Town of Harwich, MA
Barnstable County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Harwich 5-5-2009 by Art. 1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Visibility at intersections — See Ch. 95.
Parking — See Ch. 208.
No person shall obstruct or excavate any public or private way (excepting private driveways) without first obtaining a license therefor. The Director of Highways and Maintenance or other official having charge of the streets and highways of the Town may, upon written application therefor, grant licenses in writing for the obstruction or excavation of any street or highway or for such excavation as may be required for the purpose of erecting, repairing, altering or removing any building or structure, for the laying of drains, gas pipes, or electric conduits or for any purpose which to him seems reasonable and proper, and such official in charge of the streets and highways shall require any person, firm or corporation acting under such license to make repair of any damage that may be done to any part of the highway resulting therefrom, and such repair shall be at the expense of the licensee, except that the Water Department of the Town of Harwich shall not be required to obtain such license or make such repair in connection with the installation of water services from its mains or in connection with emergency repairs. The official having charge of the streets and highways shall require every licensee under this section to execute such indemnity bond and with sureties and in such sum which to him may seem reasonable and proper, and all such bonds shall be approved as to form by Town Counsel prior to execution.
No road of less than forty-foot width shall be accepted by the Town as a Town way unless a road of lesser width is recommended by a majority vote of the Planning Board in writing to the Board of Selectmen.
No road shall be accepted by the Town as a Town way until it has been cleared to a width of at least 20 feet, leveled and hardened with a suitable material to a depth of six inches, all to the satisfaction of both the Director of Highways and Maintenance and the Board of Selectmen.
A. 
In the event that a group of property owners who own property on a private road which has been open for public use for at least five years wish the Town of Harwich to finance the repair of their private way, they shall engage an engineer experienced in road construction and repair who shall survey the road in question to develop a plan for the repair of that private road which shall take into consideration the need for additional drainage, new berms, driveway aprons to protect the edges of the repaired road, the filling of existing cracks and the application of one or more layers of bituminous concrete. The repair shall be designed to bring the road up to Town standards or as close as possible within the physical constraints of the right-of-way.
B. 
The plan shall specify the projected useful life of the repaired private way, and in no event shall the projected useful life be less than 15 years. All costs of preparing the plan, obtaining cost estimates and preparing the petition described below shall be the exclusive responsibility of the petitioners.
C. 
The property owners shall prepare a petition to the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Harwich to finance the work in an amount certain, including a ten-percent contingency amount. The petition shall list the parcels by lot number and map number together with the owners' names of record with a space for each owner to place his or her signature. The petition must state that each signature represents an irrevocable agreement by each signatory to repay to the Town of Harwich, through the mechanism of a betterment added to each owner's real estate tax bill, his or her pro rata share of the total amount to be financed plus interest and administrative costs, which Town administrative costs shall not exceed 10% of the project. The petition shall not be presented to the Selectmen unless 50% of all the abutters to the road plus one more abutter shall have agreed to the project and its financial commitment by having signed it. Once approved by the Board, all abutters shall be assessed for a pro rata share of the cost of the betterment.
D. 
The petition, accompanied by the engineer's plan, a map of the private way to be repaired and backup for the cost estimates, shall be submitted to the Selectmen's office on or before August 31. The Selectmen shall refer every such petition to the Assessor's office for verification of signatures and confirmation that more than 50% of the abutters have signed. The Selectmen shall consider all submitted petitions that pass the Assessor's examination prior to September 30. If the Selectmen determine that the proposed repairs are in the public interest and if the Selectmen determine that these repairs are within the financial capabilities of the Town, the Board of Selectmen shall refer each petition so determined to the Planning Board which shall conduct a public hearing on each petition on or before November 15 to evaluate the plan, examine the cost estimates and hear from both the abutters and the general public. The Planning Board shall either endorse the plan by a simple majority vote and return it to the Selectmen, recommend changes in costs or scope of the plan or disapprove the plan by a simple majority vote.
E. 
If the Planning Board approves any such plan, the Board of Selectmen may place the plan on the warrant for the next Annual Town Meeting. If the Planning Board suggests modifications or changes in scope of costs, the Board of Selectmen may, as its option, send out proxies to the abutters noting scope and cost changes or it may return the project to the petitioners. If proxies are sent out, they must be returned by December 31; the Selectmen may place the project on the Annual Town Meeting warrant, provided that more than 50% of the abutters approve the revisions.
F. 
If the Annual Town Meeting votes to endorse and finance the project, the engineer who did the original plan shall be named "Project Manager." He shall prepare a new set of bid specifications with the bids to be directed to the Town Administrator. The Project Manager and the Town Administrator shall select the best bid to do the work. The Project Manager shall advise the Director of the Division of Highways and Maintenance 48 hours in advance of each phase of the project and certify, in writing, to the Director of the Division of Highways and Maintenance that each phase of the project has been completed to the Project Manager's satisfaction. The Director of the Division of Highways and Maintenance shall inspect the completed work and certify to the Town Accountant that the work is completed so that payment may be made.
G. 
For a group of private roads within a subdivision in which membership in a neighborhood property owners' association is automatic or mandatory, the same procedure shall be used:
(1) 
So long as a majority of the owners of the lots abutting the group of private ways to be repaired signs the petition required by Subsection C above; and
(2) 
So long as the group of private ways to be repaired is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the neighborhood association or its members.
H. 
The Town of Harwich shall incur no liability for any damages of any nature whatsoever arising from the project by virtue of the Town's agreeing to finance any repair of a private subdivision way. The abutters who accept Town financing shall be deemed to have indemnified and held the Town harmless against any and all such claims.
I. 
Any private way improved under the provisions of this bylaw need not be brought up to full Town road standards. Any private way improved under the provisions of this bylaw shall continue to remain a private way.