Town of Dalton, MA
Berkshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Rules and Regulations Governing the Subdivision of Land in Dalton, Massachusetts, are derived from the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Chapter 41, §§ 81K through 81GG.
These subdivision regulations are adopted for the purpose of protecting the safety, convenience and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town of Dalton, by "regulating the laying out and construction of ways in subdivisions providing access to the several lots therein, but which have not become public ways, and ensuring sanitary conditions in subdivisions and in proper cases parks and open areas. The powers of the planning board and of the board of appeals under the subdivision control law shall be exercised with due regard for the provision of adequate access to all of the lots in a subdivision by ways that will be safe and convenient for travel; for lessening congestion in such ways and in the adjacent public ways; for reducing danger to life and limb in the operation of motor vehicles; for securing safety in the case of fire, flood, panic and other emergencies; for insuring compliance with the applicable zoning bylaws; for securing adequate provision for water, sewerage, drainage, underground utility services, fire, police, and other similar municipal equipment, and street lighting; and other requirements where necessary in a subdivision and for coordinating the ways in a subdivision with each other and with the public ways in the Town and with the ways in neighboring subdivisions. Such powers may also be exercised with due regard for the policy of the commonwealth to encourage the use of solar energy and protect the access to direct sunlight of solar energy systems. It is the intent of the subdivision control law (under which these regulations are adopted) that any subdivision plan filed with the planning board shall receive the approval of such board if said plan conforms to the recommendations of the board of health and to the reasonable rules and regulations of the planning board pertaining to subdivisions of land; provided however, that such board may, when appropriate, waive, as provided for in section eighty-one R, such portions of the rules and regulations as is deemed advisable." (MGL c. 41, § 81M)
Under the authority vested in the Planning Board of the Town of Dalton, and as required by MGL c. 41, § 81Q, said Board hereby adopts these rules and regulations governing the subdivision of land in the Town of Dalton.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
LOT
A clearly defined piece of land in one ownership or control with sufficient area and dimensions to meet minimum zoning requirements for area, width and use, and to provide such yards and other open space as are required by the Zoning Bylaw.[1] Such lots shall have frontage on a public street shown on a plan approved by the Planning Board or otherwise qualifying under the Subdivision Control Law.
PRELIMINARY PLAN
A plan of a proposed subdivision or resubdivision of land.
ROAD
See "street."
SKETCH PLAN
A simple freehand sketch, preferably on topographic survey, showing the proposed layout of streets, lots and other features in relation to existing conditions.
STREET
A public way or a private way either shown on a plan approved by the Planning Board in accordance with the Subdivision Control Law, or otherwise qualifying a lot, or lots, for frontage under the Subdivision Control Law.
SUBDIVISION
The division of a tract of land into two or more lots and shall include resubdivision and, when appropriate to the context, shall relate to the process of subdivision or the land or territory subdivided; provided, however, that the division of a tract of land into two or more lots shall not be deemed to constitute a subdivision within the meaning of the Subdivision Control Law, if at the time when it is made, every lot within the tract so divided has frontage on a) a public way, or a way which the Town Clerk of the Town of Dalton certifies is maintained and used as a public way; or b) a way shown on a plan theretofore approved in accordance with the Subdivision Control Law; or c) a way in existence when the Subdivision Control Law became effective in the Town, having in the opinion of the Planning Board, sufficient width, suitable grades and adequate construction to provide for the needs of vehicular traffic in relation to the proposed use of the land abutting thereon or served thereby, and for the installation of municipal services to serve such land and the buildings erected or to be erected thereon. Such frontage shall be of at least such distance as is then required by the Zoning Bylaw for the erection of a building on such a lot. Conveyances or other instruments adding to, taking away from, or changing the size and shape of lots in such a manner as not to leave any lot so affected without the frontage above set forth, or the division of a tract of land on which two or more buildings were standing when this Subdivision Control Law went into effect in the Town of Dalton into separate lots on each of which one of such buildings remains standing, shall not constitute a subdivision.
SUBDIVISION CONTROL LAW
Sections 81K to 81GG, inclusive, of Chapter 41 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, entitled the "Subdivision Control Law."
WAY
A right-of-way or means of access to a lot. A public way is a way which has been accepted by the Town of Dalton, or by other means created as a public street. Any other way is designated as a private way.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 350, Zoning.
Any person who wishes to cause to be recorded in the Registry of Deeds or to be filed in the Land Court a plan of land and who believes that his plan does not require approval under the Subdivision Control Law may submit his plan and application FORM A (See Appendix.[1]), along with a filing fee of $50 plus $10 per lot to the Planning Board accompanied by the necessary evidence to show that the plan does not require approval. Additionally, for any lots in a subdivision created within eight years of the approval of that subdivision by the Planning Board, the fee is $150 per lot. Said person shall file, by delivery or certified mail, a notice with the Town Clerk stating the date of submission for such determination and accompanied by a copy of said application. If the notice is given by delivery, the Town Clerk shall give written receipt therefor.
A. 
Contents. The minimum dimension for a plan submitted under this section shall be 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches and shall contain the following information prepared by a registered Massachusetts land surveyor:
(1) 
Identification of the plan by name of owner of record and location of land in question.
(2) 
The statement "Approval Under Subdivision Control Law Not Required" and shall provide sufficient space for the date and the signatures of at least three of the members of the Board.
(3) 
Zoning classification and location of any zoning district boundaries that may lie within the locus of the plan.
(4) 
In the case of the creation of a new lot, or lots, the remaining land area and frontage of the land in the ownership of the applicant shall be shown.
(5) 
Notice of any decision by the Board of Appeals, including but not limited to variances and exceptions, regarding the land or any buildings thereon.
(6) 
Names of abutters from the most recent local tax list unless the applicant has knowledge of any subsequent changes.
(7) 
Distance to the nearest permanent monuments
(8) 
Location of all existing buildings, including setback and side and rear yard designations on lots created by the plan and on parcels of land altered by it.
B. 
Conditions which do not constitute a subdivision.
(1) 
Every lot within the tract so divided on the plan meets the requirements of the Zoning Bylaw, Town of Dalton, for minimum area and frontage for the erection of a building, and that the required frontage is on:
(a) 
A public way or a way which the Clerk of the Town of Dalton certifies is maintained and used as a public way; or
(b) 
A way shown on a plan theretofore approved and endorsed in accordance with the Subdivision Control Law; or
(c) 
A way in existence when the Subdivision Control Law became effective, having in the opinion of the Planning Board, sufficient width, suitable grades, and adequate construction to provide for the needs of vehicular traffic in relation to the proposed use of the abutting land and the buildings erected, or to be erected, thereon.
(2) 
Conveyances or other instruments adding to, taking away from or changing the size and shape of the lots are such as not to leave any lot so affected without proper frontage.
(3) 
The division of a tract of land on which two or more buildings were standing when the Subdivision Control Law went into effect in the Town of Dalton into separate lots is such that each of the separate lots contains one of such buildings.
C. 
Determination.
(1) 
In determining whether a plan complies with the purpose of the Subdivision Control Law as to the provision of adequate access to all of the lots by ways which are safe and convenient to travel, the plan must show, among other things, that buildable parts of lots are accessible from their respective borders from a way shown on a plan, and that there is no intent to provide access to any lot by a way not shown on the plan which would constitute a subdivision within the meaning of the Subdivision Control Law.
(2) 
In determining whether a way has been used and maintained as a public way, the Town Clerk shall submit to the Board written evidence of public maintenance by vote of the Town and of continued substantial use by the general public without permission of the landowners along the way, continuous for a least 20 years.
(3) 
The condition of the right-of-way shall be determined to be such that the expected use, or future use, can be accomplished safely without further improvement by the Town.
D. 
Endorsement of plan not requiring approval. If the Planning Board determines that the plan does not require approval, it shall, without a public hearing and within 21 days, endorse on the plan the words, "Approval Under the Subdivision Control Law Not Required." (Pursuant to MGL c. 41, § 81X, the Planning Board may designate its Chairman to endorse Planning Board approval on such plans.)
E. 
Determination that plan requires approval. If the Planning Board determines that the plan does require approval under the Subdivision Control Law, it shall so inform the applicant, within 21 days, and return the plan. The Planning Board may add a statement as to the reason(s) why the plan requires approval. The Planning Board shall notify the Town Clerk of its action.
F. 
Failure of the Board to act. If the Planning Board fails to act upon a plan submitted under this section within 21 days after its submission, it shall be deemed to have determined that approval under the Subdivision Control Law is not required.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Appendix, containing Forms A through H and Figures 1 through 12, is included at the end of this chapter.
No person shall make a subdivision within the meaning of the Subdivision Control Law of any land within the Town, or proceed with the improvement or sale of lots in a subdivision, or the construction of ways, or the installation of municipal services therein, unless and until a definitive plan of such subdivision has been approved and endorsed by the Planning Board as hereinafter provided.
A. 
