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All cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts assess the value of property using a Mass Appraisal system. This system is a broad approach to predicting the value of properties that did not sell using the information collected about the properties that did sell. It is the application of a small database of information (the sold properties) to a large database of properties (the unsold properties).
As defined by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Mass Appraisal is the use of standardized procedures for collecting data and appraising property to ensure that all properties within a municipality are valued uniformly and equitably. Mass Appraisal is the processes of valuing a universe of properties as of a given valuation date using common data, a standardized procedure, and statistical testing. Unlike individual fee appraisal, which is intended to derive the market value of a single property, the goal of Mass Appraisal is to bring all properties to their full and fair market value, whether properties have sold recently or not, and thus to achieve equity among all property values.
The Department of Revenue requires cities and towns to revalue all properties every five years for certification according to specific requirements set by the Bureau of Local Assessment. The results of the revaluation process must meet statistical standards defined by the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue also requires that cities perform interim year adjustments, which are conducted between certification years. Waiting five years between revaluations leads to large adjustments, whereas revaluing every year and annually adjusting to market trends, generally results in smaller increments of change.
In Mass Appraisal, the universe of properties is defined as all properties in a city or town including single-family homes, two-family homes, three-family homes, condominiums, apartments, vacant land, commercial properties, industrial properties, and mixed-use properties. The process described in this document only addresses the mass appraisal of single-family homes and condominiums.
The valuation date for an assessment as defined in the laws of the Commonwealth is January 1st prior to the fiscal year, and the assessed value reflects estimated market value as of that date. For example, the assessment date for Fiscal Year 2024 is January 1, 2023. To determine the estimated market value of a parcel on January 1, 2023, the arms-length sales (between a willing buyer and a willing seller with no unusual circumstances) that occurred between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022 are analyzed.
The standardized procedure followed for determining full and fair market value involves using a model, defining parameters, and performing iterations of statistical analysis to validate the model results. To accomplish this, a sales database is created each year containing information about the sales that occurred in the year prior to the valuation date. This is the small database of information (the sold properties) which will be applied to the large database of properties (the unsold properties). The sales database is used to establish the criteria for applying the characteristics of sold properties to the unsold properties. The standardized procedure used is the following:
This information is meant to be a brief overview of the assessment process; the actual process may require additional information and documentation, as deemed required by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and its Bureau of Local Assessments.
In Summary: Home valuations are based on Sales Analysis. The property valuations are reviewed on a yearly basis. Valuations are based on Sales analysis performed for all qualified property sales during prior year, dependent on the number of qualified Sales, values may be based on the prior twelve to eighteen months. New property valuations be decreased or increased as a result of the analysis and where the Assessment to Sales Ratio (ASR) falls within the Department of Revenue guidelines.
This is a very common occurrence with lenders being extremely cautious with their appraisals. An Appraisal can give an opinion of value greater than or less than the Assessed Value as the appraiser typically uses sales data within the past 6 months and Assessed Values is based on the prior calendar year sales. Assessed Value for Real Estate Tax is retrospective - it is based on past sales activity. An Appraisal is typically the opinion of the current market value. Bank appraisals are usually different than the town's assessment valuations. What you must compare is your tax assessment valuation relative to the assessment valuation set for the town of Upton. Is your home consistently assessed with other properties in the town of Upton?
All taxpayers have the right to contest their assessment. To do so you must file an application for abatement in writing on an approved form with the board of assessors. Tax abatement forms are available from your assessor's office. If tax bills were mailed on or before December 31st then you must file for abatement by February 1st of the next year.
It is very important that you complete the application and include specific details. The Assessors will provide you with the appropriate forms to complete your application process.
It is a good idea to visit the assessor's office and do a comparison of your property to similar properties within your neighborhood. To start, request a printout of your property record card and verify that all the data is correct including land size, house style, size based on total square footage as measured using the outside dimensions of the structure, amenities such as fireplace, bathrooms, air conditioning, garages, attic and basement finished/unfinished, decks, porches, and etc. The more details you include with the application showing comparisons the better. With over three thousand property assessments it is possible for us to make mistakes. The key and most important factor is consistency throughout the town and more specifically within neighborhoods. Please keep in mind the new assessments are based on sales analysis of property sold during the preceding year.
The Board of Assessors is working for you. Please contact us with any questions at 508-529-1002. Our office is open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8 am to 4 pm, Tuesdays from 8 am to 6 pm, and Friday from 8 am to Noon. The Assessors are also available by appointment outside of office hours, at a mutually agreeable time.
Compare your value to similar properties in your neighborhood.
Land values can vary dramatically based on:
The following are some, but not all of the variables that affect value:
These are carefully analyzed based on:
The reason the total bill increases is because the town budget increases.
The tax rate is set as a direct result of Upton's town meeting process, so the voters decide if taxes go up. Individually, If the budget stays the same, some property owners will go up, some will go down, and some will stay just about the same.
The Town determines the amount of revenue (R) to be raised. The Town then totals all the assessments (A). The Town divides the revenue (R) by the Assessments (A) to get the actual tax rate: Tax Rate = R/A.
If the value of property decreases then the rate must increase to meet the budget. The opposite effect occurs when the values increase then the tax rate will decrease.
The town valuation is $5,000,000 and the town budget was $1,000,000. The tax rate is calculated by dividing the amount to be raised $1,000,000 by the Valuation divided by 1000 ($1,000,000 / (5000000/1000) equals a tax rate of $20.
If the valuation decreases and the budget stays the same then the rate increases.
If the Town valuation decreases to $4,000,000 and the town budget remains flat at $1,000,000. The tax rate is calculated by dividing the amount to be raised $1,000,000 by the Valuation divided by 1000 ($1,000,000 / (4000000/1000) equals a tax rate of $25.
If the valuation increases and the budget stays the same then the rate decreases.
If the Town valuation increases to $6,000,000 and the town budget remains flat at $1,000,000. The tax rate is calculated by dividing the amount to be raised $1,000,000 by the Valuation divided by 1000 ($1,000,000 / (6000000/1000) equals a tax rate of $16.66.
The tax rate is a result of the correlation of the total assessed value of all property in the town of Upton and the amount of money the town requires satisfying its budgetary commitments.
The State of Massachusetts offers a variety of exemptions for certain qualifying individuals, including elderly persons, blind persons, disabled veterans, a surviving spouse or orphaned minor child, a widow or orphaned minor of a police officer or fire fighter killed in the line of duty, and individuals with extreme medical and financial hardships. Exemptions are distinguished from abatements in that exemptions refer to the condition of a person, while abatements refer to an incorrect assessment of a property.
The qualifying date for all exemptions is July 1st, the first day of the Fiscal Year. Applications are due within ninety (90) days of the date of the postmark of the third quarter, or actual, tax bill. An additional qualification for all exemptions is ownership and occupancy of the property.
