[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Clinton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Under the provisions of C.G.S. § 16-229, and any subsequent amendment thereof, no public service company shall excavate any highway within the Town of Clinton until its duly authorized representative has applied for and received from the Clinton Board of Selectmen a written permit for such excavation, except as herein otherwise provided.
Within 30 days after receipt of a proper application, the Board of Selectmen shall issue a written permit for such excavation, upon such terms and conditions as to the conduct of the work as may be reasonable.
Whenever emergency conditions make a formal application impracticable, the First Selectman, or his designated representative, may give oral or written permission for such excavation.
The purpose of this article is to help preserve Clinton's rural character and beauty by enabling property owners to preserve scenic rural roads abutting their property.
The power to designate scenic rural roads is hereby delegated to the Planning and Zoning Commission, such designation to be made in accordance with the standards and procedures set forth herein; however, those powers regarding the same which are reserved unto the Board of Selectmen are specified hereafter.
Property owners may petition the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) for a designation of a Town road or portion of a Town road as a scenic rural road. The petition shall state what road or portion of road is requested to be designated as a scenic rural road and describe those characteristics of the road which qualify it for scenic rural road status, as well as other characteristics which enhance the scenic character of the road.
The petition shall be signed by the owners of a majority of lot frontage abutting the road or portion of road in question, stating that they approve of designating the road or portion of road a scenic rural road, and indicating to the best of their knowledge their lot frontage along the road or portion of road in question. Each signer of the petition shall indicate his or her address. The petition shall include the names and addresses of owners of lot frontage abutting the road or portion of the road who did not sign the petition. The petition must contain the name, address and signature of the circulator of the petition, who must be a resident of Clinton. Said petition shall also have a signed statement by the circulator that the circulator either knows each individual who signed the petition or that the signer satisfactorily identified himself or herself to the circulator.
The original of the petition shall be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission with the application form designated for a scenic road designation, and a copy shall be filed by the circulator with the Town Clerk.
The petition shall be processed and considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which shall verify road frontage and ownership as set forth on the petition pursuant to Subsection A above. A public hearing shall be held. All time limits for receipt of application, opening and closing of public hearing, and decision shall be as specified in C.G.S. § 8-3.
The Planning and Zoning Commission may approve the petition and designate the road or portion of road that is the subject of the petition as a scenic rural road. Such designation shall specify what characteristics of the road or portion of road qualify it for scenic rural road status and what other characteristics enhance its scenic character. Upon designation, the road in question shall be protected under § 455-8 of this article, provided that alterations or improvements may be made pursuant to § 455-9 of this article.
The Planning and Zoning Commission may deny the petition and state its reasons for the denial on the record.
If the petition is approved, the Planning and Zoning Commission shall provide notice of its decision pursuant to C.G.S. § 8-3(d), including written notice to the circulator.
The Town Clerk shall maintain a list of all the roads or portions of roads designated as scenic rural roads, and said list, along with any maps of designated scenic roads submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission, shall be available to the public for inspection.
The Planning and Zoning Commission shall designate a road or portion of road a scenic rural road if the following standards are met:
The road or portion of road is free of intensive commercial development;
The road or portion of road is free of intensive vehicular traffic;
Owners of a majority of the lot frontage abutting the road or portion of road have signed the petition indicating that they approve of the designation; and
The road or portion of road meets at least two of the following criteria:
After a road or portion of road has been designated a scenic rural road, the Town shall continue to maintain it as it had prior to such designation. No repair, alterations or improvements shall be made therein except:
As specifically permitted by decision of the Board of Selectmen;
As made necessary as a result of a natural disaster and permitted pursuant to Subsection B of this section;
As has been previously approved prior to the effective date of this article; or
As necessary to mediate an unsafe condition.
Any such repair shall be made with consideration of the rural characteristics of the road and with as little change as feasible to those characteristics which qualified this road or portion of road as a scenic road.
Otherwise, no material changes shall be made in the width of the right-of-way or the traveled portion, the alignment, the grade, or the elevation of the road, or in the type of roadway surface. Within the right-of-way, no trees may be cut or removed, no stone walls or portions thereof may be torn down or destroyed, no boulders may be removed, and no trees or other vegetation within the untraveled portion of the road may be disturbed, except as permitted herein.
