, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 15, 2013

State blocks rebuilding of Plum Island home


The state appears to be appealing the merits of the town’s tentative “order of conditions” of Trout’s building plans.

In a letter to Trout, state officials said, “Mass DEP shall assume jurisdiction over this project and will make a determination as to whether the area on which the proposed work is to be done is significant to the statutory interests identified” in state regulations.

The letter added, “It is the MassDEP’s opinion that this project proposal and the (town’s) Order of Conditions do not contribute to the protection of the interests identified (in legislation) and that the OOC is inconsistent with the regulations.”

DEP officials said they will be on site next Wednesday morning to issue a “superceding Order of Conditions.”

The letter to Trout was written by Heidi Davis, acting section chief, Wetlands and Waterways Program of the DEP.

Town officials had encouraged homeowners to seek help at Town Hall if they had concerns about approvals and/or permissions to rebuild.

The DEP’s letter to Trout suggests that state officials will be closely monitoring any applications to rebuild on dunes adjacent to the ocean.

Doug Packer, conservation agent for the town, yesterday said, “The DEP has intervened on the Trout filing. The subject is a new home on the lot that was the site of the original house torn down after the blizzard.”

No reconstruction has been yet done to replace the six structures that were removed in the wake of storms. One house has been raised on supports with the probable intent of being moved across the street and farther from the beach.

A moratorium on building is apparently what the DEP has in mind, at least in reference to the Trout property.

The Davis letter concluded, “No activity may commence on any portion of the project site ... until MassDEP issues an SOC and all appeal periods have elapsed, or the MassDEP withdraws its appeal.”

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