Because of the number and complexity of exemptions, the following information is intended to give you a general idea of what is available. If you suspect that you may be eligible for an exemption or have any questions, call the Assessor's Office at 508-529-1002.
Unlike a property exemption, the tax deferral is a program that allows a homeowner to defer the payment of their tax to a later date, typically when the owner passes away or sells the home. If you are 65 or older and have an annual income not exceeding $40,000 you may defer up to 100% of your annual property tax. The taxpayer must enter into a Deferral and Recovery Agreement with the Board of Assessors. A lien is placed upon the property, and deferred taxes accumulate with simple interest at 8%.
Beginning in Fiscal 2006, the Board of Selectmen adopted a program called the Property Tax Work-Off Program. This program allows older residents to reduce their property tax liability by up to $888 by volunteering to work in various departments of the Town. You must be aged 60 or older and possess the appropriate skill for the department requiring the assistance. If you think you might be interested in this program, contact the Council on Aging at 508-529-4558.
If the Board of Assessors denies your application for abatement, or if you believe the abated value is still incorrect, you have the right to appeal this decision to the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board. You must file your appeal within three months of the Board's decision. You may contact the Appellate Tax Board at 617-727-3100, or visit their website.
If you believe your property value is too high you should speak to someone in the Assessor's Office. The first step is to review your property record card to insure that the data is correct. Quite often, if the value is incorrect it is due to a simple data error. The next step would be to review the sales of similar properties within the community, and particularly within a neighborhood similar to yours. The assessing staff will assist you with this process if you need help, as all data is available in their office.
Once you have completed these steps, if you still believe the assessment of your property is incorrect you should apply for an abatement. You must apply for an abatement by February 1st of any given year, or thirty (30) days from the postmark on the third quarter tax bill, whichever date is later. Upon receipt of your application, the Assessor will most likely contact you to arrange for an inspection of your property to take place in order to verify the accuracy of the data. The Board of Assessors has three months from the date they are received to act upon abatement applications, and is required to notify you in writing within ten days of their decision, regardless of whether the decision is to abate or deny your application.
Finally, it is important that you understand that abatements are granted or denied based upon valuation issues, not tax issues. In other words, if your issue is with your tax bill but not your value you have no grounds to apply for an abatement. Tax dollars are determined by the spending at Town Meeting, not the value of your property, and while the Assessor has total jurisdiction over the assessments on all properties within the community, they have no jurisdiction over spending.
You have no legal obligation to allow the Assessor to inspect your property unless you apply for an abatement of your property tax. However, for the Assessor to properly perform their duty of applying fair and equitable values to all properties within the community it is imperative that the data they have on each property is accurate. For this reason, the taxpayers' cooperation with the inspection process is very important and greatly appreciated by the Assessor.
Valuation in Massachusetts is based on "full and fair cash value", or the amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller on the open market. Determining the "full and fair cash value" involves reviewing the sales of similar properties (the market approach to value), what the property would cost today to replace (the cost approach to value), and for income-producing properties, a knowledge of current economic conditions such as rental and vacancy rates, current interest rates, and the rate of return a potential purchaser can expect to receive on their investment (the income approach to value). The Assessor does not create value. Rather, he/she has the responsibility to discover and reflect the changes that are occurring in the marketplace.
Proposition 2 ½ is a State law that places constraints on the amount of real and personal property taxes that the Town is allowed to raise in any given Fiscal Year. The amount of tax dollars, or levy, allowed under Proposition 2 ½ is called the "levy limit". The levy limit is determined by multiplying the previous year's limit by 2 ½ percent, and adding to that the tax dollars generated from any new construction within the Town that is not the result of property revaluation. The levy limit under Proposition 2 ½ may be exceeded only by the Town's approval of a debt exclusion or override. A debt exclusion allows the Town to exceed the levy limit only for the life of the debt, i.e., the terms of the borrowing, while an override is a permanent increase in the levy limit.
The Board of Assessors is responsible for determining the fair market value of all property located within the Town. There are three principal types of local taxes administered by the Board: real estate, personal property, and motor vehicle excise. The Board is also responsible for the administration of all laws relative to local taxation as outlined in the General Laws of Massachusetts and is supervised in the administration of these laws by the Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services. Additionally, the Board of Assessors is responsible for compiling and submitting all data required for setting the tax rate on an annual basis to the Department of Revenue for approval on an annual basis.
The assessing department does not raise or lower taxes. The amount of taxes charged is determined by the amount of tax dollars, or tax levy, required to cover the cost of local services. The tax levy is determined by the town's spending, which is determined by the voters at town meeting. While the assessing department is responsible for determining each person's share of the levy, they have no control over an individual's tax bill.
You may contact the BOH office for a list of inspectors, or call the company you use to pump out your septic tank to see if they are certified (most are). You will need to provide the inspectors with a copy of your septic system design plan, and the water table. Both should be available at the BOH office, by supplying us with the year the house was built, the lot number and any names originally associated with the home.
Call or email the BOH office for a copy of your septic system design. Please have as much information as possible; date the house was built, name the house was built under, lot number (not street number). If the design plan is available, we will make a copy for you.
The mosquitoes that carry these diseases could be present until this area has a hard frost.
Yes, any resident or business that wants a dumpster needs to first obtain a permit from the BOH, even if it's for a short duration.
The Department of Public Health is no longer testing birds in the area, they have obtained all the information needed. Dispose of the bird properly but be sure to wear gloves.
Contact the Animal Control Officer, Mike Moran, at 508-612-9752. We will also be offering on the A.C. website, a page with lost and found animals in the near future. Residents who find an animal and are unsure who the owner is should also contact the officer at the above telephone number.
An inspection of your kitchen must first be made by the food inspector, who will then determine if you meet the necessary requirements. To schedule such an inspection, contact the BOH office at 508-529-6813.
Yes, all the food inspection reports are public record and can be viewed during office hours.
Upton no longer offers a disposal site for these items, but you may contact a private organization such as High Acres Farm on Christian Hill Road in Upton 508-478-2887.
The Grafton and Upton Railroad (G&U) is a privately owned railroad that has been in operation since 1876. The system starts at the interchange with CSX in North Grafton and terminates in Milford - a distance of about 15 miles, of which 5.4 are in Upton. The railroad provides freight rail transportation to customers in central and eastern Massachusetts.
The railroad was purchased in 2008 by Mr. Jon Delli Priscoli. Along with the purchase of the railroad Mr. Delli Priscoli has also purchased a one-third membership in the Upton Development Group (UDG) and the G&U has an agreement to purchase and presently leases the yard from UDG. This site was formerly used by the Town as a landfill. The lease provides that G&U has full control over the yard, including the right to use the yard for rail operations and all other lawful purposes.
