Town of Cohasset, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Cohasset as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building numbers — See Ch. 84.
Fire lanes — See Ch. 112, Art. II.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 184.
Signs and billboards — See Ch. 205.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 244.
[Adopted as Art. VII, §§ 1 to 5, 7 to 10, 14 and 16, of the 1988 General Bylaws]
[Amended 1-25-1996]
No person, except the Public Works Superintendent or his agents in the lawful performance of their duties, shall make or cause to be made any excavation in a public street or way without first obtaining a written permit from the Board of Selectmen. Any such excavation and the dirt, gravel, or other material therefrom shall be enclosed by a suitable railing and must be sufficiently lighted during hours of darkness to ensure public safety.
No person shall obstruct any sidewalk or street or any part thereof by placing thereon building supplies, rubbish, earth from excavations, or any other materials or equipment, without first obtaining a written permit from the Selectmen. The Selectmen may grant such a permit for no longer than 90 days and under such conditions as they may require; such a permit is renewable at the discretion of the Selectmen. Any such obstruction must be enclosed by a suitable railing and must be sufficiently lighted during hours of darkness to ensure public safety. This section shall not apply to brief periods necessary for loading or unloading merchandise.
[Amended 1-25-1996]
Whenever the Public Works Superintendent plans to reconstruct or repair any paved street or way in the Town, he shall give reasonable notice of his intention to municipal departments, to utility companies affected, and to all abutting owners. If any such parties have any work to be done in such a street or way, they shall notify the Public Works Superintendent so that the work can be done before the street or way is resurfaced. After notice has been given and adequate time allowed for the work to be done, no parties shall for the space of one year disturb the repaved surface of the street or way within the area so constructed and repaired except in case of reasonable necessity, as determined by the Selectmen.
Any person wishing to move a building or other object requiring a clearance of more than 20 feet in height or 15 feet in width through any public street or way in the Town shall obtain a written permit from the Selectmen, and shall be responsible for any costs to the Town incurred by the move.
Any person operating a vehicle from which falls any object of such size or character as to endanger public travel shall be responsible for its immediate removal.
[Amended 6-10-1994]
No person shall cause or allow the discharge of water, snow, or ice upon a public street, sidewalk, or way in the Town so as to create a hazardous condition.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
No person shall coast upon a sled or other vehicle on any of the public streets, ways, or sidewalks of the Town, unless such areas have been designated for this purpose by the Selectmen. Violation of this section shall be subject to a fine of $20.
No person shall drive or ride a vehicle of any kind upon any sidewalk in the Town, provided that this shall not affect the right of any person to cross any sidewalk in entering or leaving private premises, nor shall it exclude hand-drawn vehicles, such as children's carriages, invalid chairs, or sleds.
No person shall play any game or throw stones or other missiles in any street or on any sidewalk.
No person shall remain upon a sidewalk in such a manner as to obstruct the free passage of foot travelers.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
No person shall stand on any public street, sidewalk, or way for the purpose of hawking or selling any article, or for singing or playing any musical instrument for remuneration, without first obtaining a license from the Board of Selectmen, subject to whatever restrictions it deems necessary. Violation of this section shall be subject to a fine of $20.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 184, Peddling and Soliciting.
[Adopted 5-1-2017 ATM by Art. 27]
A. 
The Planning Board's authority and jurisdiction shall be consistent with MGL c. 40, § 15C.
B. 
This bylaw is intended to protect the natural beauty that exists within the rights-of-way of select public ways designated as scenic roads in the Town of Cohasset by providing the necessary criteria and standards for designation of and regulating certain activities within the right-of-way of a scenic road.
In the absence of contrary meaning established through legislation or judicial action pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 15C, these terms contained in that statute shall be construed as follows:
A. 
Owners of land sharing a boundary line with the portion of the right-of-way containing the proposed disturbance area;
B. 
Owners of land sharing a boundary line with land within the preceding definition (A);
C. 
