P. WETLANDS AND WETLAND BUFFERS (12/4/05 DRAFT)
1. Purpose: To regulate the use of wetlands and the land surrounding wetlands, in order to provide areas for, among other things, flood water storage and control, wildlife habitat, maintenance of water quality, and groundwater recharge.
2. Authority: The Provisions of Wetlands and Wetland Buffers are adopted as authorized by RSA 674:55 and other Statutes.
3. Wetland Delineation:
a. The Chichester "Zoning Map" delineates wetlands based only on soil type and is considered only a guide for determining wetland areas.
b. Site specific delineation of wetlands shall be based on the statutory definition of wetlands, currently RSA 482-A:2, X.
c. All site plans and subdivision plans submitted to the Planning Board for approval shall delineate wetlands, if any, and shall be signed by a New Hampshire certified wetlands scientist. Specific wetland soil types are not required on submitted plans.
d. All wetland delineation fees shall be paid for by the applicant.
e. Drainage systems built for the purpose of conveying or treating storm water runoff from public and private roadways and driveways, including roadside ditches, grass or rock lined swales and detention ponds are not considered wetlands and are excluded.
4. Wetland Buffers:
a. Wetland buffers shall be:
i. 100 feet from second and higher order streams (as determined by United States Geological Survey) and from any ponds located on or within 100 feet of the thread of said streams.
ii. 50 feet from wetlands greater than or equal to .25 acre, including areas of contiguous wetlands on adjacent parcels.
iii. 25 feet from wetlands less than .25 acre, including areas of contiguous wetlands on adjacent parcels.
5. Permitted Uses in Wetlands and/or Wetland Buffers: The following permitted uses must meet the requirements and approval of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), if necessary.
a. Forestry activities and agriculture, including tree farming, using best management practices.
b. Wildlife and fire ponds.
c. Recreational uses consistent with the intent of this Ordinance.
d. Docks and beaches on private ponds.
e. Necessary access roads that meet the criteria for "Minimum Impact Project," as defined by the NHDES Wetlands Bureau.
f. Pre-existing uses, however, alterations to pre-existing non-permitted uses shall require a Special Exception from the Board of Adjustment.
g. In wetland buffers only, septic systems, leach fields, and other waste disposal facilities that meet the requirements of the NHDES Subsurface Systems Bureau.
h. Water supply wells, in wetland buffers only.
6. Roads and Drainage Systems in Wetlands and Wetland Buffers That Do Not Meet the Criteria for "Minimum Impact Project": Planned roads and drainage systems in wetlands and wetland buffers that do not meet the criteria in 4.e. above shall meet the following conditions:
a. The proposed road shall be essential to the productive use of the land not part of the wetland area.
b. Road design, construction, and maintenance methods shall minimize detrimental impact upon the wetland or wetland buffer, and shall maintain the site as close to the original grade and condition as possible.
c. No feasible alternative route which has less of a detrimental impact is available. Financial impacts and constraints may be considered when determining feasibility.
d. Drainage systems shall be designed to minimize impacts on the wetlands and wetlands buffers.
The Conservation Commission shall have the opportunity to review and comment on the proposal prior to Planning Board approval. At the discretion of the Planning Board, the Town Engineer, at the applicant's expense, shall review all plans that contain roads and drainage systems in wetlands and wetland buffers.