The railroad's plan for the site located at Maple Avenue, which is immediately adjacent to a long existing rail yard, is to be able to transload any commodity that is transportable by rail and truck, including wood pellets as well as hazardous and non-hazardous liquid products. These products will be brought in by rail and then transloaded onto trucks that will then deliver materials to their end destination in our region. In certain cases in the future, products will be brought into the yard by truck and transloaded onto trains. In some cases, products may be stored on-site for a period of time during the transloading process.
The Dana Companies are providers of various transportation services, including bulk transportation, and are specialists in short and long-haul chemical common carrier transportation. A Dana Company affiliate, Grafton Upton Railcare LLC, has contracted with the railroad to provide transloading services "for and under the auspices and control of the G&U". This includes all transloading services required by customers of G&U at the yard. See a letter provided to the Town by counsel for the railroad (PDF) on ownership and operations of the G&U yard.
In 2008, when the current owner purchased the railroad, he approached the Town to make them aware of his intentions for the site. The Town, acting through its Board of Selectmen retained legal counsel to investigate the rights of the railroad and advise the Town on whether or not the railroad could in fact develop the site as they outlined without land use or zoning permits from the Town of Upton. A copy of the legal opinion (PDF), which concluded that federal preemption applied and that, as a consequence, the Town could not require permitting. Based upon this opinion the Board of Selectmen believes that the G&U is pre-empted from state and local regulations.
The Board of Selectmen is very cognizant of the concern of residents about whether an operation such as the railroads is appropriate for our Town and that residents are safe from the activities of the railroad. Despite the legal work done to this point, which as noted above, concluded that the Town was preempted from restricting the transportation activities, some residents have still expressed belief that the railroad does not have the right to operate as planned. The Board believes that in this case, the best approach to investigating these concerns was to establish an independent committee of five people to look into the work already done, investigate further, and report back to the Board. Those members are one each from the Selectmen, Planning Board, and Board of Health, and then two citizen at-large members selected by the first three.
Transportation: "(A) a locomotive, car, vehicle, vessel, warehouse, wharf, pier, dock, yard, property, facility, instrumentality, or equipment of any kind related to the movement of passengers or property or both, by rail, regardless of ownership or an agreement concerning use; and (B) services related to that movement, including receipt, delivery, elevation, transfer in transit, refrigeration, icing, ventilation, storage, handling, and interchange of passengers and property." [49 USC. §10102(9)]
Pre-emption: To come within the preemptive scope of §10501(b), activities must be both: (1) transportation; and (2) performed by, or under the auspices of, a rail carrier.
Rail Carrier: means "a person providing common carrier rail transportation for compensation...." [49 USC. §10102(5)]
Railroad: (A) a bridge, car float, lighter, ferry, and intermodal equipment used by or in connection with a railroad; (B) the road used by a rail carrier and owned by it or operated under an agreement; and (C) a switch, spur, track, terminal, terminal facility, and a freight depot, yard, and ground, used or necessary for transportation." [49 USC. §10102(6)]
Transloading: Transferring bulk shipments from the vehicle/container of one mode to that of another at an interchange point (U.S. Department of Transportation).
The railroad's activities must be integrally related to the railroad's ability to provide rail transportation services.
State and local permitting or pre-clearance requirements (including environmental requirements) are preempted.
Preemption is not limited to "economic" regulations Federal environmental laws may apply, but they can not be used to unduly restrict or burden interstate commerce or rail operations.
The substance of State and local regulations regarding health and public safety are followed by railroads even if preclearance and permitting regulations are preempted.
The Federal Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA) preempts local and state regulations of rail transportation facilities. That Act gave exclusive jurisdiction over "transportation by rail carrier" to the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB). The STB is responsible for regulating economic activities of rail carriers and promoting interstate commerce.
The STB has a process called a "Petition for a Declaratory Order". That process requires the Town to file an application along with a legal brief and written evidence outlining the Town's case as to why the railroad is not preempted, and a filing fee of $1,400. Depending on the situation the legal brief can be quite lengthy.
The Town has been advised that in order to be successful in such an endeavor we will need to have a legal theory and facts that support a decision that preemption does not apply, contrary to the earlier legal opinion received by the Town, and to retain Counsel in Washington that is skilled in this area of law. Most cases take at least six months to be resolved before an order is decided, and the legal expenses could easily exceed $50,000. If the Town were successful in obtaining a decision to the effect that the railroad's activities at the yard were subject to local regulation, the Town could require the railroad to apply for various permits relating to the construction or operation of the yard.
The STB has exclusive jurisdiction over rail transportation by G&U. G&U is a common carrier, which means that it has an obligation to provide rail transportation service upon request by a customer. G&U can be relieved of this common carrier obligation only by means of an order of the STB permitting discontinuance or abandonment of operations pursuant to 49 USC. 10903. The town could attempt to stop the activities of the railroad at the yard while a request for a declaratory order was pending at the STB by seeking an injunction from the STB or in Federal Court. In order to be successful in seeking an injunction pending a final determination on preemption, the Town would have to make a case that it is entitled to an injunction under traditional criteria applied by the STB and the courts, which would include a demonstration by the Town that it is likely to succeed on the merits, that it would suffer irreparable harm unless an injunction were granted, that the public interest would not be harmed by an injunction and that the alleged harm to the Town without an injunction outweighed the harm to the railroad by temporary cessation of its operations. The railroad would likely vigorously oppose an injunction, arguing that the criteria for an injunction could not be met and that rail transportation should be preserved pending a decision on the merits. The cost of seeking an injunction would be substantial, involving the preparation of legal briefs and testimony and participating in hearings, and the likelihood of success is not great.
Under State law and the Town's general by-laws, the executive branch of government is the Board of Selectmen, and part of their duties is to retain counsel. This authority does not rest with any other board. There may be times when other boards believe attorney's services are required, and in those instances, the appropriate procedure is to request that from the Board of Selectmen. Furthermore, the only board that can enter into litigation on the Town's behalf or binds the Town to a ruling such as an STB case is the Board of Selectmen. A declaratory ruling from a federal agency has been determined to carry the same weight as the decision of a court in civil litigation.
There are a number of agencies that have responsibilities when it comes to a facility such as the G&U yard. Those are:
Surface Transportation Board: The STB is an economic regulatory agency that Congress charged with resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers. The STB is decisionally independent, although it is administratively affiliated with the Department of Transportation.
Federal Railroad Administration: The purpose of FRA is to: promulgate and enforce rail safety regulations; administer railroad assistance programs; conduct research and development in support of improved railroad safety and national rail transportation policy; provide for the rehabilitation of Northeast Corridor rail passenger service; and consolidate government support of rail transportation activities. Click here for a copy of the presentation made by Mr. William Schoonover, Staff Director for the Hazardous Materials Division at the November 1, 2011 Board of Selectmen's meeting.
