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SHIRLEY — State and federal regulations require municipalities to have storm-water management plans to qualify for grant funding. The intent is to protect waterways, wetlands and groundwater by creating a bylaw aimed at controlling contamination.

Sources include “illicit” sewer hook-ups, discharges into the municipal drainage system and debris-laden runoff caused by activities that disturb a significant amount of soil such as site clearing and stump removal.

A couple of months ago, the town appointed a Storm-Water Committee to draft a bylaw that will be presented to voters at the March 26 Special Town Meeting. The 17-page document, based on government guidelines, is a whittled-down version of the original, 40-page document, said town administrator Kyle Keady.

The idea is to meet the goals of the government’s environmental protection agencies while causing as little impact on property owners as possible, he said. Although the bylaw draft isn’t perfect, he said once the wrinkles have been ironed out, it may serve both ends.

It could even become a model for other communities that haven’t created bylaws of their own, said Keady.

At the March 5 Board of Selectmen’s meeting, a public hearing was held on the proposed bylaw, which lays out the letter of the law, chapter and verse, and defines the vocabulary. The law applies only to an acre or more of land and would be administered by the Conservation Commission with case-specific input from other groups such as the Board of Health and Department of Public Works.

Although there are items that need to be added such as a schedule of permit fees to cover administration costs, it’s being presented now to meet a Dec. 31, 2007, deadline.

After some minor editing and discussion, the board — with two members present and one absent — agreed to forward an amended version of the draft bylaw to an attorney for review. A copy of the finalized bylaw will be available at the Town Offices.

The Finance Committee was leery of this bylaw because the fees aren’t spelled out, and it may cost the town money until they are.

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