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Understanding Nantucket’s Wetland Implications: Part II

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Liza Hatton
Nantuckets Rising Sea Levels

Over the past three years, the Conservation Commission has been working to revamp Nantucket’s Wetland Regulations based on a study that was completed by Arcadis Engineering between 2020 and 2022 and was led by the Town of Nantucket Natural Resources Department and the Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee. In 2023, the modifications ConCom drafted were released to the public for their feedback.

The majority of the updates and additions would restrict the expansion potential of many properties impacted by wetlands. The intention is to manage development so that it will be more resilient in the face of rising sea levels and stronger storms. This has been met with a fair amount of backlash because the proposed regulations would limit buildability, prohibit new structures in many coastal and low-lying areas, and would increase the wetland “no-build” boundary from 50’ to 75’ or 100’ depending on the property location. The concern is that it could deem some lots unbuildable and would create situations in which site conditions are nonconforming for some properties. In turn, this would cause a more complicated permitting process for any changes or updates to an impacted property, which would involve more oversight and signoffs from town officials. In addition, changes include prohibiting pools in flood zones, prohibiting patios and other impervious surfaces, and banning the repair and/or construction of bulkheads and other coastal engineering structures.

In September 2023, there was a ComCom meeting to review the changes and discuss the impacts they will have. Overall, the majority of the changes are based on the effects of climate change and sea level rise on our community and managing our growth based on their predictions. As of printing on January 5, 2024, the final version of the revised regulations had not been released and voted on yet.

Nantucket Wetland regulations
GIS: Wetland Overlay Theme

It is important for buyers and sellers to understand how the potential updates to the Wetland Regulations could affect them. One quick way to determine a subject property’s proximity to wetlands is to access the Town of Nantucket Assessor’s Website.  Once there, on the right sidebar titled “Theme”, click “Natural Resources”, and then select the first theme labeled “MASSGIS: DEP Wetlands (2005)”. Or, you can reach out to your Fisher Agent for more information, and we can share additional resources with you.

LINK TO PDF OF PROPOSED CHANGES AS OF SEPTEMBER 21, 2023

LINK TO NANTUCKET COASTAL RESILIENCE PLAN

Written By

Liza Hatton

A Lincoln, Massachusetts native, Liza has a long-running history with Nantucket as she grew up spending her summers in ’Sconset.