Owners of land directly opposite the proposed disturbance area;
D. 
Owners of land sharing a boundary line with land within the preceding definition (C);
All definitions include abutting owners of another town, if applicable.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
DISTURBANCE AREA
The area of land within the scenic road's right-of-way where regulated work is to be performed.
POSTING
The marking of a tree or stone wall on the right-of-way on a scenic road for the purpose of a scenic road public hearing. For protected trees, such marking as described in MGL c. 87, § 3. For protected stone walls, a ribbon or other appropriate "flagging" material temporarily affixed to the stone wall at issue in a scenic road hearing and viewable from the paved road.
PROTECTED STONE WALL
A contiguous arrangement of stone, cut or otherwise, dry-fitted or mortared, in excess of 20 years of age, or otherwise deemed by the Historical Commission to be of historical significance, located wholly or partially within, or on the boundary line of, the right-of-way of a scenic road. Includes any of its appurtenances including but not limited to gates, terminuses, cut granite stone or large individual stones. Does not include walls constructed of manufactured concrete block.
PROTECTED TREE
Any living specimen tree of any size, or any other living tree whose trunk has a diameter of four inches or more as measured one foot from the ground located wholly or partially within, or on the boundary line of, the right-of-way of a scenic road.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
The area on and within the legal boundaries of the scenic road. If the boundaries are unknown, any affected protected trees or protected stone walls shall be presumed to be within the right-of-way until shown to be otherwise.
SPECIMEN TREE
A native, introduced or naturalized tree which is important because of its impact on community character, its significance in the historic/cultural landscape or its value in enhancing the effects of wildlife habitat. Any tree with a diameter at breast height (dbh) of six inches or larger is eligible to be considered a specimen tree. Trees that have a small height at maturity or are slow growing, such as flowering dogwood or American holly with a dbh of four inches or larger are eligible to be considered specimen trees.
A. 
A proposal to designate a public way as a scenic road may be instigated by any of the following: the Planning Board, the Board of Selectmen, the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission, or by petition of 30 registered voters, half of whom must be residents of the proposed scenic road.
B. 
The Planning Board shall hold a public hearing on the request for scenic road designation with notice to the Town Clerk, the Board of Selectmen, the Tree Warden, the Department of Public Works, the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission, and the Building Inspector, and advertising twice in a newspaper of general circulation, the last publication at least seven days prior to the public hearing. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Planning Board shall make a recommendation to the next gathering of Annual or Special Town Meeting on the merits of designating the proposed way as a scenic road.
C. 
The Planning Board's written recommendation shall address the following criteria:
(1) 
Age and historic significance of affected roads, trees and stone walls;
(2) 
Contribution of the affected trees and/or stone walls to scenic beauty;
(3) 
Exceptional qualities of affected trees in terms of age, spread, species or specimen;
(4) 
Protection of natural resources as well as scenic and aesthetic quality of area;
(5) 
Bordering land uses, nearby architectural features, present and prospective, and how they impact the importance of retaining the affected trees and/or stone wall;
(6) 
Scenic vistas of the area.
D. 
The proposal shall be brought forward as a warrant article of the Planning Board with its recommendation. If the Planning Board recommendation is negative, the proponent of the designation shall present the proposal at Town Meeting. A majority vote of Town Meeting will be required. Approval of the designation shall be effective as of the date of Town Meeting action. Any work not physically commenced as of the date of the designation shall conform to this bylaw.
E. 
Following the designation of a scenic road, the Planning Board shall notify all municipal departments, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Commissioners of Norfolk County, all utility companies servicing properties abutting the scenic road, and all property owners along the scenic road.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
The following are the activities regulated under this bylaw and through the scenic road work permit process:
A. 
Utility and road work. Any roadway repair, maintenance, reconstruction or paving work, utility installation and repair work done within the right-of-way of a scenic road by any person or agency, public or private, including construction of new driveways or alterations of existing ones to the extent such work takes place within or accessing the right of-way, and roadside cutting for clearance for vehicles or for improvement of line of sight, except as allowed in the next subsection.
