[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Falmouth Annual Fall Town Meeting 11-8-2004, Art. 22, approved 12-30-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of the Falmouth Scenic Roads Bylaw is to maintain the rural, natural, historic and scenic character of certain of the Town's roadways by requiring prior Planning Board approval for the removal of significant trees or stone walls within the layout of Town roads in conjunction with the repair, reconstruction, or paving of those roads. The bylaw provides that any repair, maintenance, reconstruction or paving work on Town roads designated as scenic shall not involve or include the cutting down or removal of significant trees or their roots or the tearing down, or relocation or destruction of stone walls or portions thereof within the road layout without the prior written consent of the Planning Board. Planning Board approval is not necessary for roadway work that does not affect trees or stone walls in the layout.
The bylaw also establishes the procedure for designating scenic roads.
Enactment of this bylaw is authorized by the Massachusetts General Laws c. 40, § 15C.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CUTTING OR REMOVAL OF TREES
- The removal of one (1) or more significant trees having a diameter of eight (8) inches or more measured four (4) feet above the ground, or roots of more than three (3) inches in diameter where cut.
- REPAIR, MAINTENANCE, RECONSTRUCTION, OR PAVING WORK
- Excavation, repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving work shall mean any work done within the layout by any person or agency, public or private. Construction of new driveways or alteration of existing driveways within the right-of-way is excluded under this bylaw.
- Any street that is an accepted Town way, or one that has been established by or maintained under County authority. When the boundary of the right-of-way is in issue so that a dispute arises as to whether or not certain trees or stone walls or portions thereof are within or without the way, the trees or stonewalls shall be presumed to be within the way until the applicant proves the contrary to the satisfaction of the Planning Board.
- STONE WALLS
- Any structure of natural stones, cut or uncut, that is built in order to enclose, divide or define an area, regardless of its condition.
- SIGNIFICANT TREES
- Significant trees have a trunk diameter of eight (8) inches or more as measured four (4) feet above the ground.
Upon recommendation or request of the Planning Board, Conservation Commission or Historical Commission, Town Meeting may designate scenic roads by a majority vote.
Criteria to be used in determining which roads or portions of roads are scenic.
Ways bordered by trees of exceptional quality.
Ways with overarching tree canopy.
Ways bordered by stone walls, historic buildings, agricultural fields, designed landscapes, or other natural or man-made features of aesthetic value.
Ways with water views.
Age and historic significance of way, trees and stone walls, width, grade and alignment.
Ways bordered by designated Local Historic Districts or National Register Districts.
[Amended ATM 4-2-2012, Art. 35]
The written approval of the Planning Board is required for any excavation, repair, maintenance, reconstruction or paving work within the layout of Scenic Roads that would involve removing stone walls or significant trees, except as provided in § 178-5F below.
Public hearing. The Planning Board shall hold a public hearing within thirty (30) days of receipt of an application and shall give notice as specified in MGL c. 40, § 15C. When required, hearings shall be held in conjunction with those held by the Tree Warden acting under MGL c. 87, § 3, the Public Shade Tree Act. Copies of the public notice shall be sent to the Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Historic District Commission, the Tree Warden, the Department of Public Works, and the owners of property within one hundred (100) feet of the proposed action.
Decision. The Planning Board shall make a determination with respect to a written request within twenty-one (21) days after the close of the public hearing. Failure of the Planning Board to make its decision and file it with the Town Clerk within the time allotted shall constitute approval of the written request.
Public Shade Tree Act. The consent of the Planning Board to a proposed action shall not be regarded as inferring consent by the Tree Warden or 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, MGL c. § 5.3, have been complied with.
Decision considerations. In making a decision, the Planning Board shall consider overall effect of the proposed alteration, including the preservation of historic values, scenic quality, public safety, compatibility with surrounding neighborhood and compensatory actions. New plant materials will be determined by the Tree Warden or Planning Board which may require that new tree species be chosen for historic value.
Emergency work. In the event that emergency conditions require that work otherwise requiring Planning Board approval must proceed before such approval can be obtained, the work may proceed to the extent which is deemed necessary to protect public health and safety. The work shall be reported in writing, to the Planning Board, within seventy-two (72) hours of the emergency condition.
The permission of the Planning Board will not be necessary when the removing of a stone wall occurs within a historic district, where the Falmouth Historic Districts Commission will have sole jurisdiction.
The Building Inspector, Tree Warden or others designated by the Town Administrator may issue a citation for violations of this bylaw under § 1-2, Noncriminal disposition of the Code of Falmouth. Violations of the provisions of this bylaw shall be subject to a fine of three hundred dollars ($300.)