Friday, July 20, 2012

July 31 hearing for proposed wetland general permit

MADISON – A proposed general permit to streamline the wetland permitting process for some residential, commercial and industrial projects impacting wetlands is now out for public comment, and is the topic of a July 31 public informational hearing in Madison, state wetland officials say.

The informational hearing will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 041 at the State Education Building, also known as GEF 3, located at 125 S. Webster St. in Madison.

The proposed statewide general permit - or “GP” - is the first of its kind required under a new law passed earlier this year by state lawmakers. It would enable people who have a project resulting in the unavoidable filling of up to 10,000 square feet of wetland - just under one-quarter of an acre – to get their permit decision more quickly if the project meets the standards and conditions in the general permit.

Right now, all landowners wanting to pursue projects that involve wetland fill must seek an individual permit and lengthier environmental review.

The proposed general permit identifies the location, design, and construction standards and other conditions any project must meet to qualify for the general permit, and to ensure that minimal environmental effects occur. Once in effect, the general permit will be valid statewide for 5 years. When property owners can apply for coverage under the general permit, DNR is required to issue a decision within 30 days.

“This proposed general permit will simplify the permit process for projects that can’t avoid small amounts of wetland fill. By avoiding and minimizing wetland impacts, and designing their project to meet the GP standards and conditions, a property owner can qualify and get their permit decision within 30 days.” says Cami Peterson, Wetland Policy Coordinator.

Projects that involve more than 10,000 square feet of wetland fill or do not meet the GP standards and conditions will continue to require a wetland individual permit, which has a longer process time, greater level of environmental review, and higher permit fee.

To view a copy of the proposed statewide general permit and environmental decision document go to Public comments are being accepted through August 16. For more information or to submit written comments on the draft general permit or environmental decision document, contact Cami Peterson, DNR-WT/3, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, or by phone at 608-261-6400.

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