PA 16-89—SB 230

Environment Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE SITING OF CERTAIN DOCKS AND STRUCTURES, THE USE OF NOISE-MAKING DEVICES FOR AGRICULTURAL PURPOSES AND MAKING TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING REVISIONS TO ENVIRONMENT-RELATED STATUTES

SUMMARY: This act prohibits the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner from issuing a certificate or permit to construct a dock or other structure in an area designated as inappropriate or unsuitable for a dock or structure in an approved and adopted harbor management plan ( 9). By law, municipal harbor management commissions prepare such plans, which are reviewed and approved by DEEP and the Department of Transportation and adopted by local ordinance.

The act also does the following:

1. requires anyone applying for a DEEP permit to conduct certain activities within wetlands or state waters to notify property owners within 500 feet from the property line of the property where the proposed activity will occur ( 8),

2. makes changes related to agricultural noisemaking devices used to deter wildlife from damaging crops ( 10),

3. makes a conforming change pertaining to running bamboo ( 7), and

4. makes other technical and conforming changes ( 1-6).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

8 – PERMIT TO CONDUCT CERTAIN ACTIVITIES IN WETLANDS OR STATE WATERS

The act requires anyone applying for a DEEP permit to (1) conduct a regulated activity in a wetland or (2) dredge, erect structures, or place fill in state waters waterward of the coastal jurisdiction line, to provide notice to landowners whose property is located within 500 feet from the property line of the property where the proposed activity will occur. By law, the applicant must already publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected area and notify the chief elected official of the municipality where the proposed activity will occur. The notice must include information on the proposed activity and state that the permit application is available for inspection at DEEP.

10 – PERMIT FOR NOISEMAKING DEVICES TO DETER WILDLIFE

By law, the Department of Agriculture commissioner issues permits for people to use agricultural noisemaking devices, which are used to deter wildlife from damaging crops. He may deny or cancel a permit if (1) a municipal legislative body adopts a resolution asking him to do so and (2) he determines that a device causes or will cause undue hardship to nearby residents. The act defines “undue hardship” as causing significant injury to the health and comfort of a person while on his or her property and within the curtilage of (i. e. , area immediately surrounding) his or her home.

The act also allows the commissioner to institute a “best practical use procedure” at a municipality's request, instead of denying or cancelling a noisemaking device permit, if he determines it is feasible to limit excessive use of the device while allowing it to be effective. In developing a best practical use procedure, the commissioner must assess the (1) device, (2) accepted trade practices associated with the device's effective use, (3) technical feasibility of implementing the procedure, (4) nature of the area where the device is used, (5) crop being protected, and (6) wildlife being repelled. The act states that these provisions do not authorize a cause of action.

7 – RUNNING BAMBOO

The act makes a conforming change to PA 14-100 by removing a reference to “properly contained” bamboo. The law prohibits anyone from planting, or letting anyone plant, “running bamboo” (i. e. , bamboo in the genus Phyllostachys, including yellow-groove bamboo) on his or her property within 40 feet of abutting property or a public right of way. PA 14-100 eliminated an option of containing bamboo by a barrier system.

OLR Tracking: JKL; LH; VR: tjo