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Building in areas of critical environmental concern – an overview

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2022 | Commercial Real Estate |

Land development commonly involves compliance with varying regulations and the submission of different reviews along the way. These requirements often expand when the planned projects take place in certain protected areas.

Designated areas of critical environmental concern typically fall subject to increased oversight and standards. Therefore, land developers should understand the reviews that they will have to submit when building in ACECs.

Land preservation and restoration

According to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, areas of critical environmental concern include lands granted special recognition based on several qualifying factors. These include the significance, uniqueness and quality of the land’s natural and cultural resources.

By designating such areas and making them subject to enhanced oversight, the Areas of Critical Environmental Concern program aims to enhance, preserve and restore vital resources and resource areas. Through these heightened regulations, the program works to help land developers become stewards of these essential ecological areas.

Regulated activities for ACEC projects

According to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Management, the state regulates certain project activities in areas of critical environmental concern. For example, these include those activities that may have substantial impacts, such as altering wildlife habitats. Land developers often must show how the proposed project will or will not affect the surrounding environment, as well as disclose their plans for the preservation of the land resources.

When it comes to projects in ACECs, preserving the environment often carries as much importance as developing the land. Knowing what the state requires of them, as well as what activities it may restrict, may help keep some projects on budget and on time.