The answer should be a resounding NO. This is why ConComs don't get the respect other town boards do (in fact, the word 'Commission' in itself as opposed to Board leads to lack of gravitas in people's minds before anything-as if it wasn't old enough to graduate to Board status). But that's the way it is, regardless of the circumstances involved. You've done the work and refunding a filing fee for a denial usurps a Commission's authority. That's the chance the applicant takes, and if it doesn't work out that's their fault, regardless of the circumstances.
I find the psychology of ConComs different than other Boards. People who join ConComs tend to be bighearted people who want to do their part to preserve the environment. That's great, but being on the ConCom, or any Board, requires you to be the bad guy every once in a while. New Commissioners seem to only find this out later and then don't know what to do with it. Not only that, but there is a lot more subjectivity in a Commissioner's decision making process than other Boards, and this more than anything makes being a Commissioner harder. Still, I have the most respect for Commissions that don't waffle and give breaks for some and not others. That is the worst thing you could do. People may not like your decision, but if you're knowledgeable and consistent, you'll at least be considered fair and that will eventually lead to respect.
Brandon B. Faneuf, Principal PWS, RPSS, CPESC, CWB
Ecosystem Solutions, Inc.