Fairfield Inland Wetlands Permit Processes]
and Regulated Areas]
of Wetland Conformance (CWC) (Staff Level Wetland Permit)
] [Inland Wetland Permit
Applications (IWPA) (Inland Wetland Agency Level Permit)] [Conservation
Easements] [Maintenance of Existing
Structures] [Wetland Violations]
[Inland Wetlands Agency]
Inland Wetlands and
Watercourse Regulations (.pdf)
program affects nearly fifty percent of the
Town’s 19,000 acres on 7,000 parcels of
land by regulating inland wetland and
setback areas being impacted as a result of
development proposals. Program goals include reduced
flooding, controlling sediment and erosion,
protecting fish and wildlife habitat and
improving water quality.
contact person for the Inland Wetlands
person available at the public counter Monday -
Friday, 8:30am to 10:30am is:
Wetlands Compliance Officer
regulation of inland wetlands and
watercourses in the Town of Fairfield is a
process initiated in 1974 by the State of
Connecticut legislature under Connecticut
General Statutes section 22a-42.
The Fairfield Conservation
Commission, acting as the Inland Wetlands
and Watercourses Agency, implements
regulations which the Commission adopted in
1974 and periodically amends the
following two processes apply to the use,
alteration, or construction upon properties
which contain inland wetlands regulated
Maps and files denoting the presence
of regulated areas are on file in the office
of the Conservation Dept., located at 725
Old Post Road.
Anyone considering purchasing a
property, building anything, or changing the
character of the land is encouraged to call
203-256-3071 (or visit) the Conservation
Dept. to determine the possible effect, if
any, of the Inland Wetland and Watercourses
Regulations, and to pick up application
forms and related information.
The first two business hours in the
morning (8:30am - 10:30am) Monday through Friday are set aside
for these general inquiries.
OF FAIRFIELD INLAND WETLANDS PERMIT PROCESSES
Wetlands and watercourses are an interrelated web of nature
essential to the adequate supply of surface and underground
water; to hydrological stability and control of flooding and
erosion; to the recharging and purification of groundwater; and
to the existence of many forms of animal, aquatic and plant
life. The wetland’s law provides for the protection and
preservation of these resources and their values through an
orderly permit review process.
The following information applies to the use, alteration, or
construction upon properties which contain inland wetlands
regulated areas. Maps and files denoting the presence of
regulated areas are on file in the office of the Conservation
Anyone considering purchasing a property, building anything, or
changing the character of the land is encouraged to visit the
Conservation Department during Public Hours (8:30 am – 10:30 am,
Monday through Friday) to determine the possible effect, if any,
of the Inland Wetland and Watercourses Regulations, and to pick
up application forms and other information.
SETBACKS AND REGULATED
Wetland soils and
watercourses (ponds, streams, swamps, etc.) are regulated, as
well as an upland (dry) review area, or setback, a horizontal
distance from either the wetland soil or watercourse. The
setback area around wetlands and watercourses varies depending
upon location. Fairfield has 11 watersheds, each with its own
Please note many wetlands
in Fairfield are not obviously wet at the surface and are
therefore not obvious to the layperson. Many wetlands must be
determined and delineated by a certified soil scientist. A
setback under the wetlands process is not the same as a typical
zoning setback. A setback is not a mandatory exclusionary area.
Each disturbance proposal is reviewed individually and an
individual buffer or setback distance from a wetland or
watercourse may be determined to be necessary. The setback area
is reviewed for its buffer functions, like water quality,
wildlife habitat, groundwater recharge, and flood storage. Under
Connecticut law, the setback/buffer/upland review area cannot be
made exclusionary before a proposal is submitted—-it must be
reviewed and decided upon for each project and that project’s
OF WETLAND CONFORMANCE (CWC)
(Staff Level Wetland Permit)
of Wetlands Conformance are administrative
permits, issued by staff for construction
and/or other site improvements or
alterations on both commercial and
residential properties which contain
Regulated areas include wetlands
and watercourses, and a setback area round
them which varies depending upon location.
