Weston Massachusetts Planning Board 3/25/09
Weston Massachusetts Planning Board 3/19/09 Part 1/3
Weston Massachusetts Planning Board 3/18/2009
On March 19th there was a hearing on significant changes to the By Laws regarding Storm Water/Drainage. These changes will likely affect all property owners in Weston. “ Stormwater and Erosion Control” and Illicit Discharge
Please make sure to e-mail your Storm Water Committee and your Selectmen and ask how this proposal will affect you and your property. Prevent your next landscaping or septic system replacement project from becoming an expensive bureaucratic undertaking. firstname.lastname@example.org Charlip.email@example.com Gillespie.firstname.lastname@example.org Harrity.email@example.com What does this Storm Water proposal mean in money terms for you?
The black bullets - is what other towns do, as well as what is in Weston proposal The red bullets - are the superfluous requirements in the Weston proposal, that would be
in addition to what every other town does…. For a single family home, depending on the scope of the project, the prices are as follows: · Average Storm Water drainage sys tem design cost – from $1000 to $2,500 · Average Storm Water system installation cost - $5,000 to $25,000 · Average price to get an attorney to participate in and record this procedure – from $1000 -$5,000 · Average cost to reduce pre-disturbance water flow by 10% for 2-year storm (6 inches of rain) – $2,500 – 12,000 · Average price to produce a post disturbance planting plan - $500 - $5,000
The following comments were written by an engineering firm that we hired to review the proposal. This firm services many local towns. Here is their opinion: Town of Weston Storm water Bylaw, draft, 2-23-09 Comments & Concerns 1.1 b) 10% reduction in a 2 year storm event is greater than most other Cities, Towns and State 1. 2 i) States to reduce lot coverage by limiting impervious cover and preservation of existing trees
and vegetation which will be open to interpretation and the opinion of the Storm water Bylaw board.
Reduction of impervious cover should be controlled by a lot coverage percentage. The only appeal avenue is to Superior court. 1.2 k) What is meant by adequate funding mechanism and is surety for long term maintenance of the storm water facilities. 2 a) The definition of clearing is very broad and could be interpreted to make drainage required to remove some shrubs or
even resoding a lawn 2 b) The definition of “redevelopment” states an increase in impervious area which will be considered
redevelopment and will trigger compliance with this Bylaw. 4.1) With this Bylaw a Storm Water management permit would be required on almost every project from
small additions as well as the resurfacing of a driveway 4.1 b) No exemption for larger lots, a 5000 sf minimum disturbance will require a storm water permit. 4.1.c) Any work on a slop greater than 10% the disturbance is limited to 2500 sf and is contradicted in
section 5f-g) which states any disturbance on a slope of greater than 10% is not exempt. 4.1 e) Re-loaming and seeding 10000 sf of backyard lawn with 3 inches of loam will trigger a storm water
permit. 5 i) Any expansion to an existing septic system will trigger a storm water permit. 6.17 a2) Conservation Commission appeal is to the DEP, while this Storm Water Bylaws appeal is to
the Superior Court. 6.7) The time that is be requested (60 days) is twice as long as the time allowed to issue a building permit. 6.8) the only appeal to this Bylaw is with Superior Court. 6.14 a) Private consultants are very expensive and these reviews are typically done by existing staff or the
Town Engineer which would save the applicants the burden of this cost. 6. 15) may require a cash performance guarantee to ensure compliance and long term maintenance of all
permanent erosion control and storm water management measures. General Comments 1) All of these requirements will lower the value of existing properties due to the cost and time required to obtain and implementing a Storm Water Management Permit
Read the article in the entry below to find out how else the proposal could affect you. Get informed!
Storm water by-law summary
This year we are faced with two major law proposals for our town:
• Storm water run-off laws
• Re-codification of Weston zoning
After I read both, I can’t shake off the similarity of these to the
recent “rescue packages” phenomenon. Too much, too vague, pushed at us
Storm water run-off has been a problem in this town for years. We
are actually one of the few towns in the area that have not addressed
it yet in our by-law. However, as it often happens with those who are
late to the party: we are trying to catch up in a hurry and
overzealously, and as a result, we are only hurting ourselves.