US Army Corps of Engineers: The Army Corps regulates areas of land in Town that are below an elevation of 269 feet and thus are needed as flood storage capacity. A small portion of the railroad site is below this elevation.
US Environmental Protection Agency: The EPA may have responsibility for some aspects of clean air and water.
State Department of Environmental Protection: The DEP has responsibility over the landfill capping and the adjacent Town-owned Glen Avenue Well Field.
Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, the State Fire Marshalls Division of Fire Safety and the Massachusetts State Hazardous Materials Response Teams: The Office of the Massachusetts Fire Marshal is a division of the Department of Fire Services, which is a state agency within the Executive Office of Public Safety and receives its assignments from the Director of the Office of the State Fire Marshal. All units work cooperatively to preserve life and property.
Code Compliance officers are responsible for ensuring uniform statewide compliance with the laws and regulations the State Fire Marshal is charged to enforce. The unit can be asked to look into any matter covered by MGL Chapter 148 or CMR 527. Code Compliance officers have statewide jurisdiction and are designated by the State Fire Marshal to support compliance efforts of local fire department officers and to enhance our fire prevention goals.
The Regional Hazardous Materials Response Program is an innovative response system designed to provide specialized response personnel and equipment to the 351 communities of the Commonwealth, to enable them to protect the public, the environment and property during incidents involving the release or potential release of hazardous materials. Six regional response teams are strategically located for a maximum of a 1-hour response anywhere in the Commonwealth. The regional teams also support local fire departments with technical information and specialized equipment.
The former landfill and Upton Fuel and Construction is owned by the Upton Development Group. Operating under a consent order by the State Department of Environmental Protection the UDG is completing the process to line and cap the landfill. A portion of the landfill site will be utilized by the G&U for their operations.
The former landfill currently owned by the Upton Development Group (U.D.G), is being properly capped at the expense of U.D.G. The capping is being regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection and is under the supervision of the licensed site professionals, Woodard and Curran, Environmental Consulting Engineers. The completion of the capping should take place in the summer of 2012, and DEP certification should follow within three to six months. This process known as capping will greatly improve the groundwater protection to our municipal wells from contaminants that occurred while the site was used as a landfill. The site will continue to be monitored even after completion of the capping. Future use of the site has yet to be determined. The Town will be required to contribute to this cleanup and capping upon completion of the remediation.
The G&U plans to transload wood pellets and various hazardous and non-hazardous products. There is no specific list of these items, what is transported is dependent upon the G&U's ability to safely transload the items, and the contracts that they enter into with companies that want materials shipped. It is important to note that as a common carrier under federal law the railroad does not have the right to refuse the transportation of any products that they are able to carry. They must accept and transport all products for which a company contracts with them to do so.
The Town does not. All aspects of the transportation of hazardous materials are regulated by federal law, most of which for purposes of rail transportation is administered by the Federal Railroad Administration. The FRA has inspected the operations at the yard numerous times and is fully satisfied that the railroad is in compliance with the FRA regulations, including the hazmat regulations. Federal law preempts the application of any state or local laws that claim to govern the transportation of hazardous materials.
Each rail car or truck that carries hazardous materials must have affixed to it a placard or a placard with an orange panel. The U.S. Department of Transportation publishes a guidebook called the "Emergency Response Guidebook" which includes information on the placards, the numbers on them, and this identifies the hazardous material in the rail car or truck. Copies of this book are available free of charge at the Town's Fire Department.
Under federal law, as long as the materials are "in transportation" the railroad is not required to provide the Town with MSDS sheets. They are required to have a manifest or bill of lading with each train or vehicle. In the event of a chemical spill, the bill of lading will be made immediately available to the Town's Fire Department so they can assess the appropriate way to respond.
Hazardous materials stored by a railroad on their track are considered to still be "in transportation" and thus have no limit on the length of time they can be stored.
We believe that the railroad is as concerned about safety as the Town of Upton is. To that end they have taken several steps to ensure that their site is equipped to avoid or prevent a chemical spill, and in the unlikely event that such a spill were to occur, to quickly and safely contain the spill. Those steps include:
Although the railroad site is geographically close to the Town's well field on Glen Avenue, the railroad and the well field are in different zones. Furthermore, the aquifer from which we draw our water runs from the well field area towards the railroad, so even if a spill were to reach the ground, it would not flow to the area where the Town draws water.
Protecting our water sources for the municipality is a major concern for all of us. The location of the rail yard is outside of zone 1 and 2 of the wellhead protection area, but the owner has complied with regulations to protect the groundwater from any potential mishap by placing a barrier under the tracks at the rail yard. The owner has also planned and has begun construction of a detention pond as an even greater means of protection, although he is not required to do so.
The FRA has been on site continuously over the past six months to inspect safety in accordance with their regulations now that the railroad site is being expanded and products are being transloaded.
The State DEP made a site visit (PDF) on May 11, 2011. They reviewed the wood pellet operation, the transloading facilities for hazardous and non-hazardous liquids, and the proximity of the Town's well field to the operation. No violations were found.
The Department of Fire Services, State Hazmat Team has been on site to inspect the facility and provide the Fire Department with technical advice.
The State Fire Marshal, Code Compliance Officers from the Department of Fire Services and the Department of Fire Services Legal Counsel has met with the Fire Department to review the trans-loading operation of the Grafton and Upton Railroad and provide advice regarding legal and code compliance matters.
Depending on the situation or complaint the Town of Upton's Fire Department, Police Department and Code Enforcement have been on site repeatedly (PDF) over the last three years.
The railroad is blasting in order to complete the build out of the facility. Blasting is complete near the entrance area, and now is focused in an area toward the back of the site. The most recent blasting is being done in order to provide a system of catch basins and a detention basin at the site. This installation is a precautionary measure that will direct all surface water or run off at the site into a collection area. In the event of a spill of a hazardous substance any products that are spilled will be contained on site where they can be removed.
State fire prevention regulations require that property owners that are within 250 feet of the blasting site must be notified and offered an inspectional survey of their property. This has only affected two properties so far that are adjacent to the railroad property. All other properties have been located outside of 250'. Despite that the Fire Department has required that the blasting company take additional precautionary measures and fire department personnel have been on site each day that blasting has occurred to insure compliance with the regulations and to witness each blast. In some cases police department staff has been assigned to the area as well. If a resident believes their home has been damaged during this process they may obtain a "Blasting Damage Complaint" Form from the Fire Department. That will be forwarded to the State Fire Marshal's Office for investigation.
