Frequently Asked Questions

I am looking to purchase a property in Ashland, is it in a floodplain?   

There are a few tools available to the public to use.  You can try PeopleGIS or MassMapper

If you are having trouble, you can always call the Conservation Agent. 

Please note that if the property that you are looking to purchase falls within a floodplain, it will also constitute protection under the Wetlands Protection Act and Bylaw.   Any work that you want to do within it, that will dredge, fill, alter or remove that area, would require permitting from the Ashland Conservation Commission.

I have a hazardous tree on my property that needs to be removed. do I need a permit?

If the tree is within 100 feet of a wetland or 200 feet of a perennial stream or river, then a permit is required. There are two options available:

1. If the tree is an immediate hazard, you may hire an arborist to provide a Level 1 Tree Risk Assessment or Limited Visual Assessment identifying the potential targets, likelihood of failure and overall risk. Trees with a risk rating of High to Extreme AND which present a risk to a property or public safety, are eligible for an Emergency Certification. 

2. If the tree does not meet the above criteria, or you have several trees proposed for removal, you will need to file a Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA), which is a public hearing, and has a filing fee of $125 and a required legal advertisement in the newspaper. Instructions for filing out an RDA are available on our permit process page, the MassDEP website, or via email by request. 

I have an older permit (Order of Conditions) on my property, and I have been told that I need to close it out or get a Certificate of Compliance.  How do I go about doing this?

You will need to submit a WPA 8A Form: Request for Certificate of Compliance.  You will also need to submit a letter from an engineer, or surveyor, an as-built plan and a check to the Town of Ashland.   For a single family lot, the check is $100.00.  For any other projects or lots, the check is $250.00.  These must be submitted two weeks in advance of the desired meeting date.

Once these items are submitted, the Conservation Agent, or a Commissioner Member, must do a site inspection at the property.  Once this is done, the Agent or Commissioner Member will schedule the Request at the next meeting.

I've been told there is Conservation Land on my property. What does that mean?

Typically the term Conservation Land refers to one of two things. Most commonly in Ashland it is used to refer to Wetland Resource Areas. These areas are not actually owned by the Town of Ashland, but do have regulations protecting them under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Ashland Wetlands Protection Bylaw. Any work within the wetlands or 100-feet of the wetlands requires a permit from the Conservation Commission. 

Sometimes Conservation Land refers to land actually owned or managed by the Conservation Commission or a Land Trust. This includes property under a Conservation Restrictions, land protected under Article 97, or land owned by the Town of Ashland and managed by the Conservation Commission. This type of Conservation Land can be verified with the Conservation Office, or by using PeopleGIS  and MassMapper

What is the difference between resource areas and their regulations?

This document provides a summary of most of the resource areas within downtown Ashland, and breaks down the regulations by the area it affects. For more details, or resource areas that aren't listed, you can review the regulations themselves, or ask the Conservation Agent for clarification. The regulations which the Conservation Commission enforces include: 

  • 310 CMR 10.00 (The Wetlands Protection Act)
  • M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 8 (The Conservation Commission Act)
  • Ashland Town Code Section 280 (Wetlands Protection Bylaw) 
  • Ashland Town Code Chapter 348 (Wetlands Protection Regulations)
Cold Spring Brook
Puffball mushrooms on log
Vernal Pool in Winter
Heavy fog rests on a wetland bordered a pond. Rain drops can be seen dancing on the water surface.