Greenfield Conservation Commission Declines to Weigh in on City’s Bid to Ease Wetlands Restrictions

Wednesday’s Republican reports:

The Conservation Commission last night voted not to take a position on the city’s bid to ease wetlands restrictions to facilitate development.

“I don’t think we should get involved … We’re supposed to be neutral,” commission member Charles N. Koch said…

The proposals come from the city Planning Department, and specifically from Marlene Marrocco, assistant to the mayor for economic development and marketing.

The current 200-foot buffer for rivers, under the proposal and subject to state approval, would be shrunk to 25 feet in the case of Wheeler and Smead brooks…

Marrocco said there is development in the wings that might proceed if the existing wetlands requirements were eased…

Commission member Alexander J. Haro said that one of the problems in the proposal is that it is meant for economic development, not for wetlands protection.

“This is apparently at the request of a developer and the type and extent of development is unknown,” he said.

Haro said also that “25 feet is too small a buffer,” and would be detrimental to wildlife habitat.

See also:

The proposed ordinance is not consistent with past practice, and favors substantial new encroachments on Northampton’s wetlands

Northampton’s Flood and Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan: Wetlands Buffers of 100 Feet Are an Effective Flood Mitigation Strategy and Should Be Consistently Enforced

Northampton Open Space Plan: “This loss of habitat and natural flood buffering areas is Northampton’s most serious environmental problem”