Aquifer Protection Agency: After wetlands-planning board split, who runs the show?
The Planning and Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands Board are splitting up this November— but who gets the Aquifer Protection Agency in the divorce?
Currently, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission serve in three roles — as zoning commissioners, Inland Wetlands Board members, and officers of the Aquifer Protection Agency.
Last November, voters decided to split the Inland Wetlands Board away from the commission. The wetlands board therefore will become a separate, elected board in the election this fall.
But that still leaves the Aquifer Protection Agency, which is tasked with ensuring the town’s groundwater remains clean and uncontaminated by development and other types of land use.
The Planning and Zoning Commission members think that role should stay with them.
“When the Board of Selectmen passed the town charter, the language they put in was ‘we serve in our capacity as the Inland Wetland Board,’” said Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti Tuesday, March 26.
She said Daniel Robinson, the town’s assistant planner, did some research and discovered that of the 69 towns in the state that have aquifer protection agencies, 63 are managed by the Planning and Zoning Commission — and the trend is moving to keeping the agencies with Planning and Zoning because it deals with land use regulations, Mucchetti said.
The six commissioners present all indicated they were in favor of sending a letter to the Board of Selectmen saying the Aquifer Protection Agency should remain the purview of the commission.