The following Conservation Commission Members served in 2009: Mr. David Barnicle (Chairman, Forestry Liaison and Public Lands Advisory Committee Liaison), Mr. Edward Goodwin (Community Preservation Committee Liaison), and Mrs. Donna Grehl (Lakes Advisory Committee Liaison), and new members Mr. Jeff Bonja (Trails Master Planning Committee Liaison), and Ms. Wendy Lilly-Hansen. The Commission also welcomed two new Associate Members, Mr. Calvin Montigny (Trails Master Planning Committee Liaison) and Mr. Joe Kowalski. The Commission would also like to thank Dr. David Mitchell (former Vice-Conservation Commission Chairman, Lakes Monitoring Sponsor, and liaison to the Lakes Advisory Committee) for his hard work as a Conservation Commissioner over the years and also for his ongoing volunteer efforts with the Towns Lakes Monitoring Program, and the Lakes Advisory Committee. The Commission would also like to thank Mr. Frank Damiano for his service as a Conservation Commissioner.
Erin Jacque has been serving as Conservation Agent since December of 2007. Nancy Brunell has served as Conservation Commission Recording Secretary since April of 2008. In early August the Conservation Department also welcomed Leslie Wong as the new Open Space Assistant.
What Does the Conservation Commission Do? The Conservation Commission regulates work in or within 200 feet of any wetland resource area. Work regulated by the Conservation Commission includes (but is not limited to) the following types of activities: vegetation removal, excavation, erection of any type of structure, creation of impervious areas (paving a driveway) etc. The scope of work and the distance from the wetland resource area dictates the type of permit needed. The Commission reviews a variety of projects ranging from the construction of sheds/decks in the 200-foot buffer zone to major residential subdivisions and commercial developments located in jurisdictional areas. Project review can take place in as little as a few months, or can take over a year depending on the complexity of the project. When a completed application is submitted to the office, the Conservation Commission will hold a public hearing/meeting within 21 days. Typically, the first hearing is a presentation of the project given by the Applicant or the Applicant’s representative. After the first hearing, the Commission and/or the Conservation Agent will visit the project site to review the wetlands in the field and review the proposed work. The second public hearing includes review of any observations on the site visit and any outstanding concerns/questions. Multiple hearings and multiple plan revisions may be necessary for larger or more complicated plans. Once the public hearing is closed, the Conservation Commission has 21 days to issue the approval/denial permit. For additional information on the wetland permitting process and procedures in Sturbridge, please refer to the Town’s permit Guidebook posted on the Town of Sturbridge web site or contact the Conservation Office.
During 2009, the Conservation Commission reviewed a variety of new projects. Most projects are related to residential development, however the Commission also reviews commercial, industrial, utility (public and private), roadway, and remediation/restoration projects. The following list of permits that the Commission reviewed and/or issued in 2009: