By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — An amended version of the Scenic Road Bylaw is headed to Fall Town Meeting on Monday, Nov. 14.
Planning Board member Page Wilkins recalled during the Select Board’s meeting on Monday that the Scenic Road Bylaw was approved by Town Meeting in 2015. Wilkins said the bylaw’s proposed amendments are administrative.
“Since I have been on the Planning Board and before my time, there has been some confusion with the way it was written,” said Wilkins.
Wilkins said the Scenic Road Bylaw currently applies to five streets: Chestnut Street, Essex Street, Lowell Street, Main Street and Summer Street. She said no additional streets are proposed being added to the bylaw.
“We added the current roads into the bylaw so when an applicant looks at the bylaw, they can see if it is a scenic road without having to dig further,” said Wilkins. “The roads were added into the bylaw in 2016.”
Wilkins said residents and applicants have been confused about what the Scenic Road Bylaw pertains to, what its purpose is and what components of the bylaw are subject to Planning Board review.
“We clarified it to make it clear, as the state statute provides, that it only involves tree or stone wall work in a public right-of-way,” said Wilkins. “The current bylaw contains language that makes it sound like any work being done on a scenic road would need to come before the Planning Board. We sometimes heard proposals that didn’t involve a stone wall or a tree. That is something we tried to clarify.”
Wilkins also said the proposed revised Scenic Road Bylaw seeks to clarify the procedures residents and/or developers need to follow if they are going to perform work on a scenic road.
In response to a question from Select Board Chairman Phil Crawford, Wilkins said the revised Scenic Road Bylaw will require an applicant to receive Planning Board approval before trees or stone walls located in the public right-of-way are removed.
“Trees and stone walls within the public right-of-way of all designated scenic roads will not be altered without the public hearing required, nor without following the other procedures set forth in this article,” said Wilkins. “It does not apply to private property. It applies to the public right-of-way in front of somebody’s house.”
Wilkins said the Scenic Road Bylaw’s purpose seeks to “maintain the natural, historic and scenic character of the town’s roads.”
“We added that in to make it more clear,” said Wilkins.
Wilkins also said the revised Scenic Road Bylaw’s definitions for work pertaining to repairing, maintaining, reconstructing and paving has been updated.
“Any such work done within the public right-of-way by any person or entity, public or private, including but not limited to any work on any portion of such right-of-way, and the construction of any new driveway or private way that involves the cutting down of trees or the tearing down or destruction of stone walls,” said Wilkins. “It does not apply to someone putting in a new driveway.”
Wilkins also said the definition of public right-of-way has been clarified to make sure people do not confuse it with private property.
If a resident wants to perform work at a scenic road’s public right-of-way, Wilkins said a plan that “shows the location and the nature of the proposed action and a description of the proposed changes to trees and stone walls” must be submitted to the Planning Board for review and approval. She said the work cannot begin until the Planning Board approves the plan.
“Lastly, we made clear that the temporary removal of a stone wall is not going to be a problem as long as someone puts it back together as it was with the same materials,” said Wilkins. “People will not need to come to the Planning Board for that, but the Department of Public Works needs to be notified so they can confirm it was properly replaced.”
Wilkins said the amended version of Scenic Road Bylaw seeks to “make it less” burdensome.
The Select Board voted to accept the amended Scenic Road Bylaw for inclusion on the Fall Town Meeting warrant.