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Landowner faces fines for wetlands violation

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 09. 2012 11:16PM

Well-known Conway landowner and civic leader Chester B. Lucy and a local excavator this week agreed to pay the state up to $66,000 in penalties for placing boulders on erbank to prevent further erosion of Lucy's hay field without first obtaining a state wetlands permit.

'He would say today that he wouldn't do that without a permit. He realizes how important that is from the state's perspective. But he thought at the time that he was taking this action to protect the field and, if he waited any longer, he would lose the field,' Concord attorney Gregory H. Smith said Tuesday. Smith represents Lucy and Allen Eastman, a local excavator who did the work.

The Saco River cut about 30 feet off the large tract of land that Lucy, a well-known civic leader, owns and has in conservation easement, Smith said.

'He and his family are actively involved with this land …. They are outstanding stewards of the land up and down the valley that his family has owned going back 200 years,' Smith said.

Lucy and Eastman were fined $66,000 for wetlands violations under a settlement with the state Attorney General's Office and Department of Environmental Services approved Monday by Carroll County Superior Court.

The settlement's terms call for $29,000 to be paid in cash, $15,000 to repaid by work to be done by Eastman, and $22,000 will be permanently suspended if there are no other wetlands violations after two years.

In its lawsuit, the state said Lucy and Eastman lined about 570 feet of the Saco River bank with boulders in 2009 without first obtaining a DES permit.

'The importance of the (permit) process is to make sure it's done in the least impacting manner,' Assistant Attorney General Evan J. Mulholland said.

Lucy has since applied for a permit from the state to allow the stabilized bank to remain in place, his attorney said. DES is in the process of reviewing it.

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