Permitting is everything – It’s the endgame, and we’ll be by your side every step of the way.

Although Cape Cod has one of the most challenging land and coastal regulatory landscapes in the country, CIE has a record of winning regulatory approval for our clients spanning three decades. We have a deep understanding of the most up-to-date local, state and federal regulations and are trained to present our client cases in the best light to achieve results. Our methodology is grounded in an ability to think strategically and creatively; often uncovering out-of-the-box solutions to complex land issues. 

Mashpee Conservation Commission
Falmouth Planning Board Permitting
Mashpee Conservation Commission Meeting

Overview of Cape Cod Regulatory Boards & Agencies

If you plan to buy, sell, build or alter any property on Cape Cod, you’ll likely need to interact with multiple regulatory agencies and boards – This is where our experience counts. Without an experienced, strategic approach, the permitting process can be confusing and overwhelming, sometimes resulting in unwanted fines, depreciation of property assets and even legal action.

Local Planning & Zoning Boards

When are they involved?
Construction projects for both residential and commercial properties may be required to file and obtain approval from local Planning and Zoning Boards before construction can begin.

How we can help?
CIE works with clients to proactively develop winning strategies for efficient project approvals by local planning and zoning boards. With a complete understanding of your project and CIE’s experience and support, you will be prepared for any question or concern that could surface during your hearing. CIE has long-standing relationships with local town planning/zoning boards and more than thirty years of experience representing Cape Cod landowners.

Local Boards of Health

When are they involved?
Any project that incorporates a septic system requires approval from a town’s board of health.

How we can help?
If you are building a new home, increasing the number of bedrooms in an existing home, have a failed septic system inspection, or need to move /alter an existing septic system, CIE can provide a one-stop service for the design, filing and permitting of a septic system for your home.

Natural Heritage & Endangered Species

The Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program is responsible for the conservation and protection of hundreds of Massachusetts rare species and their natural habitats.

When are they involved?
Any project that falls within MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species jurisdiction must file for approval before proceeding.

How we can help?
CIE can survey the habitat of your property to determine whether your project will impact state-listed rare species and their habitats.

Cape Cod Commission
The Cape Cod Commission is a regional land use planning and regulatory agency that reviews projects with regional impacts on the environment, economy, and infrastructure of Cape Cod, including water quality, traffic flow, community character, affordable housing, open space, natural resources, and economic development.

The Cape Cod Commission’s mission is to protect the unique values and quality of life on Cape Cod by coordinating a balanced relationship between environmental protection and economic progress.

When are they involved?
The Cape Cod Commission is typically involved in larger-scale projects having over 10,000 s.f. of commercial building area or 20,000 s.f. of mixed-use building area.

How we can help?
Understanding the rules, regulations, and requirements during the conceptual phase of a design layout prevents unnecessary revisions and wasted time. We know what they’re looking for and how to help you efficiently design your project.

FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the national agency that creates the official flood maps used to inform property owners of their local flood risk. FEMA flood risk designations determine the cost of flood insurance, mandatory for any property that falls within a flood zone.

How we can help?
If your property is located within a flood zone it can affect your insurance rates, property values, and can impact the sale of your property.

CIE provides flood zone analysis to help you plan for buying or selling a home, or how to proceed with new construction.

We can determine and verify flood zone delineations. If we find inaccuracies between our data and the FEMA flood map, we can file a LOMA application (Letter of Map Amendments), which is essentially an appeal.

A LOMA officially amends the effective National Flood Insurance Program map, making it a public record. In short, it can save you thousands in flood insurance premiums.

Receiving an approved amendment is not always possible, but there is value in accurately establishing your property in relation to local flood zones

FEMA Flood Map Lookup

Conservation Commissions
Your town’s local conservation commission is responsible for issuing and monitoring the compliance of the permitting required to do work in and near wetlands, flood plains, banks, riverfront areas, beaches, and surface waters as required by the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act.

CIE has significant experience in guiding clients through conservation commission wetlands permitting for building construction, restoration, and prevention projects. Our work typically involves identifying and delineating features of your property that need to be protected, developing the measures necessary to obtain a permit, oversight of work required to meet the permit requirements, and finally verification that the permit’s terms have been satisfied.

When are they involved?
Any waterfront project, whether buying, selling, new construction, or a teardown/rebuild, will have to be presented to the Conservation Commission.

This is often a multi-step process that is integral to preserving the integrity and value of your investment. A misstep can cost you a substantial amount of time and money.

How we can help?
Knowledge can be powerful. Cape Cod properties are often within a conservation jurisdiction without the owner’s knowledge, and realtors are often not well-versed in the rules and regulations. If you are buying or selling property, a CIE survey can be a valuable tool for avoiding costly delays in closings, loss of escrow, depreciation and unforeseen restrictions on what can be done to the property.

Features Protected Under Wetlands Act

  • Vegetated Wetlands
  • Coastal Beaches & Banks
  • Salt Marshes
  • Shellfish Habitats
  • Eelgrass

Common Services Needed

  • Wetland Delineation
  • Restoration & Replication
  • Erosion Control
  • Excavation Overview
  • Mitigation Planting
  • Landscape Planning
  • Wildlife Habitat Analysis
  • Vernal Pool Analysis
  • Invasive Species
  • Stormwater Management

MassDEP (Department of Environmental Protection)
MassDEP works to preserve and protect MA clean air and water including wetlands and coastal resources.

When they are involved?
When building, rebuilding, or modifying a property within a flood zone or within one-hundred feet of a wetland resource area, including coastal and inland banks.

How we can help?
Most conservation commission applications require filing with MassDEP. The process can be complicated and require surveys and verification. CIE’s permitting team has deep knowledge of MassDEP regulations and expertise in maneuvering clients through the nuances of a MassDEP filing.

– Septic Systems & Title 5
– Wetlands Information

The Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency that regulates navigable waterways.

When are they involved?
If your project involves a dock or pier, it’s going to involve the Army Corp of Engineers. This is another required step in the conservation permitting process and dock licensure.

How we can help?
Projects requiring dredging and all of its counterparts (such as a dock or pier) must be analyzed, presented and approved under local, state and federal regulations. CIE can verify that steps have been taken to avoid impacts to wetlands, streams, and aquatic resources, that potential impacts have been minimized, and the permits have been obtained for proper disposal of dredged material.

Get In Touch

CIE’s Permitting Team

  • Has expert knowledge of current local, regional, state and federal regulations impacting your projects

  • Has long-standing working relationships with local planning and zoning boards, conservation commissions, municipal engineers, and state, and federal agencies

  • Has the ability to develop winning strategies, respond to requests quickly, and approach each challenge creatively