How to File a Wetlands Permit with the Boston Conservation Commission
The Boston Conservation Commission (BCC) administers the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act for the protection of wetland resource areas within the City of Boston. The BCC confirms wetland boundaries, reviews projects proposed in or near wetlands and defined buffer areas, and places conditions on development projects that affect wetlands. Some of the wetland resources protected under the Act include beaches, coastal banks, marshes, land subject to flooding, river banks, and land under waterbodies.
More Information about the Wetlands Protection Act »
Work that removes, fills, dredges, or alters a protected wetland resource area or its 100 foot buffer is subject to the Boston Conservation Commission’s jurisdiction and requires an Order of Conditions (Permit).
Determine If Your Project Requires a Permit »
Applicants are urged to retain the services of a qualified, experienced professional consultant when filing. Submission of incomplete or inadequate information may result in delays in the review process and/or continuations of the public hearing. Additionally, failure to provide adequate and complete documentation describing the impact of the project on resource areas may result in the issuance of a denial, prohibiting the work as described.
A Note on Sea Level Rise
In following with the Wetlands Protection Act’s interests specific to prevention of pollution and storm damage prevention, the BCC expects applicants to give consideration to future sea level rise over the design life of the project, particularly in determining the ground-level floor elevation for buildings, as well as the location of building mechanical equipment, utilities, storage areas for hazardous materials, underground garage portals, exhaust and ventilation infrastructure, and building entry points.
Overview of the Permit Process
STEP ONE: Obtain and Submit a Notice of Intent
To obtain a permit, a project proponent is required to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the Boston Conservation Commission (BCC) and Massachusetts State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Additional notice, filing, and submission requirements also apply.
Submission Requirements and Guidelines »
STEP TWO: Attend Public Hearings
Upon complete receipt of the NOI and additional requirements, the BCC will administer one or more public hearings to review the filings. The project proponent, their consultant, and the property owner must be present at each public hearing concerning their project.
Hearings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of every month unless otherwise noted. Hearings are also advertised in the Boston Herald; applicants (or their representatives, if applicable) are billed for the publication fee.
2015 Public Hearing Dates and Filing Deadlines
STEP THREE: Approval or Denial
Once public hearings have ended, the project proponent will be notified by the BCC of their permit's approval or denial.