*(Effective January 1, 1997, see P.A. 96-269, S. 3, 4.)
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. Section 22a-38 of the general statutes, as amended by section 92 of public act 95-79 and section 1 of public act 95-313, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:
As used in [sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive] SECTIONS 22a-36m TO 22a-38, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-323, AND SECTIONS 22a-40 TO 22a-45a, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT:
(1) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Environmental Protection; (2) "Person" means any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, limited liability company, company, organization or legal entity of any kind, including municipal corporations, governmental agencies or subdivisions thereof; (3) "Municipality" means any town, consolidated town and city, consolidated town and borough, city and borough; (4) "Inland wetlands agency" means a municipal board or commission established pursuant to and acting under section 22a-42; (5) "Soil scientist" means an individual duly qualified in accordance with standards set by the [United States Civil Service Commission] FEDERAL OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT; (6) "Material" means any substance, solid or liquid, organic or inorganic, including, but not limited to soil, sediment, aggregate, land, gravel, clay, bog, mud, debris, sand, refuse or waste; (7) "Waste" means sewage or any substance, liquid, gaseous, solid or radioactive, which may pollute or tend to pollute any of the waters of the state; (8) "Pollution" means harmful thermal effect or the contamination or rendering unclean or impure of any waters of the state by reason of any waste or other materials discharged or deposited therein by any public or private sewer or otherwise so as directly or indirectly to come in contact with any waters; (9) "Rendering unclean or impure" means any alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of any of the waters of the state, including, but not limited to change in odor, color, turbidity or taste; (10) "Discharge" means the emission of any water, substance or material into waters of the state whether or not such substance causes pollution; (11) "Remove" includes, but shall not be limited to drain, excavate, mine, dig, dredge, suck, bulldoze, dragline or blast; (12) "Deposit" includes, but shall not be limited to, fill, grade, dump, place, discharge or emit; (13) "Regulated activity" means any operation within or use of a wetland or watercourse involving removal or deposition of material, or any obstruction, construction, alteration or pollution, of such wetlands or watercourses, but shall not include the specified activities in section 22a-40; (14) "License" means the whole or any part of any permit, certificate of approval or similar form of permission which may be required of any person by the provisions of [sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive] SECTIONS 22a-36 TO 22a-38, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313, AND SECTIONS 22a-40 TO 22a-45a, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT; (15) "Wetlands" means land, including submerged land, not regulated pursuant to sections 22a-28 to 22a-35, inclusive, which consists of any of the soil types designated as poorly drained, very poorly drained, alluvial, and floodplain by the National Cooperative Soils Survey, as may be amended from time to time, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture; (16) "Watercourses" means rivers, streams, brooks, waterways, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs and all other bodies of water, natural or artificial, vernal or intermittent, public or private, which are contained within, flow through or border upon this state or any portion thereof, not regulated pursuant to sections 22a-28 to 22a-35, inclusive. Intermittent watercourses shall be delineated by a defined permanent channel and bank and the occurrence of [one] TWO or more of the following characteristics: (A) Evidence of scour or deposits of recent alluvium or detritus, (B) the presence of standing or flowing water for a duration longer than a particular storm incident, and (C) the presence of hydrophytic vegetation (17) "FEASIBLE" MEANS ABLE TO BE CONSTRUCTED OR IMPLEMENTED CONSISTENT WITH SOUND ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES; (18) "PRUDENT" MEANS ECONOMICALLY AND OTHERWISE REASONABLE IN LIGHT OF THE SOCIAL BENEFITS TO BE DERIVED FROM THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY PROVIDED COST MAY BE CONSIDERED IN DECIDING WHAT IS PRUDENT AND FURTHER PROVIDED A MERE SHOWING OF EXPENSE WILL NOT NECESSARILY MEAN AN ALTERNATIVE IS IMPRUDENT.
