Foreclosed property had substantial, unauthorized alterations to bordering vegetated wetlands
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust (LBMLT) $105,000 for unauthorized alterations made to approximately 10,000 square feet of wetlands at 115-117 Merrill Avenue in Haverhill.
Preceding the foreclosure on this land by LBMLT, Marilyn Campbell owned the property, and during that time, removed trees and vegetation. Gravel and tree stumps and wood were also used as fill material and deposited in the wetlands without any local or state review or approval. Until September, Campbell’s son, Carl Campbell, who performed the unauthorized alterations, continued to occupy the site, which is a residential dwelling.
The Trust has agreed to retain a wetlands scientist to submit a plan to MassDEP for approval that fully delineates the impacted wetlands and adjoining land, and provides for the removal of the unauthorized fill by October 31, 2015. The functional restoration of all the altered area, including re-vegetation, shall be completed by June 30, 2016.
“A property owner should always ensure they have the proper approvals before conducting any activity in or near wetlands,” said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. “Having to restore illegally altered wetlands will always be more costly in the long run.”
MassDEP has agreed to suspend $75,000 of the penalty provided a wetlands scientist submits documentation showing the restored area has been maintained for five consecutive growing seasons through October 31, 2020.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.