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Mendon Town Meeting to Consider Wetlands Bylaw

During Mendon's April 10 Special Town Meeting, residents will decide whether or not to pass a new wetlands bylaw. Currently, there is no such bylaw in place in Mendon. The Conservation Commission is bringing forth Article 15 in the hopes of protecting the town's wetlands and related water sources by regulating activities that are deemed harmful by the Conservation Commission.

A wetland is an area that is soaked with water, either seasonably or permanently, which allows it to take on characteristics to create a distinct ecosystem. Wetlands are made up mainly of hydric soil which supports aquatic plants. Water found in wetlands can be freshwater or saltwater. Subsets of wetlands are swamps and marshes, among others. Wetlands play different functions in the environment such as water purification and flood control. They also serve home to a number of plants and animal life.

The proposed multipage bylaw goes into extensive detail concerning protection of the wetlands.

Part of the bylaw states unless permitted by the Conservation Commission, individuals are not allowed to remove, fill dredge, build on, degrade, discharge into, or impact fresh water wetlands or land within 100 feet of freshwater wetlands or any river, stream, lake, or pond greater than 20,000 square feet. Land subject to flooding or inundation by groundwater, surface, or storm flowage is also protected. The bylaw also discusses a no disturb zone and a no build zone.

The Conservation Commission has the authority to enforce the bylaw and oversees violation notices. Any individual who violates the bylaw could be ordered to restore the property to its original condition or take action to remedy the violation. Those who violate the bylaw are subject to a fine up to $300 per day until the issue is resolved.

Another bylaw to be voted on that evening concerns regulating gas stations in town. Currently, Mendon has only one gas station on Route 16, however, there are plans to build another gas station and convenience store on Hartford Ave. East. The bylaw discusses having no more than four pumps per gas station and also restricts the size of the canopies covering the pumps.

In addition, a third bylaw will regulate wireless communication facilities in town. The purpose of the bylaw is to help minimize the visual impact wireless communication facilities have on the town, including views from scenic roads.

The complete warrant, including all the bylaws, can be located on the Town's Web site at on the Town Meeting and Elections page.


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