Sec. 2. Section 22a-41 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:
(a) In carrying out the purposes and policies of [sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive,] 22a-36 TO 22a-38, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313, AND SECTIONS 22a-40 TO 22a-45a, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, including matters relating to regulating, licensing and enforcing of the provisions thereof, the commissioner shall take into consideration all relevant facts and circumstances, including but not limited to: (1) The environmental impact of the proposed [action] REGULATED ACTIVITY ON WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES; (2) [The alternatives to the proposed action] THE APPLICANT'S PURPOSE FOR, AND ANY FEASIBLE AND PRUDENT ALTERNATIVES TO, THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY WHICH ALTERNATIVES WOULD CAUSE LESS OR NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT TO WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES; (3) The relationship between [short-term uses of the environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity] THE SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM IMPACTS OF THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY ON WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES AND THE MAINTENANCE AND ENHANCEMENT OF LONG-TERM PRODUCTIVITY OF SUCH WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES; (4) [Irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed activity] IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE LOSS OF WETLAND OR WATERCOURSE RESOURCES WHICH WOULD BE CAUSED BY THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY, INCLUDING THE EXTENT TO WHICH SUCH ACTIVITY WOULD FORECLOSE A FUTURE ABILITY TO PROTECT, ENHANCE OR RESTORE SUCH RESOURCES, AND ANY MITIGATION MEASURES WHICH MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A CONDITION OF ISSUING A PERMIT FOR SUCH ACTIVITY INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, MEASURES TO (A) PREVENT OR MINIMIZE POLLUTION OR OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE, (B) MAINTAIN OR ENHANCE EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, OR (C) IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PRIORITY: RESTORE, ENHANCE AND CREATE PRODUCTIVE WETLAND OR WATERCOURSE RESOURCES; (5) The character and degree of injury to, or interference with, safety, health or the reasonable use of property which is caused or threatened BY THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY; and (6) [The suitability or unsuitability of such activity to the area for which it is proposed] IMPACTS OF THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY ON WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES OUTSIDE THE AREA FOR WHICH THE ACTIVITY IS PROPOSED AND FUTURE ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATED WITH, OR REASONABLY RELATED TO, THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY WHICH ARE MADE INEVITABLE BY THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY AND WHICH MAY HAVE AN IMPACT ON WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES.
(b) (1) In the case of an application which received a public hearing PURSUANT TO (A) SUBSECTION (k) OF SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313 OR (B) A FINDING BY THE INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY THAT THE PROPOSED ACTIVITY MAY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES, a permit shall not be issued unless the commissioner finds ON THE BASIS OF THE RECORD that a feasible and prudent alternative does not exist. In making his finding the commissioner shall consider the facts and circumstances set forth in subsection (a). The finding and the reasons therefor shall be stated on the record IN WRITING. (2) IN THE CASE OF AN APPLICATION WHICH IS DENIED ON THE BASIS OF A FINDING THAT THERE MAY BE FEASIBLE AND PRUDENT ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY WHICH HAVE LESS ADVERSE IMPACT ON WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES, THE COMMISSIONER OR THE INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY, AS THE CASE MAY BE, SHALL PROPOSE ON THE RECORD IN WRITING THE TYPES OF ALTERNATIVES WHICH THE APPLICANT MAY INVESTIGATE PROVIDED THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO SHIFT THE BURDEN FROM THE APPLICANT TO PROVE THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO THE PERMIT OR TO PRESENT ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED REGULATED ACTIVITY.
Sec. 3. Section 22a-42 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:
(a) To carry out and effectuate the purposes and policies of [sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive] SECTIONS 22a-36 TO 22a-38, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313, AND SECTIONS 22a-40 TO 22a-45a, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, it is hereby declared to be the public policy of the state to require municipal regulation of activities affecting the wetlands and watercourses within the territorial limits of the various municipalities or districts.
(b) Any municipality may acquire wetlands and watercourses within its territorial limits by gift or purchase, in fee or lesser interest including, but not limited to, lease, easement or covenant, subject to such reservations and exceptions as it deems advisable.
