Frequently Asked Questions
Any activities that will remove, fill, dredge or alter the area within one hundred (100) feet of the above-named areas also known as the buffer zone.
Any activities that will remove, fill, dredge or alter the area within two hundred (200) feet of the bank full mark of a perennial stream also known as the Riverfront Area.
The Town of Swansea provides greater protection to the resource areas than the State law. The inner 25” of the wetland buffer zone is a no-disturb zone. Isolated areas of flooding and water bodies including vernal pools, are protected as well.
- Construction of a roadway or driveway
- Construction of a building, commercial or residential
- Construction of accessory buildings such as garages, stables, barns
- Installation of pools, in-ground or above-ground
- Paving of driveways
- Additions to buildings
- Grading or excavation, landscaping
- Vegetation and tree removal, clearing of trees and brush
- Repairs to septic systems (All septic systems for new houses must be out of the buffer zone or riverfront area.)
- Stormwater discharges
- Alteration of woodland for crop propagation
Other activities may require a permit as well. Please contact the Commission or its agent to determine if your activity requires a permit.
- Mowing an existing lawn
- Unpaved pedestrian walkway
- Fencing, provided it does not constitute a barrier to wildlife
- Plantings of native species of trees, shrubs, or groundcover, but excluding turf lawns. Note, there is a list of species which is now banned by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture
- The conversion of lawn to uses accessory to residential structures such as decks, sheds, patios, and pools, provided the activity is located more than50 feet from the mean annual high-water line within the riverfront area or from bordering vegetated wetland, whichever is farther, and erosion and sedimentation controls are implemented during construction. The conversion of such uses accessory to existing single family houses to lawn is also allowed.
- The conversion of impervious to vegetated surfaces, provided erosion and sedimentation controls are implemented during construction
Activities that are temporary in nature, have negligible impacts, and are necessary for planning and design purposes (e.g., installation of monitoring wells, exploratory borings, sediment sampling and surveying).
Click here to visit MESA Website
To determine whether your project is in a priority habitat area click here or contact the Conservation Commission to review the available map.
Note that even if your project is not within an area jurisdictional to the Conservation Commission under the Wetlands Protection Act or the Swansea Wetlands Protection By-law, it still may require a MESA filing.
- Click here for more information
- For more information and frequently asked questions click here
- For information on small docks and piers, a guide to permitting a small pile-supported Docks and Piers click here
The Town of Swansea requires that for most structural building permits and septic system installations, the applicant must receive a Preliminary Review release commonly known as a Sign Off, from the Conservation Commission. The applicant shall present to the Conservation Commission a Notice of Preliminary Review Form (link) with any plans of the proposed project which may be available. The agent for the Commission will review the property to determine if there is any jurisdictional areas on the site which could be altered by the proposed work and then review the project to determine if the work requires a formal filing with the Commission. Comments may also be made on the form regarding special considerations or requirements of the Commission.