The two most important areas where the railroad is preempted from our regulations is site plan review by the Planning Board, and the requirement that the railroad obtain a building permit for construction of their various facilities on site.
Site Plan Review by the Planning Board is done to ensure that the site to be built is done in compliance with the Town's Zoning By-Laws. These by-laws regulate various uses of land, and set requirements for such things as setbacks from lot lines, noise, parking, etc.
Although the railroad does not have to file with our Code Enforcement department for a building permit, they must still comply with the State Building Code. Thus they may construct buildings without a permit, but they must notify the Town that they are doing permit-eligible work, and the Town has a right to inspect it and enforce the State Building Code. All of the facilities at the yard, including the wood pellet facility, have been inspected by the Town and found to be in compliance.
At the present time the railroad brings trains to Upton three days a week. When the facility is complete the G&U estimates that there will be trains to Upton five days per week.
We anticipate that there will be certain noise created when the railroad is fully operational. Such noise will come from the typical industrial uses that are germane to and are associated with a rail yard. Noise is preempted from our local regulations in the Zoning By-Laws. Residents who wish to file a noise complaint may do so by emailing the G&U.
It is expected that truck traffic will increase on our roads as a result of the railroad's operation.
The Railroad has taken steps to ensure that an unmanned rail cart will not be able to cross a street like it did this summer. Those measures include making sure all vehicles or trains on the tracks are chocked so they can't move, and that devices have been installed at crossings to ensure that even if a cart reached a crossing it would derail onto the railroad's property before reaching them. An investigation of this accident was made by the FRA and no violations of their regulations were found in this case.
The Town has also submitted a State grant application with the Towns of Hopedale and Milford for $3 million to be put towards the upgrades of crossings in all three towns. Such improvements include the installation of signals or gates at certain crossings.
During an emergency, the safety and well-being of the residents of Upton is our first priority. The Town of Upton has an Emergency Management Plan which outlines how the Town would respond to emergency situations including potential emergencies involving the railroad. In addition to this plan, the Town has specific evacuation criteria for the area of the Town that is within a mile or less surrounding the rail yard on Maple Avenue. The development at the railroad is an ongoing and evolving process. Similarly, the Town's emergency plans that pertain to the railroad will be updated as needed so that we are prepared for the future.
The Town of Upton has also joined the Towns of Grafton and Northbridge to form a Regional Emergency Response Committee (REPC). An important part of the initiative to form this committee was due to our shared interest in expanding our response plans to include our neighboring communities in the event of a railroad-related emergency. This is an ongoing process that we anticipate will take one to two years to fully complete.
G&U and its contractor also have emergency plans, as required by federal regulation and standard railroad practices, to deal with emergency situations.
Members of the Fire Department are required to be trained by the State to the Hazardous Materials Operational level. Firefighters are trained to contain hazardous materials spills and evacuate residents as needed. We are fortunate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to have one of the best hazardous materials response teams in the country. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services operates the hazardous materials teams which are headquartered out of their facility in Stow. The team is staffed by members of the Massachusetts fire service. This benefits the Town of Upton because it means that members of the team are available to respond to Town from other nearby communities. In the event of a hazardous materials incident in Upton, the State Haz Mat team would be called to respond and assist the Upton Fire Department. The G&U and its contractor have considerable expertise in preventing and handling spills, and they, in effect, would be the first responders dealing with any such situation.
In the event of an emergency incident at the railroad the Town also has several other local State and Federal agencies that may be called upon to respond or assist such as the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), The National Emergency Response Center, Chemtrec, and foam resources from Fire District 7, District 14, and District 8.
There are some odors that are typical to the rail yard on Maple Avenue. The smell of diesel exhaust for example would be typical at the railroad facility. Residents who live in areas adjacent to the rail yard are encouraged to make themselves familiar with the odors that are typical there. During the transfer of chemicals or other products it is unusual for strong odors to be released that would be detected by residents. The Fire Department recommends that residents who live in the area around the rail yard be vigilant. Residents should contact the Town's Emergency Dispatch Center by calling 911 when they notice strong chemical odors that are unusual or they believe a chemical spill has occurred which has the potential to create an emergency situation.
Some of you have contacted the local emergency depts., regarding an odor that may be coming from the rail yard. Upon investigation by the Fire Department and Board of Health, the odor was found to be coming from the railroad ties, preserved with creosote. Creosote is a common preservative for wood products, used throughout the United States.
Newly delivered ties will have a stronger odor for a short duration then the existing ties found already in place.
The railroad estimates that when its site is fully operational, they will have created 47 jobs in the Town of Upton. The development of the site will also result in increased property tax revenue to the Town. In addition, there will be substantial secondary impacts and benefits on local businesses that rely on or support rail operations. Additional economic activity, and correspondingly new jobs, will be created for businesses that supply materials used by the railroad or the businesses that use rail transportation.
Yes, the railroad is paying property taxes on its site and its building, the same as any other property owner. For 2011 the Assessor has determined that the value of the land and buildings is $2,705,000 which translates to a tax bill of approximately $ 30,564. The actual amount billed will be determined as soon as the tax rate is set.
If you have a question that has not been answered above, please email the Town Manager.
Maplewood Cemetery is located on Maple Avenue and was acquired by the town of Upton in May 2022 and is now run by the Upton Cemetery Commission who can be reached at 508-726-7613.
Yes we can, we are here to assist funeral directors in any way we can during a funeral service.
Trees and shrubs are allowed, but you must check with the cemetery commissioners and obtain permission first.
The Cemetery Commissioners are happy to help people locate family members who are buried here. Please call the commissioners at 508-726-7613.
For single lots, the maximum size is one foot wide by two feet long.
For double lots, the maximum size is one foot wide by four feet long.
The Town does not recommend one vendor over another. Having said that, the two companies that are most commonly providing monuments for our cemetery are:
Whitinsville Monument1312 Providence Road Whitinsville, MA 01588 Phone: 508-234-5603
Ackerman Monument Company2234 Washington StreetHolliston, MA 01746Phone: 508-429-5465
No we do not; those must be purchased at a funeral home.
Checks should be made out to the Town of Upton.
Please contact the cemetery commissioners at 508-726-7613. They will show you the plots that are available, verify your residency and provide you with the rules and regulations for the cemetery.
The answer to this question is yes. The cemetery commissioners do have the discretion to sell a plot to a person that was a resident but for some circumstances had to move out of Town.
The cemetery is open daily throughout the year for visitors to graves. The Cemetery Commissioners are available for appointments from the 3rd week in April until the end of November from 7:30 am - 11:30 am. Monday through Friday. During the rest of the year, they are available by making an appointment.
The Cemetery is located at 39 North Main Street, Upton, MA.
We ask that the request be in writing. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Please note, excise information can only be sent to the vehicle owner.