(c) On or before July 1, 1988, each municipality shall establish an inland wetlands agency or authorize an existing board or commission to carry out the provisions of [sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive] SECTIONS 22a-36 TO 22a-38, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313, AND SECTIONS 22a-40 TO 22a-45, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT. Each municipality, acting through its legislative body, may authorize any board or commission, as may be by law authorized to act, or may establish a new board or commission to promulgate such regulations, in conformity with the regulations adopted by the commissioner pursuant to section 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313, as are necessary to protect the wetlands and watercourses within its territorial limits. The ordinance establishing the new board or commission shall determine the number of members and alternate members, the length of their terms, the method of selection and removal and the manner for filling vacancies in the new board or commission. No member or alternate member of such board or commission shall participate in the hearing or decision of such board or commission of which he is a member upon any matter in which he is directly or indirectly interested in a personal or financial sense. In the event of such disqualification, such fact shall be entered on the records of such board or commission and replacement shall be made from alternate members of an alternate to act as a member of such commission in the hearing and determination of the particular matter or matters in which the disqualification arose. For the purposes of this section, the board or commission authorized by the municipality or district, as the case may be, shall serve as the sole agent for the licensing of regulated activities.
(d) AT LEAST ONE MEMBER OF THE INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY OR STAFF OF THE AGENCY SHALL BE A PERSON WHO HAS COMPLETED THE COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING PROGRAM DEVELOPED BY THE COMMISSIONER PURSUANT TO SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313. FAILURE TO HAVE A MEMBER OF THE AGENCY OR STAFF WITH TRAINING SHALL NOT AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF ANY ACTION OF THE AGENCY. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ANNUALLY MAKE SUCH PROGRAM AVAILABLE TO ONE PERSON FROM EACH TOWN WITHOUT COST TO THAT PERSON OR THE TOWN. EACH INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY SHALL HOLD A MEETING AT LEAST ONCE ANNUALLY AT WHICH INFORMATION IS PRESENTED TO THE MEMBERS OF THE AGENCY WHICH SUMMARIZES THE PROVISIONS OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL DEVELOP SUCH INFORMATION IN CONSULTATION WITH INTERESTED PERSONS AFFECTED BY THE REGULATION OF INLAND WETLANDS AND SHALL PROVIDE FOR DISTRIBUTION OF VIDEO PRESENTATIONS AND RELATED WRITTEN MATERIALS WHICH CONVEY SUCH INFORMATION TO INLAND WETLANDS AGENCIES. IN ADDITION TO SUCH MATERIALS, THE COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION WITH SUCH PERSONS, SHALL PREPARE MATERIALS WHICH PROVIDE GUIDANCE TO MUNICIPALITIES IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION (f) OF SECTION 22a-42a, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 4 OF THIS ACT.
[(d)] (e) Any municipality, pursuant to ordinance, may act through the board or commission authorized in subsection (c) of this section to join with any other municipalities in the formation of a district for the regulation of activities affecting the wetlands and watercourses within such district. Any city or borough may delegate its authority to regulate inland wetlands under this section to the town in which it is located.
[(e)] (f) Municipal or district ordinances or regulations may embody any regulations promulgated hereunder, in whole or in part, or may consist of other ordinances or regulations in conformity with regulations promulgated hereunder. Any ordinances or regulations shall be for the purpose of effectuating the purposes of [sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive] SECTIONS 22a-36 TO 22a-38, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313, AND SECTIONS 22a-40 TO 22a-45, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, and, a municipality or district, in acting upon ordinances and regulations shall [give due consideration to the standards] INCORPORATE THE FACTORS set forth in section 22a-41, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF THIS ACT.
[(f)] (g) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to limit the existing authority of a municipality or any boards or commissions of the municipality, provided the commissioner shall retain authority to act on any application filed with said commissioner prior to the establishment or designation of an inland wetlands agency by a municipality.
Sec. 4. Section 22a-42a of the general statutes, as amended by section 3 of public act 95-313, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:
(a) The inland wetlands agencies authorized in section 22a-42, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 3 OF THIS ACT, shall through regulation provide for (1) the manner in which the boundaries of inland wetland and watercourse areas in their respective municipalities shall be established and amended or changed, (2) the form for an application to conduct regulated activities, (3) notice and publication requirements, (4) criteria and procedures for the review of applications and (5) administration and enforcement.
