Newsletter: Dec. 7, 2020
Yebba Sues to Access Confidential Addresses for Group Homes

DEP Ruling Adds Stream to Map; Doesn't Invoke Buffer Zone
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently issued a Superseding Order of Resource Area Delineation (SORAD) responding to the request DIRC filed 13 months ago. As a reminder, DIRC believed that the ORAD issued by the Conservation Commission failed to designate a culverted stream running through the 20 Elm property connecting two wetlands as a protected resource area. In fact, the area wasn't labeled as a stream at all. This designation is important, because it would require a 100-foot buffer zone to surround it, preventing any construction within that area without approval from the Conservation Commission. While a favorable decision on this appeal would not stop or dramatically change development at 20 Elm Street, it would add an extra layer of protection to the natural resources on the property and surrounding wetlands.

DEP Decision
In its Order, the DEP determined that the body of water connecting the two wetland areas is an intermittent stream and should be labeled as such on an updated ORAD. The DEP order clearly states that a stream flows through the area, between the “C series” wetland and the “A series” wetland, making it difficult for the developer to deny the existence of the stream. Unfortunately, DEP did not agree that the stream was worthy of a 100-foot buffer zone. The DEP reasoned that because the stream is enclosed in a culvert (an underground pipe), there is no need to buffer a resource area with protection. Additionally, in its Order, the DEP confirmed that MassGIS's wetlands delineation was accurate, as expected.

What's Next?
DIRC will appeal the DEP decision, a process that is expected to take a year. Should the project go forward if the GLAM calculation isn't ultimately maintained (see above), DIRC's focus on Conservation Commission and DEP determinations aims to ensure maximum protection and accountability should the development move forward. Even if we lose on appeal, the developer will still need to come before the Conservation Commission if the development plans for the site progress. At that time, DIRC will again present arguments for protecting the stream and the related wetland areas. 

Ongoing Donations Needed as Yebba Team's Legal Actions Threaten Privacy
We know that it has been a difficult year for everyone and the needs of our neighbors are greater than ever. However, the subpoena to release confidential data shows that Yebba will continue to direct his attorneys to pursue every possible path to push the 20 Elm project through. Please help us continue this fight, which now, unexpectedly, includes protecting the privacy rights of our most vulnerable town citizens.

Help us take this fight ever closer to success with a donation today.
Your Support Makes Golf Tournament a Huge Success
Thank you to all the players, sponsors, donors, and volunteers for making DIRC's recent golf tournament a success! The weather cooperated and despite COVID restrictions, the tournament raised a total of $6,268.22 towards current and future opposition efforts. Thank you for your generosity, to the fundraising team for their hard work, and to the Thomson Country Club for hosting!