Developers of Former Atlantic Lobster Company Site Ordered to Create New Wetlands as Part of Settlement
BOSTON – The developers of the former Atlantic Lobster Company site in Saugus must pay a $100,000 civil penalty for violations of public tidelands and wetlands laws under a court order announced by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office today.
Under the judgment, the defendants are required to restore the wetlands and tidelands they altered and to remove the fill they illegally placed within a year of the final judgment. Additionally, 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 (MassDEP). Under the settlement, $60,000 of the assessed penalty may be suspended if the defendants comply with the terms of the settlement, restore the site to its previous condition and create new areas of salt marsh on a portion of the property.
The Attorney General’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 occurred during the demolition of the former Atlantic Lobster Company building in Saugus which had burned down and collapsed in 2009. The work occurred in the Rumney Marshes, a location designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern in order to protect the particularly high value salt marshes and other wetlands found there. The developers’ failure to seek and receive permission to develop these areas, resulted in violations of the Wetlands Protection Act, the Clean Waters Act, and the Waterways Act, which prohibit work in wetlands and tidelands without permits granted by state or local authorities.
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) are places in Massachusetts that receive special recognition because of the quality, uniqueness and significance of their natural and cultural resources. These areas are identified and nominated at the community level and are reviewed and designated by the state’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Louis Dundin of Attorney General Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division with assistance from Heidi Zisch and Elizabeth Sabounjian of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office inWilmington.