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State and Federal Permits and Approvals

The following list was adapted from the North Andover Development Guidebook. The list is by no means exhaustive, and if any question exists you are encouraged to seek legal counsel.  The majority of small development projects will not have need for any federal or state permits or approvals, but as projects increase in size and complexity, the applicant should be aware of the potential applicability of any one or more of the following:

Federal Permits and Approvals

State Permits and Approvals

Federal Permits and Approvals

  1. National Environmental Policy Act, or “NEPA" requires the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) to assess the impact  of a major  federal  action, i.e. projects and programs entirely or partly financed, assisted, conducted, regulated or  approved by federal agencies, that may have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment.  Major  federal  actions are either defined by statute or  determined by agency officials.
  2.  Clean Water Act, Section 404 Permit requires a project  involving the discharge of  dredged or  fill material into waters of the United States (including federally defined wetlands) to obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.  The permit may be a programmatic general permit, an individual permit  or  an  official letter of permission.
  3. Clean Water Act, .Water Quality Certification Approval requires the state to determine whether certain activities meet state water quality standards; if they don't, the Corps of Engineers is prohibited from issuing a Section 404 permit for the activity.
  4. Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, Section 10 Permit requires a federal permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging, filling or obstruction of navigable waters; the Section 10 permit is often applied for in conjunction with a Section 404 permit
  5.  National Flood Insurance Act and Flood Disaster Protection Act Certification requires that banks not make, extend or review any loan secured by improved real estate located in an area having flood hazards, and in which flood insurance is available, unless the building securing the loan is covered by flood insurance.  This usually requires architectural or engineering review and certification of building plans to the lender.
  6. Clean Air Act Permits or Approvals may be required directly from the Environmental Protection Agency for certain emissions and hazardous air pollutants from new sources of these regulated air  pollutants; most of the federal requirements, however, are incorporated by Massachusetts in its State Implementation Plan, or SIP (see State Clean Air Act).
  7. National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Review requires that certain federally assisted, permitted and licensed activities that might have an  adverse effect  on properties listed with, or  eligible for  listing with, the National Register of Historic Places be reviewed concerning that  effect  and its consequences; Section 106 review is accomplished by submitting a Project  Notification Form to the Historical Commission.
  8. Environmental Protection Agency Stormwater Notices of Intent and/or NPDES Permits are required for stormwater discharges associated with certain industrial activities. Industrial activity was recently redefined to include “construction activity including clearing, grading, and excavation activities except  operations that result in the disturbance of less than five acres of total land area which are not part  of  a larger common plan of development  or sale".  The project  owner  and operator is required to file a Notice of Intent  and pollution abatement plan with the Environmental Protection Agency.

State Permits and Approvals

  1.  Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act, or 'MEPA' requires state agencies to evaluate the environmental impact of all projects or activities undertaken by state agencies, and of private projects seeking state funding or permits.  An Environmental Notification Form must be filed if the project meets one or more of the thresholds specified in the regulations, whereas certain activities automatically require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report.
  2. Massachusetts Clean Waters Act, Sewer Extension/Connection Permits are required for the connection of a project to a sewer system unless exempted. There are pretreatment requirements for industrial users, which must be coordinated with the permitting requirements of the Marlborough Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  3. Massachusetts Clean Waters Act, Surface Water and/or Groundwater Discharge Permits:    Surface Water Discharge Permits, administered jointly by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, are required for point source discharges to U.S. Waters and application should be made simultaneously to both agencies.  A permit may also be required for stormwater discharges where runoff is substantially contaminated or if contamination exists because the discharge is located within an industrial area or is associated with industrial activity.  If the project is in an unsewered area, a Disposal Works Construction Permit must be obtained from the local board of Health in accordance with Title 5 of the State Environmental Code.  If a sewage disposal system with capacity in excess of 15,000 gallons per day will be constructed, a groundwater discharge permit must be obtained.
  4. Waterways, Great Ponds and Tidelands Construction License must be obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection, Wetlands and Waterways Division, for any construction below the high water line of state waterways, great ponds (ponds over 10 acres in their natural state) and tidelands.
  5. Massachusetts Clean Air Act Approval must be obtained in writing from the Department of Environmental Protection for the plans, specifications, and proposed operating procedures for the construction, substantial reconstruction or alteration of any stationary source of air pollution, unless specifically exempted.  Stationary sources emitting certain pollutant levels must register with DEP as well. Anyone constructing or demolishing a commercial building, or residential building with 20 or more units, must notify DEP at least 10 working days prior to starting work, if it will create emissions that cause or contribute to a condition of air pollution.
  6. Massachusetts Endangered Species Act prohibits taking or possession of any plant or animal species listed in the federal Endangered Species Act, or the alteration of a significant habitat.  A project developer should review the list of endangered species available from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and habitat maps available for inspection at City Hall from the Conservation Commission.
  7. Hazardous Waste Management Permits may be required from the federal Environmental Protection Agency or state Department of Environmental Protection if any wastes generated by the project are hazardous, depending on the types of quantities generated; contact the Springfield Fire Department for information.
  8. Massachusetts Historical Commission Approval must be obtained if a designated historical or archeological landmark will be altered or effected by a project undertaken by a state agency or any private party seeking any state funding, permits or licenses for the project.
  9. State Highway Access Permit must be obtained in writing from the Massachusetts Highway Department if a project will involve the creation, alteration, expansion or substantial impact upon an opening onto a state highway. This includes property which has access directly onto state highways and property which abuts a state highway layout.








Page last updated:  Thursday, May 04, 2017 09:40 am