Overview of Filing Procedures
What Kinds of Projects Require a Permit from the Conservation Commission?
State and local laws require permits for most work within 100 feet of wetlands and 200 feet of perennial streams (flowing year-round) – whether these resource areas are on the same lot, a nearby lot, or across the street. Some examples are:
- New construction and additions to existing houses
- Construction of sheds and accessory structures
- Construction or paving of driveways
- Landscaping, grading, clearing of trees and brush, expansion of lawns or garden beds
- Construction, repair, and replacement of septic systems and wells
- Construction of pools, patios, retaining walls, and docks
- Construction of dams, installation of culverts in streams, and changing water levels in waterbodies
- Placing fill in or dredging a wetland (for example to make a pond)
Request for Determination
A Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) is a simplified form to fill out when you intend to conduct minor work in the Buffer Zone (generally 50-feet from the resource area; with minimal or no proposed structures within the buffer zone).
The purpose of the Request for Determination is:
- To determine whether an activity which is planned within the Buffer Zone to a resource area will likely impact the wetland either short-term (during construction/alteration) or long-term (post construction/alteration)
- To determine whether the Wetlands Act applies to a particular area of land
- To confirm the precise boundaries of any delineated wetland resource area
Notice of Intent
A Notice of Intent (NOI) Application is required for a permit for work proposed within 100 feet of a Wetland Resource Area, or within 200 feet of a perennial stream (flowing year-round) or in a Wetland Resource Area.
To obtain a permit (called an Order of Conditions), you must submit an application to the Conservation Commission and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The NOI application provides the Conservation Commission and MassDEP with a complete and accurate description of the:
- Site: including the type and boundaries of wetlands, topography, existing conditions (wooded, lawn, impervious, etc.)
- Proposed work: including all measures and designs proposed to meet the performance standards described in the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations, 310 CMR10.00, for each applicable resource area and the provisions established in the Westford’s Non-zoning Wetland Bylaw and associated Regulations
If you are unsure which application you need to file, please contact the Conservation Department at