Please contact the treasurer/collector's office or our Deputy Collector, Kelly, and Ryan Associates at 508-473-9660. You must make payment in cash, money order, or cashier's check to have the mark removed immediately.
If you have any questions that have not been answered above, call the Treasurer/Collectors office at 508-529-3737.
Property taxes are billed with the information as of January 1st preceding the beginning of the current Fiscal Year. If you purchased the property any time after January 1st, you may not appear on the tax bill as the assessed owner until the next fiscal year. This rule is mandated by Massachusetts Law. However, if the Assessor's office is notified that there is a new owner, the next bill can be sent as " Care Of".
Please contact the Upton Assessor's Office for abatement information (PDF).
If for some reason you are unable to pay your tax bill, Massachusetts Law mandates that interest, at 14%, be added to the tax from the due through the payment date.
The fiscal year's taxes must be paid in full by the May 1st due date to avoid any further action taken by the town.
Tax dollars are the primary source of funds used to finance almost every service the town provides such as:
and many other services that are provided by the town at no cost to its residents.
For a more in-depth analysis of how your tax dollars are spent, view the ClearGov website.
Check with the Upton Assessor's Office to see if you qualify for a tax exemption or deferral. If you still owe taxes, please contact the Town Collector as soon as possible. We cannot eliminate the tax, but we are here to listen to your situation and offer possible solutions.
The town collects Real Estate Tax on a fiscal quarterly schedule as follows:
Beavers are increasing in population across the state. They are an important feature of the environment but we also understand the problems their damming habits can sometimes bring to homeowners and the community.
Read through: Beavers and the Law: A Citizen's Guide to Addressing Beaver Conflicts.
Please note that the Town of Upton can only take action if the problem occurs on or affects municipal properties or roads.
Private property owners are responsible for resolving beaver issues on their own land (see specific guidelines for private property below). Unless an emergency order is issued, wetlands regulations must be adhered to.
Call the Conservation Commission office 508-529-6286 if you need advice about a beaver problem.
View the Procedure to Review Resident Beaver Complaints (PDF).
Specific guidelines for beaver control on private property:
The Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act was adopted by the Massachusetts Legislature in the early 1960s out of concern for the degradation and loss of wetlands. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Wetlands Program ensures the protection of Massachusetts' inland and coastal wetlands, tidelands, great ponds, rivers and floodplains. It regulates activities in coastal and wetlands areas, and contributes to the protection of ground and surface water quality, the prevention of flooding and storm damage and the protection of wildlife and aquatic habitat.
For more information:
You can follow these three simple steps:
You can do many things:
If you have an underground storage tank for home heating oil, have it tested to ensure it is not leaking through the soil and into the groundwater. Visit the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website for additional tips on avoiding a heating oil leak or spill.
If you have a spill of oil or other hazardous material call the Upton Fire Department 508-529-3421 and the Conservation Commission 508-529-6286 immediately. The DEP website gives a complete guide to the cleanup process.
In 1996 the MA DEP issued this policy to establish clear and consistent guidelines for stormwater management across the state. The standards of this policy, enforced by the Conservation Commission, are intended to prevent untreated discharges to wetlands and waters; preserve hydrologic conditions that closely resemble pre-development conditions; reduce or prevent flooding by managing the peak discharge and volumes of runoff; minimize erosion and sedimentation; reduce suspended solids and other pollutants to improve water quality; and provide increased protection of sensitive natural resources.
Localities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are required to comply with a number of both State and Federal laws, regulations, and permits which require a locality to address the impacts of development and post-development stormwater runoff quality and non-point source pollution.
Upton developed a Stormwater Management Bylaw which was approved at the Annual Town Meeting in May of 2012. The Town of Upton has adopted this stormwater management bylaw to eliminate non-stormwater discharges to the Town's stormwater management system, and to provide reasonable guidance for the regulation of development and post-development stormwater runoff for the purpose of protecting local water resources from degradation. This bylaw prohibits the discharges of illicit materials to the Town's stormwater management system and requires the removal of all such illicit connections.
The purpose of this bylaw is to protect, maintain and enhance the public health, safety, environment, and general welfare by establishing minimum requirements and procedures to control the adverse effects of development stormwater runoff and non-point source pollution associated with development.
Flood zones are geographic areas defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) according to varying levels of flood risk.
These zones are depicted on a community's Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.
Land areas that are at high risk for flooding are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). A home located within an SFHA has a 26% chance of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage and only a 4% chance of suffering a fire over that same time.
To find out if your home is in a flood zone visit the FloodSmart website.
The Upton floodplain districts were determined from elevations along stream corridors with reference to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Markers.
According to the Upton Zoning Code Bylaw "No building permit shall be issued for any structure and no other permit shall be issued for any purpose … located within an area designated as Floodplain District on a map entitled 'Floodplain Zoning Map, Revised May 1, 1980'. "
Call the Upton Planning Board 508-529-1008 or the Conservation Commission 508-529-6286 if you have questions about the location of floodplains.
If you have a dangerous tree in the No-Disturb area that is threatening to come down on your property call the Conservation Commission 508-529-6286 immediately. We will come out to assess the situation and issue an Emergency Certificate (if appropriate) for the earliest removal of the tree.
Not if you are working outside the 100-foot wetland buffer zone and 200-foot river protection buffer zone.
If you plan to work within 50-foot of a resource area be aware that the Upton Wetland Protection Regulations stipulate that a 50-foot No-Cut - No-Disturb zone must be maintained from the edge of a resource area.
This means that trees and other forms of vegetation may not be cut within the 50-foot zone.
The trees, shrubs and native plants around the wetland edge provide a filtering zone, soaking up the run-off from lawns, roads, roofs, and driveways that may contaminate the wetland water with chemicals, fertilizers, oils, heavy metals, salts or solvents. When you remember that these areas feed our drinking water you'll understand how essential this No-Disturb buffer is in protecting the quality and health of our groundwater supplies.
Tree cutting and brush removal within the 50-foot to 100-foot zone must be carried out with approval from the Conservation Commission. Call the Conservation Commission office for assistance.
Remember that street trees are under the jurisdiction of the Upton Tree Warden. Please call the Tree Warden at 508-529-3067 if you have questions about street trees.
A wetland delineation is typically prepared by a private consultant that a landowner hires. Upton's Conservation Agent and members of the Conservation Commission are not available to do wetland delineations.
Make sure that you inspect the property during the wettest time of the year. Ensure that the property is suitable to whatever your potential plans may be. One could ask the seller to produce an approved wetland delineation prior to closing on the property. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps and aerial photos could be reviewed.
Contact the Upton Conservation Commission office 508-529-6286. We can give you an initial "birds-eye" appraisal of the resource areas on your property and advise you on how to proceed with a proposed project.