Not more than one building for dwelling purposes on a lot. Not more than one building designed or available for use for dwelling purposes and its customary accessory buildings shall be erected or placed or converted to use as such on any lots in a subdivision, or elsewhere in the Town, without Planning Board approval. Such approval may be conditional upon the providing of adequate ways furnishing access to each such building in the same manner as otherwise required for lots within a subdivision. (MGL c. 41, § 81Q)
B. 
Adequate access from a public way.
(1) 
Improvements to existing public ways. Where the street system within a subdivision does not connect with or have, in the opinion of the Planning Board, adequate access from a Town, county or state (public) way, the Board may require, as a condition of approval of a plan, that such adequate access be provided by the subdivider and/or that the subdivider make physical improvements to and within such a way of access, in accord with the provisions of Article III, Design Standards, of these regulations, from the boundary of the subdivision to a Town, county or state way.
(2) 
Widening of existing public way. Where the physical condition or width of a public way from which a subdivision has its access is considered by the Planning Board to be inadequate to carry the traffic expected to be generated by such subdivision, the Board may require the subdivider to dedicate a strip of land for the purpose of widening the abutting public way to a width at least commensurate with that required within the subdivision, and to make physical improvements to and within such public way to the same standards required within the subdivision. Any such improvements shall be made only with permission of the governmental agency having jurisdiction over such way, and all costs of any such widening or construction shall be borne by the subdivider.
(3) 
Access for a second dwelling on a deep lot or to a land-locked parcel.
(a) 
Deep lot. In the case of a deep lot which has more than the required acreage but has insufficient frontage for two lots, access for a second dwelling in the rear of the lot may be provided only by subdividing the lot into two lots and laying out a new way on one side of the original lot to provide access to the newly created rear lot.
(b) 
Land-locked parcel. In the case of a parcel of land not having access from an accepted public way, access to the parcel may be created by establishing a new way through a lot on an existing accepted public way.
(c) 
Requirements for approval.
[1] 
Both above cases [Subsection B(3)(a) and (b)] constitute a new subdivision and must be approved under the Subdivision Control Law.
[2] 
The new way shall be 50 feet wide and terminate in a turnaround in accordance with the specifications of § 501-10D(1). (This turnaround also will provide sufficient frontage if it has not already been established by the length of the new way abutting the new lot.)
[3] 
Both the new rear lot and the new lot on the existing public way shall have sufficient remaining acreage to meet the zoning requirements after deleting the area required for the new way.
[4] 
The remaining frontage of the new lot on the existing public way shall be sufficient to meet the zoning requirements when the fifty-foot width of the new way is subtracted from the frontage of the original lot on the existing public way.
[5] 
Since new corner lots will be created by such a subdivision, sufficient setbacks for any existing building shall be provided.
[6] 
The new way shall be owned and maintained by the owner of the newly created rear lot.
[7] 
In accordance with § 501-28 of these regulations, and MGL c. 41, § 81-R, the Planning Board may waive requirements for design standards of the new way consistent with the expected use and surrounding terrain. However, in granting such a waiver, the Board may impose conditions upon its approval for the protection and safety of abutters and/or the public.
[8] 
The new way shall be built and maintained by the owner in such a fashion that adequate and safe access for commercial and emergency vehicles is provided.
[9] 
The definitive plot plan shall have the following note endorsed upon it: "This subdivision and the new way is valid only for access to the newly created second lot. Access to any additional lots shall require submission of a new subdivision plan."
(4) 
Access via frontage. Access for a lot shall be via its frontage on an accepted public way or a way approved by the Planning Board in accordance with the provisions of these regulations.
C. 
Subdivision standards for the Floodplain District. All subdivision proposals and other proposed new development shall be reviewed to determine whether such proposals will be reasonably safe from flooding. If any part of a subdivision proposal or other new development is located within the Floodplain District established under the Zoning Bylaw, Town of Dalton, Massachusetts,[1] it shall be reviewed to assure that:
(1) 
The proposal is designed consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
(2) 
All public utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas, electrical, and water systems shall be located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage.
(3) 
Adequate drainage systems shall be provided to reduce exposure to flood hazards.
(4) 
Base flood elevations (the level of the one-hundred-year flood) data shall be provided for proposals greater than 50 lots or five acres, whichever is the lesser for that portion within the Floodplain District.
(5) 
Land subject to flooding or land deemed by the Board of Health to be uninhabitable shall not be approved by the Planning Board for residential development, or for such other use as may increase danger to health, life or property, or aggravate the flood hazard. Such land within the subdivision shall be set aside for such uses as shall not be endangered by periodic or occasional inundation, or improved in a manner satisfactory to the Planning Board and the Board of Health to remedy said hazardous condition.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 350, Zoning.