(b) No regulations of an inland wetlands agency including boundaries of inland wetland and watercourse areas shall become effective or be established until after a public hearing in relation thereto is held by the inland wetlands agency, at which parties in interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in the form of a legal advertisement, appearing in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days, before such hearing, and a copy of such proposed regulation or boundary shall be filed in the office of the town, city or borough clerk as the case may be, in such municipality, for public inspection at least ten days before such hearing, and may be published in full in such paper. A copy of the notice and the proposed regulations or amendments thereto, except determinations of boundaries, shall be provided to the commissioner at least thirty-five days before such hearing. Such regulations and inland wetland and watercourse boundaries may be from time to time amended, changed or repealed, by majority vote of the inland wetlands agency, after a public hearing in relation thereto is held by the inland wetlands agency, at which parties in interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard and for which notice shall be published in the manner specified in this subsection. Regulations or boundaries or changes therein shall become effective at such time as is fixed by the inland wetlands agency, provided a copy of such regulation, boundary or change shall be filed in the office of the town, city or borough clerk, as the case may be. Whenever an inland wetlands agency makes a change in regulations or boundaries it shall state upon its records the reason why the change was made and shall provide a copy of such regulation, boundary or change to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection no later than ten days after its adoption provided failure to submit such regulation, boundary or change shall not impair the validity of such regulation, boundary or change. All petitions submitted in writing and in a form prescribed by the inland wetlands agency, requesting a change in the regulations or the boundaries of an inland wetland and watercourse area shall be considered at a public hearing in the manner provided for establishment of inland wetlands regulations and boundaries within ninety days after receipt of such petition. The inland wetlands agency shall act upon the changes requested in such petition within sixty days after the hearing. The petitioner may consent to one or more extensions of the periods specified in this subsection for the holding of the hearing and for action on such petition, provided the total extension of any such period shall not be for longer than the original period as specified in this subsection, or may withdraw such petition. The failure of the inland wetlands agency to act within any time period specified in this subsection, or any extension thereof, shall not be deemed to constitute approval of the petition.
(c) (1) On and after the effective date of the municipal regulations promulgated pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, no regulated activity shall be conducted upon any inland wetland [and] OR watercourse without a permit. Any person proposing to conduct or cause to be conducted a regulated activity upon an inland wetland [and] OR watercourse shall file an application with the inland wetlands agency of the town or towns wherein the wetland in question is located. The application shall be in such form and contain such information as the inland wetlands agency may prescribe. The day of receipt of an application shall be the day of the next regularly scheduled meeting of such inland wetlands agency, immediately following the day of submission to such inland wetlands agency or its agent of such application, provided such meeting is no earlier than three business days after receipt, or thirty-five days after such submission, whichever is sooner. [No later than sixty-five days after the receipt of such application, the] THE inland wetlands agency [may] SHALL NOT hold a public hearing on such application UNLESS THE INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY DETERMINES THAT THE PROPOSED ACTIVITY MAY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES, A PETITION SIGNED* BY AT LEAST TWENTY-FIVE PERSONS REQUESTING A HEARING IS FILED WITH THE AGENCY NOT LATER THAN THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE SUBMISSION OF SUCH APPLICATION OR THE AGENCY FINDS THAT A PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING SUCH APPLICATION WOULD BE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. SUCH HEARING SHALL BE HELD NO LATER THAN SIXTY-FIVE DAYS AFTER THE RECEIPT OF SUCH APPLICATION. Notice of the hearing shall be published at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days and not fewer than ten days, and the last not less than two days before the date set for the hearing in a newspaper having a general circulation in each town where the affected wetland [and] OR watercourse, or any part thereof, is located. All applications and maps and documents relating thereto shall be open for public inspection. At such hearing any person or persons may appear and be heard. The hearing shall be completed within forty-five days of its commencement. Action shall be taken on such application within thirty-five days after the completion of a public hearing or in the absence of a public hearing within sixty-five days from the date of receipt of such application. The applicant may consent to one or more extensions of the periods specified in this subsection for the holding of the hearing and for action on such application, provided the total extension of any such period shall not be for longer than the original period as specified in this subsection, or may withdraw such application. If the inland wetlands agency, OR ITS AGENT, fails to act on any application within thirty-five days after the completion of a public hearing or in the absence of a public hearing within sixty-five days from the date of receipt of the application, or within any extension of any such period, the applicant may file such application with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection who shall review and act on such application in accordance with this section. Any costs incurred by the commissioner in reviewing such application for such inland wetlands agency shall be paid by the municipality that established or authorized the agency. Any fees that would have been paid to such municipality if such application had not been filed with the commissioner shall be paid to the state. The failure of the inland wetlands agency or the commissioner to act within any time period specified in this subsection, or any extension thereof, shall not be deemed to constitute approval of the application.
