[HISTORY: Adopted by the Planning Board of the Town of Sharon 6-8-1977; as last revised 5-8-2013. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Any person seeking the consent of the Planning Board under MGL c. 40, § 15C (The Scenic Roads Act), regarding the cutting or removal of a tree or trees, or the tearing down or destruction of a stone wall or stone walls or a portion thereof, in connection with the repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving work on a scenic road, shall:
Inform the Tree Warden; and
Submit a request to the Planning Board, together with the following:
The text of a legal notice identifying the location of the proposed action in terms enabling readers to reasonably locate it on the ground without need for additional plots or references, and describing the proposed changes to trees and stone walls;
A list of the owners of land abutting the scenic road on which the proposed work is to be performed, and, if the proposed work is only for a section of a scenic road, a list of the owners of land abutting and within 500 feet of the section;
Except in the case of Town agencies, a deposit sufficient for the cost of advertising and notification;
A plan and explanatory material found adequate by the Town Engineer to inform the Planning Board prior to the public hearing.
Notice of submittal shall be concurrently filed with the Town Clerk.
Notice. The Planning Board shall, as required by statute, give notice of its public hearing by twice advertising in a newspaper of general circulation in the area. The Board shall also send copies of that notice to the Selectmen, Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Town Engineer, Tree Warden, Department of Public Works, and owners of property within 500 feet of the proposed action.
Timing. The Planning Board shall hold a hearing within 30 days from the date on which notice of submittal is received by the Town Clerk, and shall make a decision within 45 days of that receipt, unless a longer time is agreed to by the applicant.
Tree Warden. Whenever feasible, Planning Board hearings shall be held in conjunction with those to be held by the Tree Warden pursuant to MGL c. 87. Consent to an action by the Planning Board shall not be construed as implying consent by the Tree Warden or vice versa.
In the absence of contrary meaning established through legislative or judicial action pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 15C, the following terms shall be construed as follows:
- CUTTING OR REMOVAL OF TREES
- The removal of one or more trees, trimming of major branches, or cutting of roots sufficient in the Tree Warden's opinion to cause the eventual destruction of a tree with a trunk of four inches or more in diameter measured one foot from the ground.
- An individual or individuals, a partnership, a corporation, a public utility, a trust, a foundation, or a governmental agency.
- A vehicular traveled way plus its necessary appurtenances within the right-of-way, including bridge structures, drainage systems, retaining walls, traffic control devices, and sidewalks, but not intersecting streets or driveways.
- TEARING DOWN OR DESTRUCTION OF STONE WALLS
- The destruction of a stone wall or stone walls or a portion thereof, but shall not be construed to include temporary removal and replacement at the same location with the same materials.
- Cutting or removing a tree, or trimming of major branches or cutting of roots sufficient in the Tree Warden's opinion to cause the eventual destruction of a tree, with a trunk of diameter of four inches or more measured one foot from the ground; or tearing down or destroying a stone wall or a portion thereof, on a scenic road, including its right-of-way, without the prior written permission of the Planning Board after a public hearing.
In acting on an application under the Scenic Roads Regulations, the Planning Board may take into consideration the following:
Preservation of natural resources;
Environmental and historical values;
Scenic and aesthetic characteristics;
Traffic volume and congestion;
Compensatory actions proposed, such as replacement trees or walls;
Functional urgency of the repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving;
Financial and other consequences of design revision to avoid or reduce damage to trees or stone walls;
Evidence contributed by abutters, Town agencies, and other interested parties;
Other sound planning considerations.