[HISTORY: Adopted by the Planning Board of the Town of Dalton. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 501.
At a special Town meeting on March 1, 1993, it was moved, seconded and voted unanimously that the Town, pursuant to the recommendation of the Planning Board, designate Gulf Road, from Park Avenue to the Pittsfield Town line as a scenic road under the provisions of MGL c. 40, § 15C, and the Planning Board was instructed to establish regulations for exercising its responsibilities thereunder, taking into consideration sound planning principles and preservation of aesthetic and natural resources of the community.
These scenic road regulations shall apply to any Town road which may be designated as a scenic road in the future.
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, § 15C, states that, after a road has been designated as a scenic road, any repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving work done with respect thereto shall not involve or include the cutting or removal of trees or the tearing down or destruction of stone walls, or portions thereof, except with the prior written consent of the Planning Board, after a public hearing duly advertised twice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area, as to time, date, place and purpose, the last publication to occur at least seven days prior to such hearing; provided, however, that when a public hearing must be held under the provisions of this section and MGL c. 87, § 3, prior to the cutting or removal of a tree, such hearings shall be consolidated into a single public hearing before the Tree Warden and the Planning Board, and notice of such consolidated public hearing shall be given by the Tree Warden or his deputy as provided in said MGL c. 87, § 3.
In the absence of contrary meaning established through legislative or judicial action, the following terns contained in MGL c. 40, § 15C, or used herein shall be defined as follows:
- CUTTING OR REMOVAL OF TREES
- The removal of one or more trees, trimming of major branches, or cutting of roots, but not cutting of dead trees, dead branches, or branches damages by storms or other natural causes.
- REPAIR, MAINTENANCE, RECONSTRUCTION, OR PAVING WORK
- Any work done within a scenic road layout by any person or agency, public or private. Included within this definition is any work on any portion of the scenic road layout which was not physically commenced at the time the road was designated as a scenic road. Construction of new driveways or alteration of existing driveways is also included, insofar as it takes place with the scenic road layout.
- Any right-of-way used and maintained as a public way, including the vehicular traveled way plus necessary appurtenances within the right-of-way such as bridge structures, drainage systems, retaining walls, traffic control devices, and sidewalks. When the boundary of the right-of-way is in issue so that a question arises as to whether or not certain trees or stone walls, or portions thereof, are within or without the way, the trees or stone walls shall be presumed to be within the way unless it is shown to the contrary on the scenic road layout.
- TEARING DOWN OR DESTRUCTION OF STONE WALLS
- The destruction of more than one cubic foot of wall material, but shall not be construed to include temporary removal and replacement at the same location with the same materials.
- SCENIC ROAD
- A road so designated in accordance with MGL c. 40, § 15C, and these regulations.
- SCENIC ROAD LAYOUT
- The land area shown on a plan within the right-of-way of a scenic road which is subject to the provisions of these regulations adopted under the authority of MGL c. 40, § 15C.
- Includes a tree whose trunk has a diameter of four inches or more as measured four feet above the ground.
These regulations are intended to ensure that trees and stone walls along scenic roads will be protected and will not be altered except after a public hearing following notification of interested parties and after consideration of the work project by the Planning Board.
Upon the designation at Town Meeting of any road as a scenic road, the Planning Board shall take the following steps to give effective notice of such designation:
Notify all municipal departments that may take action with respect to such roads;
Notify the State Department of Public Works;
Cause a notice or informal article to be published in a local newspaper stating that the road or roads have been so designated;
Indicate such designation on the Zoning Map, Town of Dalton, MA;
Notify all utility companies or other such parties which may undertake work within or on the border of such road.
Filing. Any person, organization, public agency or utility company contemplating any repair, maintenance, construction, reconstruction or paving of the scenic road which involves or includes the cutting or removal of trees, the tearing down or destruction of stone walls, or portions thereof within the scenic road layout shall first obtain the written consent of the Planning Board by filing a request for such work with the Planning Board, including the following information:
A plan (three copies) showing the proposed work and the extent of alterations or removal of trees or stone walls.
The plan shall be drawn at a scale of one inch equals 40 feet or to a scale approved by the Planning Board, and shall show the name of the street or streets, the lines of the scenic road layout, North arrow, names of abutters within 100 feet of the proposed work and suitable space to record the action of the Planning Board and signatures of the five members of the Board;
In instances where relatively minor alterations are proposed, as an alternative to the submission of the above-referenced plans, the Planning Board may accept prints of the approved scenic road layout with the proposed minor alterations clearly indicated thereon;
The text of the proposed legal notice identifying the location of the proposed action in terms enabling readers to locate it with reasonable clarity without need for additional plans or references, and describing in reasonable detail the proposed changes to trees and/or stone walls;
A statement of the purpose, or purposes, for the changes proposed;
A list of owners of properties located in whole or in part within 100 feet of the proposed action;
Except in the case of Town agencies, payment of $150 to cover the cost of advertising and notification; and
Any further explanatory material as may be required by the Planning Board.
Notice. The Planning Board shall, as required by statute, give notice of a public hearing regarding the proposed action by advertising twice in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town. This notice shall contain a statement as to the date, time, place and purpose of the hearing with a reasonable description of the action proposed by the applicant. Copies of this notice shall also be delivered to the offices of the Select Board, the Conservation Commission, and the owners of the property within 100 feet of the proposed action.
Timing of notice and hearing. The first publication of the notice shall be made as soon as feasible after the Planning Board receives the request from the applicant, and shall in all cases be made at least 14 days before the date of the hearing. The last publication shall occur, as required by statute, at least seven days prior to the hearing. The Planning Board shall hold a public hearing within 45 days of the date upon which a properly filed request is received.
Timing of decision. Within 21 days after the public hearing the Planning Board shall render a written decision on the request.
Tree Warden. Whenever a public hearing concerning the proposed action is also required to be held by the Tree Warden pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 87 (the Public Shade Tree Law), the Planning Board and the Tree Warden hearing shall be consolidated and notice thereof given by the Tree Warden in accordance with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 87. The consent of the Planning Board to a proposed action shall not be regarded as inferring consent by the Tree Warden and vice versa. The Planning Board decision shall contain a condition that no work should be done until all applicable provisions of the Public Shade Tree Law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 87, 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 criteria:
The degree to which the proposed action would adversely affect the scenic and aesthetic values upon which the scenic road designation was originally based;
The necessity for the proposed action in terms of public safety, welfare or convenience;
Compensatory actions proposed, such as replacement of trees or walls;
Availability of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action which could reduce or eliminate anticipated damage to trees of stone walls;
Whether the proposed action would compromise or harm other environmental or historical values; and
Consistency of the proposed action with previously adopted Town plans and policies.
The Select Board is responsible for the enforcement of these rules and regulations. Whoever violates any provisions of these regulations shall be liable to a fine of not more than $3,000 for each citation for any violation.
Each tree trimmed or removed or cubic foot of stone wall torn down or destroyed, as defined in § 502-2, shall constitute a separate violation.