Duties & Responsibilities
The Conservation Commission is responsible for protecting Williamsburg's natural resources including wetlands and selected open space lands.
In cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Williamsburg Conservation Commission administers and enforces the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act and the Massachusetts Rivers Protection Act. These laws protect ponds, rivers, river banks, streams, wetlands, floodplains, vernal pools, and other sensitive environmental resources, which are part of our ecosystem. This protection provides for clean water, nutrient-rich habitat, and wildlife feeding grounds. Residential and commercial projects near these resources require review and approval by the Conservation Commission.
With few exceptions, the Conservation Commission meets on the second Thursday of each month in the Planning Room on the second floor of the town offices. Meetings begin at 7:00pm.
Any proposed alteration of wetlands, buffer zones or riverfront areas should be described in a Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) Mass DEP form WPA 1 and submitted to the Conservation Commission. In certain cases, a Notice of Intent (NOI) Mass DEP form WPA 3 may be required. Once an applicant and the commission have chosen a date for a public hearing, the applicant must arrange for a public notice to be published in a local newpaper. The notice should be published at least a week before the public hearing so arrangements for publication should be made at least two weeks prior to the target meeting date. For guidance on publishing the required legal notice, please click here to view the "Legal Notice of Public Meeting Template for Applicants."
Building permit applicants are advised that any projects within wetland buffer zones or within 200 feet of a perennial stream or river must be approved by the Williamsburg Conservation Commission. Map views of approximate wetland or river resources can be found on the Mass DEP website: maps.massgis.state.ma.us/map_ol/oliver.php
Commissioners are also willing to review draft building plans and provide advice to applicants during a regularly scheduled meeting.
The granting of a building permit does not confer or imply any approval with respect to wetland regulations.
As part of the submittal, please include a plan or schematic that shows structures on the lot, the location of proposed work, and the distance to the river or stream, pond, wetlands, or other protected resource. Additionally, please include the general vegetation types, drainage direction, and elevations and contours, if available. Photographs of the site are very helpful. In locus maps, please provide street names and show a "north" arrow on the lot. The plan title and date should be referenced on the application.
The applicant is responsible for sending a copy of the Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) or Notice of Intent (NOI) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection office in Springfield as well as providing the original form and supporting materials to the Conservation Commission.