumstances...” This provision goes on to state: “A variance may be granted only for the following reasons and upon the following conditions: (i) upon a clear and convincing showing by the applicant that any proposed work or its natural and consequential impacts and will not have any adverse effect upon any of the interest protected in the Bylaw; or (ii) when it is necessary to avoid so restricting the use of the property as to constitute an unconstitutional taking without compensation under Massachusetts law.” Lastly, this provision further states: “The burden of proof is on the applicant that the proposed work shall have no adverse effect upon the interests protected….”
The Conservation Commission is not charged with resolving neighborhood disputes. They are, however, charged with UPHOLDING the Bylaw.
Absent a showing based upon full and complete information and proof that all elements of the Variance standard have been satisfied, we urge the Commission to deny any Application for any Property that fails to meet these requirements.