NOTICE: The Commission currently has a vacancy. If you are interested in joining the Commission, please contact Deborah Cunningham, Administrative Clerk either by phone or email (please see above).
MEETINGS: 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 pm in the library. (See calendar on the left for exact dates.)
FILING INFORMATION: Filings requiring a legal notice are due TWO WEEKS prior to the hearing date. Please see the Commission's calendar on the left of this page for exact dates for filing deadlines.
PLEASE NOTE: A check made payable to Gloucester Daily Times in the amount of $107.00 together with a Request for Legal Notice form must accompany all filings. Filings which do not have both a check and the request form will be deemed incomplete. This could delay the project from being added to the Commission's agenda. The Request form can be obtained by using the link above or can be completed and signed at the time the application is submitted, if hand delivered.
About the Conservation Commission
In the 1950s, the need to protect the environmental resources in Massachusetts was well known. In 1957, Representative John Dolan of Ipswich filed a bill in the Legislature which eventually became the Conservation Commission Act (G.L. Chapter 40 §8C). The new law would allow municipalities to establish Conservation Commissions through a vote of the local legislative body. By 1958, twelve towns had already formed Conservation Commissions. In 1972, Conservation Commissions were given the responsibility of administering the Wetlands Protection Act (G.L. Ch. 131 §40). Click here to see a copy of the Act. This allowed the Conservation Commissions to serve their communities in a regulatory as well as a conservation capacity.
The Essex Conservation Commission reviews applications for permits to do work in and near wetlands, flood plains, banks, riverfront areas, beaches and surface waters. At this time, Essex does not have any non-zoning bylaws or ordinances giving the Commission further power to protect the wetlands. Although the Commission does review plans which must be approved by other regulatory boards, the sole responsibility of the Commission is to determine if a project will have significant impact upon environmental resources and if it falls within the scope of the Wetlands Protection Act. If a project falls outside of
the scope Wetlands Protection Act, no other action will be taken by the Commission. In Essex, it is required that most building permit applications be reviewed and approved by the Commission to determine if the project is covered under the Wetlands Protection Act.