B. 
Cutting or removal of trees. The removal of one or more protected trees, trimming of major branches, or cutting of roots to a degree sufficient in the Tree Warden's written opinion to cause eventual destruction of a tree. Not included is the clearing of nuisance growth, routine or emergency tree maintenance which removes only permanently diseased or damaged limbs, trunks or roots and dead whole trees, or thinning out of overcrowded trees as determined by the Tree Warden, but shall include such cutting or removal done in contemplation of or following the repair, maintenance, reconstruction or paving work for a road.
C. 
Tearing down or destruction of stone walls. The defacing, removal, physical covering (other than naturally occurring plant covering) or rearrangement of at least five square face feet (height times length of stone wall "face") of a protected stone wall. The temporary removal of a protected stone wall is permitted without Planning Board approval if the Department of Public Works is notified before the work begins. The DPW may inspect the work upon completion of restoration to confirm proper replacement at the same location with the same materials in a contiguous and consistent arrangement to the adjoining stone walls. Repair of a protected stone wall, not involving the tearing down or destruction of it, is not covered by this bylaw.
D. 
Municipal sidewalks. When construction of a municipal sidewalk within the right-of-way of a scenic road is deemed a public safety necessity by the Town and its construction has been approved by Town Meeting, a protected tree may be removed if there is no feasible alternative, subject to the compensation set out in § 228-16H below.
A. 
Any work designated under § 228-15 above shall be required to obtain a scenic road work permit from the Planning Board prior to commencement of the activity, or as soon after an emergency activity as is possible.
B. 
Filing instructions. Any person or entity seeking a scenic road work permit shall do so on an application form supplied by the Planning Board, together with the following:
(1) 
A written description and plans or drawings showing the location and the nature of the proposed disturbance area;
(2) 
A statement explaining the purpose and need for the proposed impact upon a protected stone wall or protected tree;
(3) 
A statement outlining possible alternatives, proposed compensatory actions, and mitigation measures, including restoration, to the proposed impact upon a protected stone wall or protected tree;
(4) 
A list, certified by the Assessor's office, of abutters, as defined herein;
(5) 
Except in the case of Town agencies, a scenic road work permit fee as specified in the Planning Board's Fee Schedule;
(6) 
Photographs of all protected stone walls or protected trees within and adjacent within 50 feet to the proposed disturbance area prior to any work;
(7) 
Any other explanatory material useful to adequately inform the Planning Board and Tree Warden prior to the public hearing.
C. 
Posting. A posting, as defined above, is required at least seven days prior to a scenic road public hearing.
D. 
Public hearing. The Planning Board shall hold a public hearing as soon as practical but in no event later than 45 days from the date on which the application for a scenic road work permit is received unless a longer time is agreed to by the applicant. Notice will be given by the Board to other Town departments and the public as set forth in § 228-14B above.
E. 
Coordination with Tree Warden. As stated in the Scenic Road Act[1] and whenever feasible, the Planning Board hearing shall be held in conjunction with that held by the Tree Warden acting under MGL c. 87. In the event of such a joint hearing, the advertisement shall be made by the Tree Warden or his deputy. Consent to an action by the Planning Board shall not be construed as inferring consent by the Tree Warden or the reverse, nor shall execution of this bylaw in any way lessen the Tree Warden's duties under MGL c. 87.
[1]
Editor's Note: See MGL c. 40, § 15C.
F. 