*(Revisors' note: Due to a scrivener's error, the words "... IMPACT ON WETLANDS OR WATERCOURSES, A PETITION SIGNED ..." were incorrectly printed in the engrossed bill as "... IMPACT ON WETLANDS, WATERCOURSES OR A PETITION SIGNED ...".)
(2) AN INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY MAY DELEGATE TO ITS DULY AUTHORIZED AGENT THE AUTHORITY TO APPROVE OR EXTEND AN ACTIVITY THAT IS NOT LOCATED IN A WETLAND OR WATERCOURSE WHEN SUCH AGENT FINDS THAT THE CONDUCT OF SUCH ACTIVITY WOULD RESULT IN NO GREATER THAN A MINIMAL IMPACT ON ANY WETLAND OR WATERCOURSE PROVIDED SUCH AGENT HAS COMPLETED THE COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING PROGRAM DEVELOPED BY THE COMMISSIONER PURSUANT TO SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED. ANY PERSON RECEIVING SUCH APPROVAL FROM SUCH AGENT SHALL, WITHIN TEN DAYS OF THE DATE OF SUCH APPROVAL, PUBLISH, AT THE APPLICANT'S EXPENSE, NOTICE OF THE APPROVAL IN A NEWSPAPER HAVING A GENERAL CIRCULATION IN THE TOWN WHEREIN THE ACTIVITY IS LOCATED OR WILL HAVE AN EFFECT. ANY PERSON MAY APPEAL SUCH DECISION OF SUCH AGENT TO THE INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY WITHIN FIFTEEN DAYS AFTER THE PUBLICATION DATE OF THE NOTICE AND THE INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY SHALL CONSIDER SUCH APPEAL AT ITS NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETING PROVIDED SUCH MEETING IS NO EARLIER THAN THREE BUSINESS DAYS AFTER RECEIPT BY SUCH AGENCY OR ITS AGENT OF SUCH APPEAL. THE INLAND WETLANDS AGENCY SHALL, AT ITS DISCRETION, SUSTAIN, ALTER, OR REJECT THE DECISION OF ITS AGENT OR REQUIRE AN APPLICATION FOR A PERMIT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDIVISION (1) OF SUBSECTION (c) OF THIS SECTION.
