Opinion

Nahant wetlands bylaw must stand

We urge Nahant residents attending Town Meeting on Saturday to pay close attention to Article 27 on the warrant and vote against repealing the Wetlands Protection Bylaw adopted at the Aug. 27, 2018 Special Town Meeting.

At that meeting, residents voted 285-278 to adopt the bylaw and the bylaw was approved by the state Attorney General’s office last September.

A petition signed by more than 500 residents clearly stated the town did not want a second vote on the bylaw. Town resident and former postmaster Thomas P. Costin Jr. could not have stated those objections more clearly when he berated proponents of a second bylaw vote at a Board of Selectmen meeting last October.

“The people voted,” said Costin.

Conservation Commission Chairwoman Kristen Kent in today’s front-page story on the bylaw said last March’s winter storms underscore the bylaw’s importance.

“It has been getting worse and we have been seeing people getting hurt by this floodplain issue, and so it was an opportunity for us to get something that we think is good for the town,” Kent said.

The town Advisory and Finance Committee in its 2 ½-page recommendation for repealing the wetland bylaw claimed the bylaw is structured in a way that will “… create an undue burden on Nahant homeowners …”

The recommendation mentions the Conservation Commission but, to be clear, Advisory and Finance did not consult the Conservation Commission. The recommendation also sought to belittle the commission and its hard-working and knowledgeable members by noting the commission is appointed but not an elected town body.

Conservation Commission members are the town residents who have studied and debated the wetlands bylaw and translated the will of Town Meeting members last August into rules and regulations. It bears repeating that the wetlands ordinance was signed off by the attorney general’s office with its phalanx of attorneys.

The bylaw protects Nahant’s wetlands and Kent and her commission colleagues deserve credit for recognizing the threat serious storms pose to local wetlands and Nahant as a whole.

We urge residents attending Town Meeting to uphold the wetlands bylaw and reject repeal.

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