Appeals Court Affirms Local Wetlands Bylaw Decision

Attorney George X. Pucci obtained a ruling from the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirming a decision of the Nantucket Superior Court which upheld an order of conditions issued by the Nantucket Conservation Commission denying an application to construct an elevated walkway over bordering vegetated wetlands.  The Commission had denied the application under both the local wetlands protection bylaw which required a variance for any alteration within 25-feet of bordering vegetated wetland, and under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, which applied less stringent standards.  The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection had issued a superseding order of conditions which would have allowed the project to proceed, but the Superior Court agreed with the Commission that the project was correctly denied under the more restrictive local wetland bylaw, which adds wildlife and wetland scenic views as additional interests to those protected under the Wetlands Protection Act, and which required the applicant to obtain a variance.  The Appeals Court agreed with the Commission and the Superior Court that there was sufficient evidence to justify the Commission’s rejection of the opinions of the applicant’s consultants that there would be no adverse impacts on interests protected by the local bylaw, particularly on wildlife.