Urging The Select Board To Support The Conservation Commission On New Wetlands Regulations

Burton Balkind •

Note: this letter was originally sent to the Select Board

To the editor: We note that the Board will be reviewing the proposed amendments to the Nantucket Wetland Regulations at your meeting to be held on June 26. This is an opportunity for the Board to exercise strong leadership in supporting the Coastal Resilience Plan (CRP), and the careful work of the Conservation Commission, by endorsing the adoption of these long-awaited revisions.

As you know, updating these regulations was identified in the CRP as one of fourteen island-wide priorities, and arguably the most fundamental of all: “Updates to Town regulatory mechanisms... in particular, can allow for more efficient implementation of the Nantucket CRP.” (page 95/354). Consistent with this, the Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee has repeatedly voiced strong support for this update as a fundamental step in making our island more resilient.

Each of the recommended updates has been carefully reviewed and refined over several years by a succession of Conservation Commissions. Throughout the process, the ConCom has been eager to listen to, and where appropriate, to incorporate input from subject matter experts, business interests, and property owners. The resulting revisions are extremely thoughtful, and we believe quite measured: candidly, we would have liked to see bolder steps taken in some areas. Of course, while regulatory changes rarely come without some resistance, we should remember that the Commission has the authority to issue waivers, should they be warranted.

Taken as a whole, the recommended changes represent a critical first step in modernizing Nantucket’s regulatory framework so that it aligns with the latest science regarding climate change and sea level rise. And so we look to you, as our highest elected body, to act in accordance with your strategic plan, and demonstrate environmental leadership by supporting the implementation of this key priority of Nantucket’s Coastal Resilience Plan. Thank you.

On behalf of the Nantucket Coastal Conservancy Board of Directors, D. Anne Atherton, Susan McFarland, Maureen Phillips, Mary Wawro, and Karen Werner,


Burton Balkind

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