Considerations. In acting on a scenic road work permit, the Planning Board shall consider the following in making its determination:
(1) 
Public safety;
(2) 
Scenic and aesthetic characteristics and quality of the area;
(3) 
Quality and extent of shade and tree canopy;
(4) 
Accident history within 500 feet of tree(s) and stone walls at issue;
(5) 
Commentary contributed by the Tree Warden, Town agencies, abutters and other interested parties;
(6) 
Preservation of natural resources and environmental systems;
(7) 
Preservation of historical and cultural resources values;
(8) 
Compatibility with surrounding neighborhood;
(9) 
Recreational uses of the proposed scenic road, taking into account the nature and extent of such uses;
(10) 
Relationship of the road design to the standards of the Planning Board's Subdivision Rules and Regulations[2] but recognizing that a waiver from the standards should be allowed when a way has been designated as a scenic road by the Town Meeting;
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 325, Subdivision of Land.
(11) 
Adequacy and value of compensatory actions proposed, such as replacement of trees or stone walls or restoration of the same;
(12) 
Traffic patterns, volume, congestion and posted speed limit;
(13) 
Consistency with articulated Town policies and the Cohasset Master Plan;
(14) 
Feasibility for avoiding disturbance to trees or stone walls by proposing a safe location for a walkway, driveway or road elsewhere; and
(15) 
Other sound planning principles and considerations.
G. 
Decision. The Planning Board shall make a decision to issue or deny a scenic road work permit within 21 days after closing the public hearing, and the decision shall be filed with the Town Clerk within that time. Copies of the decision shall be sent to the applicant, the Board of Selectmen, the Tree Warden, the Department of Public Works, the Building Inspector, the Conservation Commission and the Historical Commission. The approval of a scenic road work permit shall be valid for one year. Any work outlined in the issuance of a scenic road work permit not completed within one year after issuance will necessitate a new and separate filing for a scenic road work permit. Appeal of a decision shall be done in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 40A, § 17.
[Amended 4-30-2018 ATM by Art. 18]
H. 
Restoration.
(1) 
Protected stone walls. Unless waived, any restoration ordered within a decision shall consist of replacing the protected stone wall on a square face foot per square face foot basis. Stone walls shall be replaced so as to reconnect in a consistent manner with undisturbed walls wherever physically possible. Where feasible and appropriate, any unused removed stones from such stone walls shall be used to repair other sections of the stone wall. No protected stone wall shall be cut without construction of an appropriate stone terminus, i.e., stone piers or granite posts.
(2) 
Protected trees. Unless waived, any restoration ordered within a decision shall consist of replacing the removed protected trees with nursery grade trees on a one square inch per two square inch replacement basis, at locations specified by the Planning Board and the Tree Warden. A one square inch per two square inch replacement is calculated by finding the diameter of a tree in question at 4.5 feet up from the base above the ground and determining its trunk area (3.14 times tree radius squared). The resulting figure is halved and that square inch total becomes the equal to the square inch total of the replacement tree(s). The restoration shall be verified by the Tree Warden. The species of replacement tree(s) will be determined by the Tree Warden, or otherwise will be consistent with the species of the removed tree(s). The Tree Warden may determine a compensatory value for which the applicant shall be responsible, in lieu of replacement tree plantings, which is equal to the value for nursery grade tree stock and installation. Such value and subsequent payment due the Town of Cohasset shall be outlined in the scenic road work permit.
A. 
Failure to file. Failure to file for a scenic road work permit where needed shall result in an immediate stop-work order from the Planning Board and/or Building Inspector, shall necessitate an immediate filing as detailed above, and may result in an order for restoration measures to be taken.
B. 
Failure to comply. Failure to comply with the terms of a scenic road work permit may result in an order requiring remedial measures to be taken, may include fines as set forth below, and may result in enforcement through noncriminal disposition under MGL c. 40, § 21D.
C. 
Fines. Anyone who violates the provisions of this bylaw may be fined through noncriminal disposition under MGL c. 40, § 21D, at a fine of $300 per day, with each day's failure to comply constituting a separate and distinct offense.
If, in any respect, any provision of this bylaw, in whole or in part, shall prove to be invalid for any reason, such invalidity shall only affect the part of such provision which shall be held invalid, and in all other respects this bylaw shall stand.