Vernal (meaning Spring) pools, also known as ephemeral pools, are unique wildlife habitats, which have become an increasingly rare type of wetland in Massachusetts. Due to their sensitivity, vernal pools and the surrounding areas are protected under the MA Wetlands Protection Act, as well as the Upton Wetlands Protection Bylaw. Vernal pools provide critical habitat for amphibians and invertebrate animals, such as the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale), Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), and spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata). A vernal pool is a confined basin that typically fills with water in the autumn or winter due to rising groundwater and rainfall. The water remains ponded throughout the spring, until the water dries up in the summer months. Many amphibians and invertebrate species rely on vernal pools for their breeding, feeding, and shelter purposes.
For that reason, vernal pools are essential for the continued survival of the wildlife species that are dependent upon this rare and threatened resource area.
If your project includes grading, landscaping and/or construction work within the 100' wetland buffer zone (or 200' river protection buffer) call the Conservation Commission office to determine what type of permit you may need for the work you are planning.
According to the Upton Wetland Protection Bylaw the following activities are judged to "alter" a resource area and must be brought to the Commission before work can commence:
"The term "alter" shall include, without limitation, the following activities when undertaken to, upon, within or affecting resource areas protected by this bylaw:
A buffer zone is an undeveloped area directly adjacent to a body of water. Buffer zones include aquatic plants in shallow water, moisture-loving plants along the shore, and upland plants in dry soils.
In Massachusetts the buffer zone extends 100-feet horizontally outward from the boundary of any resource area and 200 horizontal linear feet outward from the boundary of any river or perennial stream. This area is subject to protection under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) 131, Section 40) and its Regulations (310 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 10 - 10.60), and the Upton Wetlands Protection Bylaw and its Regulations.
The primary purposes of buffer zones are to:
The Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) identifies eight public interests that wetlands serve.
This includes all land within 200 feet of the bank of any perennial stream. There are specific performance standards for work within the Riverfront Area. The Riverfront Area does not have a Buffer Zone around it.
Upton has numerous smaller ponds, as well as three large bodies of water:
A bank or beach is the place where water meets land for any waterbody whether a pond, lake, stream or river. (Note: a bank is sometimes different from the edge of the water, especially if the water rises and falls frequently due to seasonal or other variations). Bank provides critical habitat for such native animals as mink and river otter.
The 100-year Floodplain is the area affected when water rises after a storm of a magnitude that occurs, on average, only once every hundred years. The 100-year Floodplain does not flood only once every one hundred years.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency publishes official maps that show where these floodplains are. The Floodplain does not have a Buffer Zone around it.
Isolated Land Subject to Flooding is any land that holds about 11,000 cubic feet of water at least once a year, or an average of six inches of water over 22,000 square feet (a little more than half an acre). Isolated Land Subject to Flooding does not have a Buffer Zone around it.
Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (BVW) include any marsh, swamp, wet meadow, or bog that border on a stream or pond. Each kind of wetland has different characteristics, and according to the Wetlands Protection Act are defined by the plant communities they support.
Swamps are thickly wooded wetlands. Most swamps in Upton are Wooded Deciduous Swamps that have mostly Red (Swamp) Maples and other water-loving trees. There are also shrub swamps throughout the town.
Marshes, both deep and shallow, support cat tails and reeds.
Wet Meadows are comprised primarily of grasses, rushes and sedges.
Vernal pools are temporary bodies of fresh water that provide critical habitat for many vertebrate and invertebrate wildlife species. Vernal pools do not support fish (usually because they dry out annually or periodically). Some may contain water year-round but are free of fish.
Vernal pools provide unique habitat for a variety of forest and wetland organisms, some of which depend on this pool habitat for their survival. "Obligate" vernal pool species, such as the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), mole salamanders (Ambystoma sp.) and fairy shrimp (Order Anostraca) will only breed in vernal pools and therefore are dependent on this critical habitat. "Facultative" species, such as certain amphibians and reptiles along with several kinds of aquatic invertebrates, often exploit the fish-free waters of vernal pools but do not depend on them.
Wetlands are areas that are either permanently or seasonally wet, and the soil and the plant community has adapted to that water. Many types of wetlands exist, each with a community of plants adapted to specific conditions that are determined by the hydrology (the source, quantity, and quality of the water supply), and the underlying soil chemistry.
Some wetlands, such as fens or sedge meadows, may be fed by subsurface or surfacing groundwater. Others, such as a floodplain forest, are periodically flooded by overflowing rivers or streams. Still others, such as bogs or vernal pools, capture rainwater in depressions or basins on the land. Marshes are areas with plants that normally grow in relatively shallow water, while a swamp is much like a marsh that is forested.
We offer services to the residents of Upton with a focus on seniors and those who are disabled. Services such as assistance with Medicare and Health Insurance, fuel assistance, Mass Health information, home visits and outreach, senior tax work-off program, flu shots, tax clinic, information about financial assistance, blood pressure, food stamps and other applications, onsite meals and more. Feel free to stop by for a visit or call us at 508-529-4558.
You can speak to anyone of the staff here at the Center. When you enter the Senior Center, head towards the reception desk and someone there will be happy to assist you. If you prefer to call, our number is 508-529-4558. If no one answers your call, please leave a message and our staff will respond as soon as possible.
If you are inquiring about our community lunch or Meals on Wheels you can speak to our Nutritional Center Manager, Al Vautour. He can be reached at 508-529-9094. Community lunch is served at 11:45 Monday through Friday. Al requires at least 24 hours notice if you would like to attend.
No, the Upton Center is not a club. We welcome everyone, even if you're not a senior or a resident of the town. Stop by the front desk and we'll give you a tour.
If you would like you can sign up for a MySeniorCenter Card. It is a card you can attach to your key chain, and when you visit the center for any events or programs you can sign in. MySeniorCenter is a program that allows us to keep track of the number of people who attend our center.
No, the Upton Center offers a full range of services to disabled and low income individuals and families. Additionally, the Center serves as a focal point from which individuals of all ages can attain information and referrals for different services offered to elders. The Center would like to think of itself as a resource engine to the community.
The Upton Center tries to offer something for everyone's interest. We have exercise classes for every fitness level, cards, Bingo, shopping trips, special monthly trip(s) (concerts, movies, out to eat, museums, gardens, etc), monthly birthday bash, Mens' Club Supper, movies, holiday celebrations with entertainment and so much more! Our monthly newsletter lists the activities for the month. We are happy to take suggestions.
Absolutely! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at 508-529-4558. We have several volunteer opportunities we'd love to tell you about.
