[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Chelmsford 4-30-2012 by Art. 30. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This bylaw is adopted pursuant to the Town's Home Rule authority under Section 8 of Article 89 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution and MGL c. 40, § 15C. The purpose of this bylaw is to protect the scenic quality and character of certain public ways in the Town by regulating the cutting or removal of trees, the tearing down or destruction of stone walls and the construction of any new driveway or private way or the alteration of any existing driveway or private way insofar as such alteration takes place within the right-of-way when such work involves the cutting down of trees or the destruction of stone walls, within designated scenic roads, including any such activities which would not otherwise be subject to Planning Board consent under MGL c. 40, § 15C. This bylaw is intended to ensure that;
Ways will be recommended for designation as a scenic road on stated criteria.
Ways so designated will not be altered without following proper procedures and without adherence to proper considerations; and
Ways so designated will not be altered by the decision of any person, organization, or agency without the consent of the Planning Board.
- CUTTING OR REMOVAL OF TREES
- The removal of one or more trees, regardless of whether or not repair, maintenance, reconstruction or paving work is involved, having a diameter of six inches or greater measured four feet above ground level, and the trimming of any major branches or the cutting of roots within or along the boundary of a right of-way. It shall not, however, pertain to any plant appearing on the Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List as prepared and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, dated January 1, 2006, or as subsequently revised.
- REPAIR, MAINTENANCE, RECONSTRUCTION, OR PAVING WORK
- Any work within the right-of-way by any person or agency, public or private, and the construction of any new driveway or private way or the alteration of any existing driveway or private way insofar as such alteration takes place within the right-of-way when such work involves the cutting down of trees or the destruction of stone walls.
- A right-of-way or any way used and maintained as a public way.
- SCENIC ROAD
- Any road so designated by the Town under MGL c. 40, § 15C.
- TEARING DOWN OR DESTRUCTION OF STONE WALLS
- The destruction of more than five feet of stone wall, whether or not contiguous, within or along the boundary of a right-of-way regardless of whether or not repair, maintenance, reconstruction or paving work is involved.
The Planning Board, Conservation Commission, or Historical Commission shall, in determining which roads or portions of roads should be recommended as scenic roads, consider the following criteria:
Adoption of new scenic roads shall be in accordance with the MGL c. 40, § 15C.
The Planning Board shall take the following steps within 30 days after a road(s) has been designated a scenic road:
Filing. Any person, organization, state, or municipal agency seeking the written consent of the Planning Board regarding the cutting or removal of trees, the tearing down or destruction of stone walls and the construction of any new driveway or private way or the alteration of any existing driveway or private way insofar as such alteration takes place within the right-of-way when such work involves the cutting down of trees or the destruction of stone walls, or portions thereof, shall file a written request with the Planning Board together with the following:
Text of a legal notice identifying the location of the proposed action in terms enabling the readers to locate the area with reasonable accuracy and a description of the proposed changes to trees, stone walls, natural surroundings, man-made objects or features;
A statement of the purpose(s) for such changes;
A list of owners of properties, as certified by the Board of Assessors, located in whole or in part within 300 feet of the proposed action;
A fee, as established by the Planning Board, to cover the cost of advertising, notification, and administration;
Any further explanatory material useful to adequately inform the Planning Board.
Notice. The Planning Board shall, as required by statute, give notice of its public hearing by advertising twice in two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the area. The public hearing may coincide with the hearing(s) for proposed construction of homes or other buildings. Copies of the notice of public hearing shall also be sent to the Board of Selectmen, Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Director of Public Works, Tree Warden, and owners of property as appearing on the most recent property listing of the Board of Assessors within 300 feet of the proposed action.
Time of notice. Publication of the required notice shall be completed least seven days prior to the date of the public hearing.
Time of hearing. The Planning Board shall hold a public hearing within 30 days of the receiving the hearing request.
Timing of decision. The Planning Board shall make a decision on the request within 21 days of the closing of the public hearing.
Public Shade Tree Law. Whenever possible, the notices and hearings required under this bylaw shall be filed and held in conjunction with those of the Tree Warden acting under MGL c. 87. The consent of the Planning Board to a proposed action shall not be regarded as inferring consent by the Tree Warden, or vice versa. The Planning Board decision shall contain a condition that no work should be done until all applicable provisions of said Chapter 87 (Public Shade Tree Law) have been complied with.
The Planning Board's decision on any application for proposed action affecting scenic roads shall be based on consideration of the following:
Tree removal. The Tree Warden may take immediate action without hearing to remove trees or branches of any size that in his opinion present a danger to the public. This would include trees or limbs which threaten public utilities such as power lines. Action taken under this section still requires compliance with § 130-5.
Stone wall removal. No hearing is required if in the opinion of the Director of Public Works or designee the removal of up to 15 feet of stone wall for a driveway, or up to six feet for a walkway, is warranted. No hearing is required for temporary removal of a portion of stone wall not to exceed 10 feet in length, or drainage emergency repairs per the Director of Public Works' determination, provided that the wall is restored to its original condition within 60 days of the removal.
The Planning Board may adopt more detailed regulations for carrying out the provisions hereunder.
The Building Inspector or designee shall be the enforcing authority. Without waiving any other enforcement authority, violations of the Scenic Road bylaw may be subject to noncriminal disposition, in accordance with Article II, § 1-2, of the Town Code. In addition, the property owner or whoever is responsible for the violation shall be required within a reasonable amount of time but not less than 60 days to:
[Amended 10-16-2017 by ATM, Art. 18]