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Can you build on wetlands in Connecticut?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Land Use

The calm aesthetic and diverse wildlife found in wetlands provide an attractive environment to build your home or business. These special water and land areas are often protected by law due to their biodiversity. Each Connecticut town established protections for the state’s wetlands via local ordinances.

Before conducting an activity on or near wetlands, you must gain permission from the municipal inland wetlands agency that enforces the Connecticut Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act (Act).

What requires a permit?

Since construction affects the resources in wetlands ecosystems, the process of applying for a wetlands permit often includes outlining a plan of the proposed activity plus providing a description of the environmental impact and any engineering information. The Act defines “regulated activities” as those “involving removal or deposition of material, or any obstruction, construction, alteration or pollution, of such wetlands or watercourses….” Should your proposed land project involve any of the above activities, for the most part, you need a permit.

What is an omitted land use?

With the right permits secured, living near the robust ecosystem of wetlands can provide an enriching and beautiful experience. However, the Act excludes certain land uses so you may not even have to get a permit in the first place. The wetland agency needs to make that determination by vetting nonregulated activities. The activities omitted from the Act include some maintenance, conservation, agricultural and residential or recreational uses.

Overall, if you find yourself wanting to build on or near wetlands in Connecticut, you must first submit a proposal for review and approval by your town’s wetlands administrator or agency.