To the Editor:
I am writing in response to comments expressed in a recent Letter to the Editor wherein libelous statements were made against me personally and my statements have been taken out of the context within which they were made; which have then been interpreted to mean something nefarious and illegal, suggesting the need for the District Attorney or the Attorney General to be called. Really.
The opinion expressed by local resident Beth Underwood reflects ignorance of the Wetlands Protection Act, the Public Hearing Process, and the duty of the local Conservation Commission. Perhaps it would have been wiser to have some understanding of the same before you put pen to paper in ignorance?
If you have any question about the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission’s March 12 meeting, go to the tape; we are on TV and recorded at each meeting. All meetings are recorded and are a matter of public record and available for your viewing pleasure on the Town website. The message that the current Commission wishes to convey is that our process is a transparent and inclusive one and that we seek to be consensus builders.
Moreover, projects which may have significant impacts on our local resource areas, as identified by the Wetlands Protection Act, are also subject to jurisdiction and oversight by State AND Federal authorities such as: MassDEP, EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MA Fish and Wildlife, MA Division of Marine Fisheries, National Heritage, Endangered Species, MEPA & NEPA just to cite a few of the agencies that review projects BEFORE the local Commission issues the actual Orders of Conditions, which are done with the input of licensed Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Wetland Science Professionals as well as our own local Conservation Agent. There is abundant and overlapping oversight by many.
“…condition projects locally…” YES. Unequivocally YES. I said that and what it means is that the current Commission will seek to obtain consensus from the abutters to local projects, such that their concerns are respected and that each Applicant’s design mitigates those concerns to the extent of our local jurisdiction as defined under the Wetlands Protection Act, AFTER review is completed by the aforementioned agencies at the State and Federal level. There are limits, however, to what we can do under the Wetlands Protection Act as a matter of Right and the Rule of Law which protect the Applicant, too. The context of my statement is to keep the conditioning process local and avoid what are known as “Superseding Orders of Conditions,” which are a matter of Right, but which normally do NOT respect local concerns.
The process to appeal any decision that we render exists as an additional check and balance, for anyone with standing that feels otherwise, for appeal to MassDEP and or Superior Court. The Wetlands Protection Act is a LAW designed to protect the resources we all enjoy. It provides for a regulatory process that is thorough, inclusive and respectful of all party’s concerns. Local Applicants in Mattapoisett need to know that the Commission does not exist to say no, we exist to say yes, provided you follow the rule of law.
It is clear from the Letter that was published that the author might want to better understand and learn how the process works before you assassinate the character of five local residents that volunteer their time to support what they believe in and hold dear, which are the Resource Areas that make Mattapoisett Special for ALL of the residents that live here.
Chairman, Mattapoisett Conservation Commission
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