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Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Wakefield 4-7-2003 by Art. 26. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Conservation Commission — See Ch. 9, Art. I.
Historical Commission — See Ch. 9, Art. II.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 175.
Zoning — See Ch. 190.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 320.
A. 
Authority. This chapter is adopted under authority of MGL c. 40, §§ 15C and 21, and Article II and Article LXXXIX, Section 6 of Articles of Amendment of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
B. 
Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to maintain the natural, historic and scenic character of the Town's roadways. The chapter ensures that:
(1) 
Town ways will be recommended for designation as scenic roads in accordance with the criteria stated in this chapter; and
(2) 
Trees and stone walls within the rights-of-way or layout of all designated scenic Town roads will not be altered without a public hearing required by, nor without following the other procedures set forth in this chapter.
For terms not qualified or defined in MGL c. 40, § 15C, the following meanings shall apply for the purpose of this chapter:
CUTTING OR REMOVAL OF TREES
The removal of one or more trees, trimming of major branches, or cutting of roots sufficient in the Tree Warden's written opinion to cause eventual destruction of a tree.
REPAIR, MAINTENANCE, RECONSTRUCTION, OR PAVING WORK
Any work done within the right-of-way by any person or agency, public or private. Construction of new driveways or alteration of existing ones is included, insofar as it takes place within the right-of-way. Construction or alteration of water, sewer, electric, telephone, cable TV, or other utilities within the right-of-way is also included.
ROAD
The entire right-of-way of a vehicular traveled right-of-way, including any necessary appurtenances, including bridge structures, drainage systems, retaining wails, traffic control devices, and sidewalks, but not intersecting streets or driveways. The right-of-way includes the area on and within the boundaries of the public way. If the boundaries are not officially known, any affected tree or stone wall shall he presumed to be within the public right-of-way until shown to be otherwise.
TEARING DOWN OR DESTRUCTION OF STONE WALLS
The destruction of more than 10 linear feet of stone wall involving more than one cubic foot of wall material per linear foot above existing grade. Temporary removal and replacement at the same location with the same materials is permitted without Planning Board approval if the Public Works Department is notified before the work begins so that it can confirm that the wall is properly replaced. The repair of a stone wall, not involving tearing down or destruction of the wall, is not covered by this chapter.
TREES
Includes any tree with a trunk diameter of four inches or more, as measured four feet above ground. Nothing in this definition shall be construed to permit a person, other than the Tree Warden or his deputy, to trim, cut down or remove a public shade tree more than 1 1/2 inches in diameter, one foot from the ground.
In determining which roads or portions of roads should be recommended to Town Meeting for designation as scenic roads, the following criteria should be considered:
A. 
Overall scenic beauty;
B. 
Contribution of trees to scenic beauty;
C. 
Contribution of stone walls to scenic beauty;
D. 
Age and historic significance of roads, trees, and stone walls;
E. 
Built features such as historic buildings, historic monuments, historic burial grounds, historic structures, farm buildings and fencing; and
F. 
Road features such as historic layout, surface, carriage width, use restrictions, nonhistoric bridges.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
The Planning Board, the Town Council, the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission, or a petition of 10 citizens of the Town may propose a "scenic road" designation for any Wakefield road other than a numbered route or state highway as a scenic road. The Planning Board then shall hold a public hearing notifying the Town Councilors, the Tree Warden, the Public Works Department, the Conservation Commission and the Historical Commission and the public by advertising twice in a paper of general circulation, the first advertisement to appear at least 14 days prior to the date of the hearing. The Planning Board shall make a recommendation to Town Meeting on the merits of designation of the proposed road as a scenic way. No road shall be designated a scenic road by Town Meeting unless such designation is favorably recommended by either the Planning Board, Conservation Commission or Historical Commission. A 2/3 majority vote of Town Meeting is required for designation. Following designation by Town Meeting, the Planning Board shall:
A. 
Notify all municipal departments that may take any action with respect to such road;
B. 
Notify the Massachusetts Department of Highway;
C. 
Notify the Commissioners of Middlesex County;
D. 
Indicate such designation on all maps currently in use by municipal departments; and
E. 
Notify all utility companies or other such parties which may be working on the border of such road.
A. 
Filing. Any person or organization or agency seeking the consent of the Planning Board under MGL c. 40, § 15C, regarding road repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving work that may involve the cutting or removal of trees or the tearing down of stone walls, or portions thereof, shall file a request with the Planning Board and submit the following information:
(1) 
The text of the legal notice identifying the location of the proposed action in terms enabling the readers to locate it with reasonable specificity on the ground without the need for additional plats or references, and describing in reasonable detail the proposed changes to trees and stone walls;
(2) 
A statement of the purpose, or purposes, for the proposed action;
(3) 
Plans, drawings or other explanatory reference material showing the specific design or engineering details;
(4) 
Except in the case of Town agencies, a fee sufficient for the cost of advertising and notification; and
(5) 
Any further explanatory material useful to adequately inform the Planning Board.
