Public Input Bill
Currently, there is no requirement that Massachusetts state agencies and authorities provide advance notice or hold public hearings, before felling trees, clearing land, building structures, or making other alterations to public lands.
Abutters, walkers, joggers, and other users of parks, forests, and other public lands, sometimes find out about changes only when they see the spray paint on the trees or the backhoes on site.
The Public Input Bill (H2008) An Act to Provide Public Input Into Changes to Public Lands and Buildings Located Thereon would require public notice and input before for significant physical alterations to state parks and other public natural resource lands could take place.
The bill would cover all state departments, agencies, and authorities permitting or intending to make physical changes on public lands, changes which were above certain threshold levels in magnitude. Changes covered by the act would include tree removal, grading, construction, and creation of access roads. Before such activities could take place or permits be issued, the responsible department, agency, or authority would be required to hold a public hearing and to provide adequate notice of the hearing.
With passage of the Public Input Bill those of us who use and enjoy public parks and forests would be assured of having advance notice and an opportunity to have our voices heard before the chain saws go to work instead of only after the trees have come down.