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Essex, Massachusetts Town Seal
Code Red Notification

Conservation Commission
Contact TypeContact Information
Deborah Cunningham, Administrative Clerk
Ken Whittaker, Agent
Essex Town Hall, 74 Martin Street 
Essex ,MA 01929 
Office Hours:
Wednesdays 9:30 am to 12 pm

Hours are subject to change. Please call to assure someone will be available to assist you.

If you are unable to come in during regularly scheduled office hours, please call/text 978-609-2509 or email to schedule an appointment.

To schedule appointments with the Agent email
Link to PageLink to Page
Additional Links:
Link to PageLink to PageLink to Page
        EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY:  Office Hours will be 9:30 am to 12:00 pm - if you are unable to visit Town Hall during these hours, please call to schedule an appointment.
                                                        The Commission will no longer be using the cell phone number - call 978-768-2509 for assistance

Looking for a Legal Notice?

Starting January 21, 2017, newspapers will have to ensure that a public entity’s legal notice is published (1) in print; (2) on the newspaper’s website, if it has one; and (3) on the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association’s (MNPA) website ( Legal notices for the Conservation Commission are posted in the Gloucester Daily Times (


For those of you who are tech savvy, the Commission now has Chromecast available for use on the library TV. Please contact the Administrative Clerk for details.

WHO NEEDS TO FILE: Generally, if you are within 100 feet of a wetland area and/or 200 feet of a riverfront you should check with the Conservation Commission to see if you need to file an application. Both the Agent and the Administrative Clerk are available to assist in determining if you are within the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission.

MEETINGS: The Commission meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 pm in the library with the exception of the first Tuesday in May following the Annual Town Meeting. (See calendar on the left for exact dates.)

FILING INFORMATION: Filings requiring a legal notice are due TWO WEEKS prior to the hearing date. Please see the Commission's calendar on the left of this page for exact dates for filing deadlines.

PLEASE NOTE: A check made payable to Gloucester Daily Times in the amount of $116.00 together with a Request for Legal Notice form (see link above) must accompany all filings. Filings which do not have both a check and the request form will be deemed incomplete. This could delay the project from being added to the Commission's agenda. The Request form can be obtained by using the link above or can be completed and signed at the time the application is submitted, if hand delivered.

About the Conservation Commission
In the 1950s, the need to protect the environmental resources in Massachusetts was well known. In 1957, Representative John Dolan of Ipswich filed a bill in the Legislature which eventually became the Conservation Commission Act (G.L. Chapter 40 §8C). The new law would allow municipalities to establish Conservation Commissions through a vote of the local legislative body. By 1958, twelve towns had already formed Conservation Commissions. In 1972, Conservation Commissions were given the responsibility of administering the Wetlands Protection Act (G.L. Ch. 131 §40). Click here to see a copy of the Act. This allowed the Conservation Commissions to serve their communities in a regulatory as well as a conservation capacity.
The Essex Conservation Commission reviews applications for permits to do work in and near wetlands, flood plains, banks, riverfront areas, beaches and surface waters. At this time, Essex does not have any non-zoning bylaws or ordinances giving the Commission further power to protect the wetlands. Although the Commission does review plans which must be approved by other regulatory boards, the sole responsibility of the Commission is to determine if a project will have significant impact upon environmental resources and if it falls within the scope of the Wetlands Protection Act. If a project falls outside the scope Wetlands Protection Act, no other action will be taken by the Commission. In Essex, it is required that most building permit applications be reviewed and approved by the Commission to determine if the project is covered under the Wetlands Protection Act.

Term Expiration
Michael Burke
June 30, 2017
Robert Brophy
June 30, 2018
Angus Bruce
June 30, 2019
Wallace Bruce
June 30, 2017
Elisabeth Frye
June 30, 2017
Edward Marshall
June 30, 2018
Jack Schylling
June 30, 2019
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