Amendment to Wetlands Compliance Enforcement Regulation (November 22, 2021)
The Milton Conservation Commission Regulations Relating to the General Wetland Bylaw shall be amended as follows:
Section 7. Enforcement shall be amended by adding to the First Paragraph subsection (d), which now reads: (d) any person who violates any provision of the Bylaw." the following language: "…or the Wetlands Protection Act."
Thereafter the following paragraphs shall be added:
Upon receipt of information relating to a potential violation of the Wetlands Protection Act or the Milton Bylaw, the Commission should collect as much information as possible in order to document a violation. When a citizen complaint is received, the person receiving the information shall note the date, time, and name of any individual who has complained or inquired about the activities at a site. Anonymous complaints should be documented and the caller advised that his/her call will be treated with the same priority as other callers. The Commission should make every effort to protect the identity of a caller that requests to remain anonymous.
The Commission member or its agent should find out as much as possible from the caller about what is happening on the property. Inquiry should be made regarding what wetlands, resource area and/or water bodies have been impacted. What activities have been undertaken? How long have the activities been going on? Are people and construction equipment currently working on site? The Commission should determine who owns the property. The Commission should inquire if any company names and/or logos are visible on vehicles. The Commission should determine whether the caller can observe this activity from a public vantage point, or from the caller's own property.
The Commission or its agent should document and record the date of all telephone conversations and messages left about the alleged violation and any other persons or agencies that may be involved with the site.
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Commission should request access to the site from the property owner. For minor or suspected violations the Commission can utilize a Violation Notice printed on Milton Conservation Commission Stationery and signed by a Commission member or the Commission agent. The Violation Notice can be sent by certified mail or delivered to the subject property address of the alleged violator. The purpose of the Violation Notice is to provide for Commission access to the site as soon as practicable and to encourage voluntary compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.
For more serious violations and those that are apparent without a site inspection, an Enforcement Order can be issued which also seeks site access for a closer inspection. An Enforcement Order shall also identify the violation and the remedial actions required.
Any member of the Commission or its Agent may issue a Violation Notice or an Enforcement Order in a situation requiring immediate action. However, the Notice or Order must be ratified by a majority of the Commission members at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Milton Conservation Commission.
In all instances, the prior consent of the property owner should be solicited, in order to conduct a site visit. Prior consent may be requested in person, by telephone, by email or by certified letter. Receipt of the property owners consent should be documented in the Enforcement file. In every instance of a Violation Notice or an Enforcement Order the Commission shall maintain an enforcement file. If consent is withheld by the property owner then the Commission should view the site from abutting properties where consent has been obtained or from publicly accessible areas, including the air. If that is not possible the Commission should obtain an administrative warrant from the Court to enter upon the land. In extreme circumstances posing an imminent and substantial emergency that threatens public health or public safety, the Commission should contact the DEP and the Milton Police prior to entering the site.
In all instances of communication with a property owner or their representative, Milton Conservation Commission members or their agent(s) should identify themselves as such, and in all instances of site visits Milton Conservation Commission members and their agent(s) should possess appropriate identification issued by the Town of Milton.
Following the issuance of either a Violation Notice or an Enforcement Order the property owner or person receiving the Notice or Order shall be given an opportunity to respond at the next regularly scheduled public meeting of the Milton Conservation Commission or as soon as practicable following the issuance of the Notice or Order.
The last paragraph of the existing Section 7 now can be deleted, as duplicative.