Routine road maintenance shall include removal of dead or seriously diseased or damaged branches of tress; trimming of tree branches that encroach on the traveled portion of the road below the height needed to allow school buses and emergency vehicles to pass; trimming and removal of brush and removal of boulders or other obstacles that encroach on the traveled portion of the road; necessary trimming for utility lines; trimming of brush to enhance and protect scenic views, stone walls, mature trees, and other characteristics of the scenic rural road set forth in the decision designating it as a scenic rural road; correction of drainage problems; and graveling, retreatment and repair of existing roadway surfaces. All routine road maintenance shall be performed in a manner to protect and enhance those characteristics of the road which are specified in the decision designating the scenic rural road as is practicable.
Nothing herein shall prohibit a landowner from permanently removing a portion of a stone wall or a tree in order to construct or improve a driveway or, in the case of subdivision, to connect a subdivision road with a designated scenic rural road. A property owner may make improvements to that portion of an existing driveway which lies within the right-of-way, including paving, presuming necessary permits have been obtained for such work.
In case of a natural disaster in which the scenic rural road becomes impassable or unsafe for public travel and access must be provided, emergency repairs may be made as needed; they shall be made with consideration to repairing in a manner which will avoid or reduce adverse effects on the characteristics of the road specified in the decision designating it a scenic rural road. Reconstruction of the scenic rural road shall be done in a manner to restore the road to the extent possible to its scenic character at the time of designation.
Paving of the unpaved traveled portion of the scenic rural road shall be permitted if:
The Board of Selectmen approves and authorizes said paving; and
The owners of a majority of lot frontage along the unpaved portion of the scenic rural road indicate their approval of the paving by signing a written statement agreeing to the paving and filing with the Town Clerk and the Board of Selectmen. The statement shall describe the unpaved traveled portion of the scenic rural road to be paved and indicate each signer's knowledge, each signer's lot frontage along the unpaved portion of the scenic rural road, the lot frontage of property owners who have not signed, and the percentage of total lot frontage represented by signers as compared to the total lot frontage of the portion of the road to be paved.
No fewer than 20 days prior to the start of paving or of any work on the road preparatory to paving, the Selectmen shall cause written notice be sent, certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owners of lot frontage along the unpaved portion on the scenic rural road to be paved who did not sign the written statement. Said notice shall state the date on which paving work or work preparatory to paving is to begin, describe the unpaved portion of the scenic rural road to be paved, and indicate that the statement approving the paving may be examined at the office of the Town Clerk. If, within 15 days of receipt of said notice by said property owners, no claim is made that the signers of the written statement are not owners of a majority of lot frontage on the unpaved portion of the scenic rural road to be paved, the paving or work preparatory to paving may proceed on the scheduled date. If such a claim is made, the Town Clerk shall immediately notify the Board of Selectmen. If the Selectmen decide that the written statement is signed by the owners of a majority of lot frontage abutting the unpaved portion of the scenic rural road to be paved, the paving and work preparatory to paving may proceed. If they decide that the written statement is not so signed, the unpaved portion of the scenic rural road may not be paved. Paving of the unpaved portion of a scenic rural road pursuant to this subsection shall not abrogate any other protections of scenic rural roads set forth in Subsections A and B of this section.
If the Board of Selectmen, or its designated agent, finds that specific alterations or improvements need to be made in the road to correct a hazard, whether such hazard to the safety of the public is in existence at the time this article becomes effective or not, a public hearing shall be held regarding such alterations or improvements, after necessary legal notice, after which the Board of Selectmen shall render a decision as to whether to undertake the alteration or improvement.
In rendering said decision, the Selectmen shall consider the nature of the hazard and procedures for improvement which would cause the least damage to the character of the scenic rural road, as well as costs for the same. Stone walls which are interrupted for purposes allowed under this article shall be rebuilt except where their existence would interfere with the construction or existence of the improvement.
The procedure as to the petition, legal notice, public hearing, decision, and notice of decision as set forth for designating a scenic road in § 455-6 of this article shall be followed with regard to a petition for rescinding a scenic road designation. In addition, the application to rescind the designation shall include the reason(s) why the scenic road designation should be rescinded.
If the decision rescinds the scenic rural road status of the road or portion of road on question, the Town Clerk shall correct the list and map of scenic roads accordingly. If the decision denies the petition for rescission, the road or portion of road in question shall continue to be designated as a scenic rural road protected by the provisions of this article.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the Town of Clinton to undertake improvements, repairs, alterations or maintenance, including pavement, to any scenic rural road that the Town, through its designated bodies, shall not choose to do.