To the editor: We would like to comment briefly about the Nantucket Conservation Commission (ConCom), as there is so much misinformation in the community about this regulatory body, which is more important than ever, especially for an island in a time of sea level rise.
First, it is essential to understand that the role of the ConCom is a regulatory one. The sworn duty of the Commission is to uphold two laws, the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the local Nantucket Wetland Bylaw. No matter who sits on the ConCom, the Commission must follow these laws.
Second, regarding the realities of sea-level rise, the present Commission is in the process of implementing one of the top 40 Priorities identified in the Coastal Resilience Plan (CRP) recommended by Arcadis, the Town’s consultants: updating the wetlands regulations. This initiative is an example of forward-thinking, spearheaded by experienced Commissioners.
Third, our ConCom is the busiest in the Commonwealth, reviewing more applications than any of the 351 other commissions in the state. In fact, based on Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) file numbers, over time the Nantucket Conservation Commission has 1,000 more applications than any other municipality, possibly more.
Finally, when it comes to making appointments to this important body, we trust that the members of the Select Board (who have chosen Environmental Leadership as a focus of their strategic plan) will consider the best interests of the entire island, not any one neighborhood. Our ConCom needs individuals who will make decisions consistent with the science — and the law.
— The Nantucket Coastal Conservancy Coordinating Team, including Elin Anderwald, Burton Balkind, Joyce Berruet, Peter Brace, Diane Coombs, Sunny Daily, Janie Hobson Dupont, Susan Landmann, Susan McFarland, Catherine Nickerson, Kate Shea, Mary Wawro, Karen Werner, and D. Anne Atherton, Administrative Coordinator