[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of East Haddam 8-23-1994. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to help preserve the natural beauty, character and condition of the Town of East Haddam's rural roads from the destruction of their scenic values caused by unnecessary alterations. In general, highways or portions of highways designated as "scenic roads" should remain as they are.
Pursuant to the provisions of § 7-149a of the Connecticut General Statutes (Public Act 81-401), the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Town of East Haddam may designate Town highways or portions thereof as scenic roads. No state highway or portion thereof may be designated as a scenic road under this chapter.
To be eligible for designation as a scenic road, a highway or portion thereof must be free of intensive commercial development and intensive vehicle traffic and must meet at least two of the following additional criteria:
No highway or portion thereof may be designated as a scenic road by the Planning and Zoning Commission pursuant to this chapter, regardless of where the application originates, unless the owners of the majority of lot frontage, as listed in the Town of East Haddam Assessor's records, abutting said highway or portion thereof agree to such designation by filing a written statement or statements of approval with the Town Clerk of the Town of East Haddam, who shall promptly transmit a copy thereof to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The Planning and Zoning Commission may on its own initiative submit an application for designating a highway or portion thereof as a scenic road hereunder. Alternatively, any property owner who owns land within the Town may apply to the Planning and Zoning Commission for designation of a highway or portion thereof as a scenic road. Such application shall include a specific description of said highway or portion thereof to be considered for designation along with a statement of the reasons why designation should be granted and shall be submitted to the Town Clerk and accompanied by a list of the names and addresses of the owners of all lot frontage abutting the highway or portion thereof to be designated. The Town Clerk will first review the application, including the names and addresses of owners, for accuracy and completeness and then promptly submit the entire application to the Planning and Zoning Commission for action. Following verification of the application by the Town Clerk, the applicant shall notify by certified mail all owners of lot frontage along such highway or portion thereof of such application. The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the application. Hearing notices and deadlines therefor shall be in accordance with the terms of §§ 8-26d and 8-26e of the Connecticut General Statutes.
The Planning and Zoning Commission shall notify the Board of Selectmen, Board of Fire Commissioners, East Haddam Police Department, Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, the Historic District Commission and the Superintendent of Public Highways for the purpose of review and comment. Each agency shall submit its recommendation to the Planning and Zoning Commission within 60 days of receipt of its copy of the application. If such a report is not received from any agency, it shall be presumed that such agency approves the scenic road designation as described in the application.
Following the receipt of the agency reports and public hearings, the Planning and Zoning Commission shall vote on the proposed designation pursuant to the procedures set forth in the Connecticut General Statutes and pursuant to the designation procedure set forth in § 7-149a of the Connecticut General Statutes. The Planning and Zoning Commission shall vote on each scenic road application in accordance with the terms of § 8-26d of the Connecticut General Statutes. If such vote is in the affirmative, the Planning and Zoning Commission shall set an effective date and notify the owners abutting said highway or portion thereof that has been designated as a scenic road.
Any person aggrieved by a designation of a highway or portion of a highway as a scenic road by the Planning and Zoning Commission may appeal such designation in the manner and using the same standards of review provided for appeals from the decisions of the Planning and Zoning Commission under § 8-8 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
The scenic road designation may be rescinded by the Planning and Zoning Commission by two-thirds vote of the entire Commission, provided that the consent of the owners of the majority of lot frontage abutting said highway or portion thereof shall be necessary before such rescission can be effective.
In general, it is the intent of this chapter that no road which has been designated as a scenic road be altered or improved except for good cause as determined by the Planning and Zoning Commission. However, scenic roads will not be subject to:
If any of the above-listed alterations are proposed, they shall be permitted only if the owners of the majority of lot frontage abutting the scenic road indicate their approval by signing a written statement agreeing to the alterations and filing it with the Town Clerk.
A scenic road under this chapter shall be maintained by the Town of East Haddam in good and sufficient repair and in passable condition. It is understood, however, that road repairs and safety improvements will not, insofar as practicable, alter the scenic quality of the road. Minor repairs and routine road maintenance can be done at the discretion of the Superintendent of Highways.
Major repairs which might require widening of the right-of-way (but in no case beyond 20 feet or the legal boundaries) or improved drainage will require a public hearing by the Planning and Zoning Commission and a vote of approval by 2/3 of the full Commission before the major repairs can begin.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent emergency repairs as needed in the event of a natural disaster in which a scenic road becomes impassable or unsafe for public travel. These repairs will be done in a manner that maintains the scenic characteristics of the road as much as practicable. Similarly, to the extent that reconstruction is required, the road shall be restored as nearly as practicable to its scenic character at the time of designation.
This chapter does not prohibit a person owning or occupying land abutting a scenic road from maintaining and repairing land and/or driveways which abut the scenic road; provided, however, the maintenance and/or repair occurs on land not within the right-of-way, paved or unpaved, of the scenic road.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Planning and Zoning Commission acting through its designated enforcement representatives. Violation of this chapter shall be subject to such sanctions, legal and equitable, as are allowable under state law.