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Raynham, Massachusetts.  Incorporated 1731

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Conservation Commission Permiting Process Abutter's Guide
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Conservation Commission Permitting Process
Abutter's Guide

The Raynham Conservation Commission has prepared this guide to explain what you, as an abutter to a proposal to conduct work in or near wetlands, can expect during the project review. It is not intended as a legal guide, but should help you understand how to participate in hearings, obtain information, and to communicate any concerns you may have effectively. To reach the Conservation Commission, please contact our office at 508-824-2706 or email gsantos@town.raynham.ma.us. We are located on the ground floor of the Raynham Town Hall 558 South Main Street.

Why am I Receiving This Notice?
You are receiving this notice because you are an abutter (as defined by law) to a property where work is being proposed in or near wetlands. The Law requires that the project proponent inform abutters when the Conservation Commission will hold a public hearing where the proposed work will be reviewed.

How Can I Find Out More About What Is Proposed?
The application and supporting materials are on file at the Conservation Commission office. You are welcome to review this information and may pay for copies of any information that you would like to keep. Copies cost $1.00/page. Our office is generally open weekdays from 8:30-4:30pm, except on Fridays when we are open until 12:00 pm. Please call ahead so that the supporting material is available before you visit.

What Should I Expect at the Public Hearing?
At the first hearing, the applicant or property owner will present plans and explain what is proposed for the Commission and the audience. The Commission will ask questions. There will be an opportunity for those in the audience to ask questions and offer opinions. Comments may also be submitted in writing at or before the hearing.
Since the Commission often hears several projects in an evening, the project you are concerned with may be at the beginning or end of the meeting. The agenda is always published in advance. At the end of the hearing the project could be closed (if there is no more information to be received or presented) or continued (if the Commission needs additional information, or the applicant requests a continuance). Continued hearings may be several weeks or months in the future depending on how long the applicant needs to gather the additional information and the Commission schedule. You will not receive notice of the continued hearing date; however the date will be discussed during the hearing and will appear in future published agendas.
Occasionally the hearing process is delayed due to weather, absence of a Board member, or the applicant's request. To confirm that the hearing is being held on a scheduled date, you can contact the Conservation Commission office.
How Can I Make My Concerns Known If I Cannot Attend?
Comments may be submitted in writing prior to the close of the public hearing. Copies will be provided to the Commission members. As with all testimony (oral or written), it is most helpful to raise concerns early in the process. Written comments must be submitted two (2) business days prior to hearing date.

What Happens After The Hearing?
After the hearing and record is closed, no new information can be submitted or considered. The Commission deliberates and issues a decision - called an Order of Conditions - at a Commission meeting, within 21 days of the close of the hearing. The Commission generally either approves the plan with conditions or denies it if it cannot be adequately conditioned to protect the wetland resource areas. Interested individuals are welcome to attend and listen to the Commission's deliberation, but may not make further comments.

What Issues Does the Commission Consider?
The Commission can only consider the effect that the project has on the wetland resource and ways to mitigate the impact it may have if any. This ability is well defined by local by-laws, and state regulations related to the protection of wetland resources.  Testimony (oral or written) should be limited to wetland issues.
Will I Be Notified of the Decision?
No copies of the decisions are sent to the abutters; however you may request a copy of any decision from the Conservation Commission office. The owner is also required to record the decision and Order of Conditions with the Registry of Deeds. Permits are generally valid for three (3) years; they may be extended by the Commission at the applicant's request.
How Can I Appeal?
Appeals of the Conservation Commission's decisions are handled in two ways.
Appeals of a decision under the  Wetlands Protection Act (are referred to as a Request for a Superceding Order of Conditions) and must be made to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) within ten (10) days, using a form supplied by the DEP. Appeals may be made by abutters, ten (10) residents of the community or the DEP.
Appeals under the Raynham Town Wetland Protection By-laws must be made to the Superior Court by an aggrieved party.
Suggestions for Presenting Testimony at Public Hearings.
  • State your name and address for the record before you speak and each time you speak
  • Use the proposed plan, at the front of the room, to point out areas of concern
  • State all of your questions or concerns at once and the allow the next person to speak
  • Be polite and respectful of differing opinions
  • While you may have questions of the applicant, you should address them to the Commission
  • Avoid personal attacks, stick to the issues relating to the project and within the scope of the Commission (for example, issues with traffic and noise are outside the scope of the Conservation Commission)
  • Don't ask to speak again until everyone has had a chance to be heard
  • It is fine to say "I agree with Mr. Smith about the drainage issue" rather than restating the same concerns again
  • Comments made at one hearing need not be repeated at subsequent hearings unless they have not been addressed

 
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