Most communities like Upton have completely separate systems. The sewer system, also known as the sanitary sewer or wastewater sewage system, conveys household, commercial and industrial wastewater through a separate plumbing system into an underground sewer pipe system. Wastewater in the sanitary sewer system is from sources such as water and waste from sinks, toilets, and washers, to name but a few. Discharges to the sanitary sewer system are conveyed and treated at the Upton Wastewater Treatment Plant prior to being discharged into West River. The storm drain system, on the other hand, discharges primarily untreated stormwater runoff directly into the local water bodies.
Only rain belongs down the storm drain system. Dumping into storm drains is illegal. To report illegal dumping in Upton, call 508-529-3067 between 8 am to 5 pm. After 5 pm, contact the Upton Police at 508-529-3200.
A catch basin is a curbside receptacle whose function is to convey water from streets and other impervious surfaces into the storm drainage system. The design of this drainage structure includes a sump and hood that captures and temporarily stores some pollutants such as oils and sediment. Maintenance to clean out the sump removes the stored pollutants and prevents them from washing further into the storm drain system and into receiving waters such as the West River and Pratt Pond.
A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses. The garden should be positioned near a runoff source like a downspout, driveway or sump pump to capture rainwater runoff and stop the water from reaching the sewer system.
Impervious surface means those disturbed or hard-surfaced areas that either prevent or restrict the natural entry of water into the soil. Rooftops, buildings, streets, parking lots, sidewalks, asphalt, concrete, other paving, driveways, gravel, patios, artificial turf, and storage areas are all examples of impervious surfaces. Impervious areas affect natural infiltration, creates more runoff, increases the rate of runoff, and alters runoff patterns of stormwater that drains from an area.
Stormwater is water from rain and snowmelt. As rain and snow fall to earth in forested and undeveloped areas, it is either absorbed or slowly runs off and dissipates. In a densely urban environment like Upton, where rooftops and paved areas not only prevent the water from being absorbed but also help it run off at a much faster rate, problems arise. Unmitigated, the stormwater could accumulate, causing nuisance flooding and possible threats to public health and safety. Flooding is only a part of the problem. As the rain falls onto our streets and runs off, it carries with it pollutants such as pet waste, gasoline, oil, and heavy metals. Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are washed from lawns and other green spaces. Sediments are eroded by wind and water from construction sites and un-vegetated landscape areas. With the passage of time, these pollutants will buildup in our local waterways causing environmental damage.
Surface runoff is water, from rain, snowmelt, or other sources, that flows over the land surface, and is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called overland flow. A land area that produces runoff draining to a common point is called a watershed. When runoff flows along the ground, it can pick up soil contaminants such as petroleum, pesticides, or fertilizers that become discharge or overland flow. Urbanization increases surface runoff, by creating more impervious surfaces such as pavement and buildings do not allow percolation of the water down through the soil to the aquifer. It is instead forced directly into streams, where erosion and siltation can be major problems, even when flooding is not. Increased runoff reduces groundwater recharge, thus lowering the water table and making droughts worse, especially for farmers and others who depend on water wells.
Paint thinner and paint products, used motor oil and antifreeze, pesticides and fertilizers, sediments containing heavy metals, cigarette butts, trash, and animal feces are but a few of the many pollutants found in the system on a regular basis. We all have the ability to help reduce stormwater pollution by taking individual actions to pick up after our pets, dispose of trash and waste properly, and use fertilizers and insecticides sparingly and wisely.
A watershed is made up of the land area that drains to a specific body of water. Upton lies within the Blackstone River watershed. For more information see the Blackstone River Watershed Association website.
No. Evacuation is not the only protective action available to the public. In some situations, sheltering may provide protection that is equal to or even greater than evacuation. Sheltering may be the preferred protective action in cases where weather, competing events, or short-term releases are factors.
Emergency preparedness means taking action to be ready for emergencies before they happen. The objective is to simplify decision making during emergencies.
Families should develop an emergency plan to prepare their home, family, and office in case of a natural disaster or other emergency.
Agencies such as the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have brochures to help you develop a family emergency plan. Your community group or neighborhood association might also want to consider establishing a phone tree or email list to relay important information.
Emergency preparedness refers to actions that can and should be performed prior to an emergency, such as planning and coordination meetings, procedure writing, team training, emergency drills and exercises, and prepositioning of emergency equipment. Emergency response refers to actions taken in response to an actual, ongoing event.
Upton's Emergency Management, Upton Fire/EMS, Upton Police, Upton Department of Public Works (DPW), Upton Board of Health and Upton Board of Selectmen. In addition, MEMA, FEMA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and The American Red Cross are all involved in emergency preparedness. These agencies and groups have produced comprehensive emergency preparedness programs that assure the adequate protection of the public in the event of emergencies.
It is everyone's responsibility to be prepared for emergencies. Initially, emergency services will be consumed with responding to the disaster. It is up to each of us to prepare. Planning in advance will help you, your family and friends manage an emergency in a calm and effective way, which will help keep you safe.
Open burning is regulated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with the open burning season conducted from January 15th through May 1st of each year. To obtain a burning permit you can apply online. Once you obtain your permit, you may burn any allowable day during the season, between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. You must call for permission to burn. There are restrictions on what is permissible to burn.
The Propane cylinders still have product in them and should be disposed of properly. If you wish to dispose of a propane cylinder you must first insure that it is empty, then remove the control valve and rinse the tank with water. Once this is complete, you may bring the cylinder to the transfer station on Beaver Street.
A tour of any fire station can be arranged by calling our business telephone number 508-529-3421. Our SAFE Officer, Bonnie Lopez is responsible for public education and can arrange for your tour.
When not in use, the Fire EMS Department Training Room or EOC may be used by Town Boards and Committee's. Upton Fire EMS Department functions and operations are the primary use of these rooms and shall be given first preference. Scheduling of the Department Training Room or EOC can be arranged through the Room Request Form or by calling the Fire EMS Headquarters during normal business hours at 508-529-3421.
The rooms are available Monday through Friday evenings. No food or drinks are allowed. Children must be supervised at all times. Visitors are asked not wander the facility as it is a working Fire EMS station. Visitors are requested to park in the rear of the building and enter through the rear entrance. The room must be clean and put back in an orderly condition following use.
No, the fire department does not have the capacity to recharge fire extinguishers. According to Massachusetts General Law, we are not permitted to recommend the services of companies to perform services. Therefore, if you need a fire extinguisher recharged, we recommend you consult the business directory in your telephone book for fire extinguisher companies.
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The Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) and The Nature Conservancy's Massachusetts Program developed BioMap2 in 2010 as a conservation plan to protect the state's biodiversity.
BioMap2 is designed to guide strategic biodiversity conservation in Massachusetts over the next decade by focusing land protection and stewardship on the areas that are most critical for ensuring the long-term persistence of rare and other native species and their habitats, exemplary natural communities, and a diversity of ecosystems.