If this proposal is not altered to be a bit more sympathetic to the
residents of this town and not just to the water run-off issues, each
one of us will be faced with lots of unnecessary difficulties when
selling or buying or modifying, or simply maintaining our properties.
According to this proposal, every time you have to redo a septic
system, do an addition on a house, build a bunch of decorative stone
walls, move or change the size and shape of your driveway, add a pool
on your property, or build a replacement home, you will have to face
some serious financial burdens, cumbersome permitting process and big
We are not the first town to make these laws, but we are, as far as
I know, the first one to do it in such a burdensome manner to its
residents. Other towns that have these laws in place have pretty simple
procedures and rules. The officials admit that we are the ONLY town to do it this way!!
Here is how it is done in practically every other town:
• It’s a permit, like any other building or septic system permit, with 30 day limits,
• The fees are predefined, reasonable and stable,
• The law is enforced and permitted by a town engineer, since storm
water run-off is a science of exact calculations and thus an
engineering specialty, not a planning board or zoning board specialty.
• No deed registration required (as this is a regular permit, not a variance or a special permit)
By contrast in Weston we now have a proposal as follows:
• The Storm Water Permitting Authority will be a 5 person committee
(including some members from planning, zoning and/or conservation
boards) with a 45 day action limit. If adopted as it reads today, this
law will mean that you will need public hearings to obtain these
permits. This proposal will regulate not only storm water, but also
tree planting and removal issues, like any Site Plan Approval process
does today. This proposal requires for your “planting plan” as well as
your storm water run-off plan. Just think what it means. This is an
extremely expensive way to get a storm water permit. We are not talking
about BIG houses here. We are talking about septic systems, driveways
and landscaping among other things…
The storm water committee also proposes that their decision on your
property be final and have no appeal possibility, because they are incerting it in the “general” part of the by-laws.This means that the permit to do a patio, your choice of landscape,
a change of driveway, a pool, your chosen location of septic or an addition can be
simply denied because these 5 people do not think they want it there.
• Fees and procedures on how this by-law will work will be also decided
without your input by this committee.
It is what was done for the Planning Board Approval process
and it is the most cumbersome and expensive process I have ever seen
anywhere. Since there is no voter oversight of these rules and
regulations, it has grown over the years into a process that resembles
more a commercial subdivision special permit review than a single
family home approval.
• The permit conditions will have to be registered into your deed (as a
restriction, of sorts), like they do with Site Plan Approval conditions.
• The technical conditions that have to be met for the permit are also
more restrictive than in other towns. If you as much as have to replace
5-6 trucks of loom in your back yard (100 cubic yards) when landscaping –
you will have to apply for this “special storm water permit”. This
means that any 20 by 20 patio will trigger this permitting procedure.
In this proposal to obtain a permit – you have to make sure that after
your project in a two year storm 10% less water runs off your property
than before you started your project. This does not make any sense. It should be that
project’s impact is ZERO, not 10% less. Why should you decrease what is
natural for your lot? Where will you put this additional 10 %? Into
your own land? Does that mean that you have to decrease by 10% EVERY
time you do a project on your lot? That is simply not practical.
• There is a suggestion that the permit fee maybe about $750
That would be part of rules and regulations which we
do not have access to (since it is proposed to be decided without
Storm water run-off is an exact science with straightforward
calculations. It is not and should not become a design-by-committee,
prolonged bureaucratic procedure. Our Planning Board approval process
is already ridden with unprecedented amount of bureaucracy. This
proposed storm water process walks and talks just like our Planning
Board Approval process, which was designed based on old Special Permit
practices. It feels like a “special permit”. However, while Planning
Board approval process until now touched only a few builders and
homeowners in town – this process will affect EVERY resident, because
every one of us will have to replace our septic or do some serious
landscaping one day.
This by-law is too important to ignore. Educate yourself, check the
proposal on the town website and come to the next hearing at the end of April. We
need the storm water by-law, but it has to be done with care for the
residents of our town as well as the storm water.
Written by a Concerned Weston Resident
Weston Massachusetts Planning Board 3/10/09