B. 
Notice. The Planning Board shall, as required by statute, give notice of its public hearing by twice advertising in a newspaper of general circulation in the area, with the first publication of the notice to be at least 14 days prior to the hearing and the last at least seven days prior to the hearing. Copies of the notice shall be sent to the Town Councilors, Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Tree Warden and Public Works Department.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
C. 
Timing of the hearing. The Planning Board shall hold a public hearing within 30 days of receipt of a properly filed request, and shall make a decision within 45 days of that receipt, unless a longer time is agreed to by the applicant.
D. 
Reporting of decision. The Planning Board shall, within 45 days of receipt of a properly filed request, submit a written determination of consent or denial to the applicant and send a copy thereof to the Town Council and the Town Clerk.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
E. 
Approvals lapse in two years. Any decision not carried out within two years of issue shall be void and shall require a new filing.
F. 
Public shade trees. Notice shall be given and Planning Board hearings shall be held in conjunction with those held by the Tree Warden acting under MGL Chapter 87, Consent to an action by the Planning Board shall not be construed as consent by the Tree Warden or vice versa. A Planning Board decision shall contain a condition that no work shall take place until all the applicable provisions of MGL Chapter 87 have been complied with.
G. 
Emergency repair. The procedures of this chapter shall not apply when the Tree Warden acts in an emergency in accordance with MGL Chapter 87 to remove fallen trees or limbs which cause an obstruction to public travel or a dangerous situation with respect to utility lines.
H. 
Municipal maintenance and improvements.
(1) 
The procedures of this chapter shall not apply to Town Departments when performing routine maintenance of trees, such as: trimming and pruning, removal of tree roots to allow the relocation or installation of utilities in the traveled way, removal of tree roots to allow for roadway maintenance, such as: basin repair, patching, and overlays; removal of tree roots to avoid tripping hazards, and/or removal of tree roots to comply with state or federal laws pertaining to the installation of handicap accessible ramps.
(2) 
If an individual tree needs to be removed to allow Town departments to install or relocate utilities or comply with state or federal laws, the department will follow the requirements of MGL Chapter 87. If more than one tree needs to be removed the procedures of this chapter will apply.
(3) 
Full roadway reconstruction projects will follow the requirements of this chapter.
In acting on applications concerning scenic roads, the Planning Board shall take into consideration the following:
A. 
Preservation of natural resources;
B. 
Preservation of historic resources;
C. 
Scenic and aesthetic characteristics;
D. 
Environmental values;
E. 
Public safety;
F. 
Local residential traffic patterns and overall traffic volume and congestion;
G. 
Compensatory actions proposed, such as tree and wall replacement;
H. 
Functional importance and urgency of repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving;
I. 
Additional evidence contributed by abutter, Town agencies, and other interested parties;
J. 
Existence or absence of reasonable alternatives; and
K. 
Other planning information.
A. 
At a minimum, driveways shall be consistent with Wakefield regulations for residential driveways and curb cuts and shall comply with this chapter.
B. 
Only one driveway cut per lot onto any scenic road shall be allowed. A new driveway on a scenic road shall not exceed 12 feet in width.
C. 
Stone wall sections to be removed for a driveway shall not exceed the driveway width by more than one foot.
D. 
No tree with a trunk exceeding eight inches in diameter, four feet above the ground, shall be removed for a driveway unless the curb cut cannot be safely located elsewhere.
A. 
Failure to file with the Planning Board for permission to cut or remove trees or for destruction of any portion of a stone wall within the layout of any scenic road will require an immediate filing as detailed above and the applicant shall be required to restore the features if required by the Planning Board.
B. 
Restoration of a stone wall shall consist of replacing the stone wall that was removed without approval, at locations specified by the Planning Board.
C. 
Trees cut without approval shall be replaced on a square-inch per square-inch basis, at locations specified by the Planning Board. The combined area of the replacement trees, measured one foot above ground level, must equal total area of the original tree trunk, as measured at the stump.
D. 
Failure to comply with duly issued decision of the Planning Board shall be subject to restoration as detailed above and other remedial measures that the Planning Board deems necessary, including, but not limited to the enforcement of the restoration measures as stated above.
E. 
Any decision not carried out within two years of issue shall be void and shall require a new filing.
F. 
Either the Planning Board or the Tree Warden shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
G. 
Any violation of this chapter, MGL c. 40, § 15C, or a Planning Board decision issued under this chapter or MGL c. 40, § 15C, shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $300 per violation.