(d) (1) In granting, denying or limiting any permit for a regulated activity the inland wetlands agency, OR ITS AGENT shall consider the factors set forth in section 22a-41, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF THIS ACT, and such agency, OR ITS AGENT shall state upon the record the reason for its decision. In granting a permit the inland wetlands agency, OR ITS AGENT, may grant the application as filed or grant it upon [such] OTHER terms, conditions, limitations or modifications of the regulated activity [,] WHICH ARE designed to carry out the policy of [sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive] SECTIONS 22a-36 TO 22a-38, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, SECTION 22a-39, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC ACT 95-313, AND SECTIONS 22a-40 TO 22a-45, INCLUSIVE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT. SUCH TERMS MAY INCLUDE ANY REASONABLE MEASURES WHICH WOULD MITIGATE THE IMPACTS OF THE REGULATED ACTIVITY AND WHICH WOULD (A) PREVENT OR MINIMIZE POLLUTION OR OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE, (B) MAINTAIN OR ENHANCE EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, OR (C) IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PRIORITY: RESTORE, ENHANCE AND CREATE PRODUCTIVE WETLAND OR WATERCOURSE RESOURCES. No person shall conduct any regulated activity within an inland wetland or watercourse which requires zoning or subdivision approval without first having obtained a valid certificate of zoning or subdivision approval, special permit, special exception or variance or other documentation establishing that the proposal complies with the zoning or subdivision requirements adopted by the municipality pursuant to chapters 124 to 126, inclusive, or any special act. [Any permit issued under this section shall be valid for five years. Any regulated activity approved by the agency shall be completed within one year from the time such activity is commenced provided the agency may establish a specific time period within which any regulated activity shall be conducted and may require that an activity, once commenced, be completed within a time period of less than one year and further provided the agency may extend (1) the time period of the original permit provided such period shall not extend beyond ten years from the date such permit was granted, or (2) the time period within which an activity, once commenced, is required to be completed under this section.] The agency may suspend or revoke a permit if it finds after giving notice to the permittee of the facts or conduct which warrant the intended action and after a hearing at which the permittee is given an opportunity to show compliance with the requirements for retention of the permit, that the applicant has not complied with the conditions or limitations set forth in the permit or has exceeded the scope of the work as set forth in the application. The applicant shall be notified of the agency's decision by certified mail within fifteen days of the date of the decision and the agency shall cause notice of their order in issuance, denial, revocation or suspension of a permit to be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the town wherein the wetland [and] OR watercourse lies. In any case in which such notice is not published within such fifteen-day period, the applicant may provide for the publication of such notice within ten days thereafter. (2) ANY PERMIT ISSUED UNDER THIS SECTION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF PROPERTY FOR WHICH AN APPROVAL IS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 8-3, 8-25 OR 8-26 SHALL BE VALID FOR FIVE YEARS PROVIDED THE AGENCY MAY ESTABLISH A SPECIFIC TIME PERIOD WITHIN WHICH ANY REGULATED ACTIVITY SHALL BE CONDUCTED. ANY PERMIT ISSUED UNDER THIS SECTION FOR ANY OTHER ACTIVITY SHALL BE VALID FOR NOT LESS THAN TWO YEARS AND NOT MORE THAN FIVE YEARS. ANY SUCH PERMIT SHALL BE RENEWED UPON REQUEST OF THE PERMIT HOLDER UNLESS THE AGENCY FINDS THAT THERE HAS BEEN A SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH REQUIRES A NEW PERMIT APPLICATION OR AN ENFORCEMENT ACTION HAS BEEN UNDERTAKEN WITH REGARD TO THE REGULATED ACTIVITY FOR WHICH THE PERMIT WAS ISSUED PROVIDED NO PERMIT MAY BE VALID FOR MORE THAN TEN YEARS.
(e) The inland wetlands agency may require a filing fee to be deposited with the agency. The amount of such fee shall be sufficient to cover the reasonable cost of reviewing and acting on applications and petitions, including, but not limited to, the costs of certified mailings, publications of notices and decisions and monitoring compliance with permit conditions or agency orders.
(f) If a municipal inland wetlands agency regulates activities within [buffer] areas around wetlands [areas] OR WATERCOURSES, such regulation shall (1) be in accordance with the provisions of the inland wetlands regulations adopted by such agency related to application for, and approval of, activities to be conducted in wetlands [areas] OR WATERCOURSES and (2) apply only to those activities which are likely to impact or affect [an inland] wetlands [area] OR WATERCOURSES.
Sec. 5. Section 22a-42e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:
An application filed with an inland wetlands agency which is in conformance with the applicable inland wetlands regulations as of the date of the [decision of such agency with respect to] RECEIPT OF such application shall not be required thereafter to comply with any change in inland wetlands regulations, including changes to setbacks and buffers, taking effect on or after the date of such [decision] RECEIPT and any appeal from the decision of such agency with respect to such application shall not be dismissed by the Superior Court on the grounds that such a change has taken effect on or after the date of such [decision] RECEIPT. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to apply (1) to the establishment, amendment or change of boundaries of inland wetlands or watercourses or (2) to any change in regulations necessary to make such regulations consistent with the provisions of this chapter as of the date of such [decision] RECEIPT.
Approved May 31, 1996. Effective January 1, 1997, see P.A. 96-269, S. 3, 4.[footer.htm]