EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 11, 2011

Marblehead firm fined over wetlands violations

By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

MARBLEHEAD — A Marblehead businessman whose company admitted last year to violations of federal environmental law is now facing allegations that he ignored the state's Wetlands Protection Act.

Peter Noyes was fined $900 by the Marblehead Conservation Commission during a meeting Thursday night, where commission members, citing environmental concerns, also rejected two proposed projects on Little Harbor Island (also known as Gerry's Island).

Noyes has been doing some work on the island, which is accessible by vehicle at low tide, with the intent of creating a marine storage and repair business, he has told town officials.

He has also indicated that he plans to set up a campground, Conservation Commission chairman Walter Haug said.

The island is owned by Ted Moore, who told town officials that Noyes has an agreement to rent the land.

But in two enforcement orders issued last week by the town's conservation administrator, William Lanphear, town officials allege that Noyes failed to get the proper permits to do the work and damaged the land by dumping rotted floats and allowing oil to drip from a truck that was left parked there for several days. The enforcement order says Noyes also cut tree limbs and removed vegetation in protected coastal resource areas.

The town had also alleged that Noyes had committed a violation by driving onto the island from the adjacent causeway at low tide, but withdrew that violation Thursday night.

Even before Thursday night's hearing, Noyes, on Thursday afternoon, had filed an appeal of those enforcement orders at Salem Superior Court.

Noyes has also sought permission to build or repair sea walls, as well as to build a gravel ramp leading from the causeway onto the island.

The commission denied the request for the sea walls, citing concerns that the project would alter the natural tidal flow and affect the property of others. The commission also cited the lack of information presented on the potential effect on marine life spawning grounds, Haug said.

Commissioners also considered the site plan, last updated in 1987, out of date, and said their questions about the extent of existing sea walls and erosion were not answered.

Noyes did have an environmental engineering firm working on the applications but a representative of that firm told the commission that he had not been given the authorization by Noyes to update the plan, Haug said.

Noyes could not be reached for comment yesterday on whether he will also appeal the denial of permits for the sea wall and ramp projects.

Last year, a company controlled by Noyes, Rockmore Co., was assessed a total of $300,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to two counts of violating the federal Rivers and Harbors Act, acknowledging that employees allowed sewage to be dumped into area waters on two dates in August 2006, from a boat, the Hannah Glover. The company is on probation in the case.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis may be reached at 978-338-2521 or at jmanganis@salemnews.com.