Right now such setbacks extend from
30 feet up to 144 feet.
Please note that many wetlands in
Fairfield are not obviously wet at the
surface and are therefore not readily
apparent to the layperson.
This is especially true in summer
and winter so we strongly recommend
checking our town wetland maps for all
properties in town.
projects involving this simple wetland
permit process are building additions,
pools, tennis courts, modifications to
septic systems, minor conversion of
woodland to lawn, and minor regrading.
For this expedited permit process to apply, all proposed
work must be located outside of any actual wetlands or
watercourses, but contain such resources or the setback
regulated area. Typically, these certificates are processed
within 65 days (note there is also a mandatory 15 day legal
notice petition period). Fees start at $480.00 (not
including State of CT $60.00 fee) with most fees between
$830.00 and $3,200.00. If approved, additional fees starting
at $160.00 apply; and examples of some conditions may be
posting a cash performance bond, soil erosion and sediment
controls, an on-site environmental monitor, and mitigation
for adverse impacts most often involving the offer of
WETLAND PERMIT APPLICATIONS (IWPA)
(Inland Wetland Agency Level Permit)
are required when someone wishes to work
or build close to wetlands and
Applications require highly
detailed supporting engineering, survey,
and ecological data.
These applications are reviewed by
Conservation Dept. staff, and acted upon
by the Conservation Commission, acting as
the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses
may take months of planning and
investigation to prepare an IWPA.
The decision process may take three
months or more, may involve public
hearings, and involve significant fees.
Fees start at about $2,900.00 and are
based on the activity, and amount of
regulated area on-site.
Typical fees range from $4,000.00 to
$8,000.00 for single family developments.
If approved, additional permit
fees, starting at $2,890.00 apply.
facilitate the development of complete and
acceptable applications, the Inland
Wetlands Agency staff offers, at no
charge, “conceptual reviews” of basic
development schemes without the submission
of costly detailed designs.
The only pre-requisite for this
“concept review” application, is a
soil scientist survey and report, and the
property owner’s written consent.
Staff will provide written comments
and recommendations for the proposed
This conceptual process is
well-received by the building community,
and staff believes it has led to more
environmentally sound proposals.
often the Inland Wetland Agency approves
development proposals with conditions.
Such conditions generally include
cash performance bonding, soil erosion and
sediment controls, an on-site
environmental monitor, and mitigation for
adverse impacts most often involving the offer of
Conservation and Storm Water Detention
Conservation Easements are deed
restrictions limiting the use of land.
Basically, most mean the land
contained within the easement is not to be
altered-—the land is to be preserved in
its natural state forever.
These easements have been commonly
offered/required on developments since the mid
OF EXISTING STRUCTURES
Some activities, including some maintenance activities, may
be allowed “as-of-right”. Generally, these are uses
incidental to the enjoyment or maintenance of residential
property. Such incidental uses include maintenance of
existing structures and landscaping, but shall not include
removal or deposition of substantial amounts of material
from or into a wetland or watercourse, or diversion or
alteration of a watercourse. The Wetlands Agency determines
what activity is “as-of-right”, therefore it is best to
request a Declaratory Ruling (which is a simple 1-page
form—with no fee) to be certain your activity is allowed or
unregulated, prior to beginning any work.
Wetland violations result when a regulated activity is
initiated without a wetland permit or certificate, or when
such activity exceeds the allowed limit. Violations can
result in considerable expense, and legal court action
against the property owner, the contractor, and any other
known party that commits, takes part in, or assists in any
violation. A civil penalty of $1,000.00 for each offense is
allowed per the Connecticut General Statutes, and in the
case of a continuing violation, each day’s offense shall be
deemed to be a separate and distinct offense. In addition,
the Wetlands Agency may order the violation removed and
restored, and all permit fees that would have been required,
including all staff time to process and resolve the
violation, to be paid. A violation is absolutely not a
short-cut of the permit process to get an activity approved.
here for information on the Inland
to Conservation Department Page.