Civil penalty assessed against Mass. developers

Bryan Cohen Nov. 10, 2011, 1:26am


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Wednesday that the developers of the former Atlantic Lobster Company site in Saugus must pay a $100,000 civil penalty for public tidelands and wetlands law violations.

Coakley's lawsuit alleges that developers Pamela Avedisian and Gary DeCicco scraped approximately one acre of wetlands and then used the scrapings to fill a tidal lagoon at the Saugus property. This allegedly occurred during the demolition of the former Atlantic Lobster Company building in Saugus that burned down and collapsed in 2009.

The work occurred in the Rumney Marshes, which is designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern in order to protect the particularly high value salt marshes and other wetlands found on the site. The developers' alleged failure to seek and receive permission to develop the area resulted in violations of the Wetlands Protection Act, the Waterways Act and the Clean Waters Act, which prohibit work in tidelands and wetlands without permits granted by state or local authorities.

Under terms of the judgment, the defendants must restore the wetlands and tidelands they altered and remove fill that was placed within a year of the final judgment. In addition, they are required to create at least 10,000 square feet of additional salt marsh at the property. The defendants' work will be subject to review by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Under terms of the settlement, $60,000 of the assessed penalty may be suspended if the defendants comply with the settlement's terms, restore the site to its previous condition and create new areas of salt marsh on a portion of the property.

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