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									Belmont Special Town Meeting of May 20, 2002 — Case # 2170

Case Comment

        A proposed by-law establishing requirements for storm water management facilities
        must be applied in a manner consistent with Massachusetts Storm Water Management
        Policy. The proposed by-law requires underground infiltration and requires that the
        underground infiltration be constructed under proposed parking areas and building
        foundations. The Town is cautioned that the requirement of underground infiltration
        systems could be inconsistent with state law if recharge were feasible using a surface
        system.


                                              September 18, 2002


Delores A. Keefe, Town Clerk
455 Concord Avenue
Belmont, MA 02478

RE:    Belmont Special Town Meeting of May 20, 2002 — Case # 2170
       Warrant Article # 5 (Zoning)

Dear Ms. Keefe:

       Article 5 - I return with the approval of this Office the amendments to the town by-laws
adopted under this Article on the warrant for the Belmont town meeting that convened on
May 20, 2002, and the map pertaining to Article 5.

         The amendments adopted under Article 5 add a new “Belmont Uplands District” by-law to
the town’s zoning by-laws. Section 6B.7 pertains to stormwater management facilities in the
district and provides in pertinent part as follows:

       Stormwater management facilities shall comply with the following requirements:

       (b)    Where possible, a portion of building roof drainage shall be piped directly to an
              underground infiltration system to be sized to meet MADEP groundwater recharge
              requirements for the site. Once the required MADEP groundwater recharge
              volumes are met, an overflow pipe from the infiltration system to the adjacent stormwater
              management systems may convey excess stormwater flows.
              Underground infiltration systems shall be constructed under proposed parking
              areas or building foundations so as to limit the disturbance of existing natural
              open space.

(Emphasis added.)
        Section 6B.7 (b) requires the use of underground infiltration and further requires that the
underground infiltration systems be constructed under proposed parking areas and building
foundations. In approving this text, we remind the town of the Massachusetts Storm Water
Management Policy Standard 3. Although the Massachusetts Storm Water Management Policy is
not itself a regulation, it is a restatement of the requirements of the Massachusetts Clean Waters
Act’s Surface Discharge Regulations, found at 314 C.M.R. § 3.00; the Groundwater Discharge
Regulations, found at 314 C.M.R, § 5.00; and the Wetlands Protection Act and its regulations,
found at 310 C.M.R. § 10.00. Standard 3 provides as follows:

       Loss of annual recharge to groundwater should be minimized through the use of
       infiltration measures to the maximum extent practicable. The annual recharge from
       the post-development site should approximate the annual recharge rate from the
       pre-development or existing site conditions, based on soil types.

        The restriction on infiltration to underground systems could cause a conflict if recharge
were feasible using a surface system. Moreover, according to the Department of Environmental
Protection, it is not good engineering practice to infiltrate water under a building foundation
because introducing water there could destabilize the structure. For these reasons, Belmont may
find applicants saying that recharge is not possible under the by-law. We suggest that the town
discuss the application of Section 6B.7 (b) in more detail with town counsel.

        We also call your attention to Section 6B.7 (f), which pertains to floodplain storage of the
Little River and provides as follows:

       Compensatory storage volumes provided due to loss in floodplain storage of Little River
       shall result in a minimum net increase of 1.5 times the existing volume impacted.

        In approving this section, we remind the town that floodplains are regulated under the
Wetlands Protections Act and any local wetlands and floodplain by-laws, which are under the
jurisdiction of the town’s conservation commission. While the town may be relying on the
conservation commission to protect the wetlands interest through a separate regulatory process,
this by-law implies that compensatory storage may be enough. The town may wish to discuss this
issue in more detail with town counsel.

                                               Very truly yours,

                                               THOMAS F. REILLY
                                               ATTORNEY GENERAL


                                               by: Kelli E. Lawrence, Assistant Attorney General
                                               By-law Coordinator, Municipal Law Unit
                                               1350 Main Street, 4th Floor
                                               Springfield, MA 01103-1629
                                               (413) 784-1240, x 117
enc.
pc:

Town Counsel




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