Earthworks Board & Earth Removal Bylaw

Earthworks Board


An Earthworks Board ("Board") is hereby established to promulgate regulations, with approval of the Select Board, related to the movement or alteration of earth within the Town and to administer and enforce any such by-law or regulation.


This article is adopted under the authority granted by Article 89 of the Massachusetts Constitution (the Home Rule Amendment).


  • The Board shall be composed of five members appointed by the Select Board:
    • One member of the Conservation Commission,
    • One member of the Board of Health,
    • One member of the Planning Board,
    • One member of the Agricultural Commission, and,
    • One at-large member.
  • Service on the Board by a member of any other Committee shall be ex officio only.
  • The term of appointment for each member shall be three years, except for terms assigned during the initial Committee appointments and appointments to fill vacancies.
  • Terms shall be so arranged that the terms of as nearly an equal number of terms as possible will expire each year.
  • The term of any member, except the at-large member, shall terminate immediately upon the vacating of the member's complementary Committee or the expiration of the term on such Committee.
  • Vacancies occurring other than by expiration of term shall be filled by appointment by the Select Board. The term for such appointments shall be the balance of the term of the member replaced.
  • Members of the Board shall serve without compensation.


  • The Board shall elect a Chair and Vice Chair and shall choose a Clerk.
  • The Clerk need not be a member of the Board, and, if not a member of the Board, shall receive only such compensation as may be appropriated therefor by Town Meeting.
  • The Clerk shall keep a true record of the proceedings of the Board.

Adopted May 6, 2017 - Article 21 Approved by Atty General August 9, 2017 Posted August 17, 2017

Amended November 14, 2019 - Article 38 Approved by Atty General January 29, 2020, Posted February 4, 2020

Deleted §4. Added §2 and §3(F). Moved §3(B) to §3(A), §3(B), §3(E); §3(C) to §3(C), and §3(D). Amended §1, §1(A), §3, §3(A), §3(A)(1), §3(A)(2), §3(A)(3), §3(A)(4) §3(A)(5), §3(B), §3(C), §3(D), §3(E), §3(F), §3(G), §4(A), §4(B), and §4(C).

Earth Removal By-law

  • The jurisdiction governing the removal of soil, loam, sand, gravel, stone or other earth material is hereby established under the control of the Earthworks Board ("Board").
  • No person, firm, or corporation shall remove any soil, loam, sand, gravel, stone, or other earth material from any land in the town not in public use without first obtaining a permit therefore, from the Board as provided in the following sections. A permit shall be granted only by an affirmative vote of a simple majority of members of the Board.
  • The definition of removal as used herein shall mean stripping, digging, or excavating the foregoing material and removal from one lot or parcel and transported to another.
  • A permit shall be required under this by-law for the removal of soil, loam, sand, gravel, stone, or other earth material:
    • In the course of the development and operation of any sand, gravel, loam, or rock pits.
    • In the course of construction or enlargement of any ponds, lakes, waterways, and other bodies of water.
    • In the course of constructing, widening, relocation, change of grade, or repair of any and all streets, roads, and other ways both public and private.
  • Exemptions
    • A permit shall not be required under this by-law for the removal of soil, loam, sand, gravel, stone, and other earth materials:
    • In the course of construction of a residential building for which a building permit has been issued and to the installation of walks, driveways, cesspools, septic tanks, leaching fields, and other appurtenances to said building provided that the quantity of material removed does not exceed that displaced by a portion of said building and appurtenances below the finished grade.
    • In the course of customary use of land for a farm, garden, or nursery.
    • In the course of excavation in the regular operation of a cemetery.
    • Any construction or installation of utilities by the Rutland Water Department or Department of Public Works.
    • The above exemption does not cover the removal of earth materials from the premises involving topographical changes or soil stripping or loam stripping activities, nor shall tentative or final approval of a subdivision plan be construed as authorizing the removal of earth material from streets on the subdivision plan.


  • All applications for permits shall be in writing on a form prescribed by the Board and shall consist of the information:
    • Location of proposed earth removal site or sites
    • Name and address of the owner of the land involved
    • Name and address of the petitioner or petitioners
    • Names and addresses of the abutting property owners, including those across the street
    • Type of earth material to be removed
    • Depth of excavation
    • Area of excavation
    • The purpose of earth removal
    • Destination of earth material removed
    • Method of removal
    • Method and routes of transportation
    • Duration of removal operations
    • The finished level and scoping
    • Disposition of all rocks, boulders, stumps, and brush
    • Permission from the petitioner and/or land owner for the Board or its representatives and other town officials to enter said land at any time for inspections to determine compliance with the conditions set forth in the permit.
  • The Board may at its discretion require any or all but not limited to the following additional information and documents to accompany the application.
    • A viable plot plan of the land is, prepared and signed by a registered land surveyor or professional engineer. Such a plan shall show all structures, property lines, vegetative cover, presence and relationship of all water courses, wet areas, drainage, ponds, lakes, streams, and all other bodies of water including all sources of water supply both public and private. Topographic lines at (5) five-foot grade intervals carried (100) one hundred feet beyond the limits of the proposed excavation must be included. In the case of an application for the continuation of an existing removal operation the Board may require that said plan shall include all areas where past earth removal was conducted.
    • A viable plan prepared as the foregoing plot plan showing topographic lines at (5) foot grade intervals after the completion of the proposed excavation and reloading of the area is completed. The plan shall also include the watercourses, drainage, wet areas, streams, ponds, lakes, and all other bodies of water including any and all sources of water supplies both public and private. Included shall be complete information the regarding, relaxing, and reseeding of said areas.
    • Estimated quantities of each substance to be excavated as calculated by a professional engineer.
    • A statement from an engineer as to the estimated loam within the area and the average depth thereof.
    • The amount of loam that will be required to provide a loam cover at least (4) four inches compacted upon termination of the removal work and what amount will have to be brought on to the site for such purpose and its origin.
    • Documentation from the applicant as to the availability of loam from the site and from off the site for final cover and the approximate cost thereof.
    • Estimate and analysis by an engineer of amounts and types of grass seed, plants, and other plantings required to repair the site and the cost of performing such work.
    • All costs for the above information and documents shall be borne by the petitioners.


  • The Board may impose conditions on any permit it grants under this By-law including but not limited to:
    • The method of operation
    • Days and hours of operations:
  • Will be determined so as not to create a nuisance in the immediate area of removal nor along the public and private ways said earth materials are to be transported


  • A 300-foot minimum buffer or as determined by the Board shall be imposed and maintained
    along any and all ways both public and private.
    • A 300-foot minimum buffer or as determined by the Board shall be imposed and maintained
      along any and all sources of water supply both public and private
    • A 100-foot minimum buffer or as determined by the Board shall be imposed and maintained
      along any and all wet areas, streams, ponds, lakes, and all other bodies of water not used as sources of water supply either public or private.
    • A 100-foot minimum buffer as determined by the Board shall be imposed and maintained
      along the boundaries of said earth removal area and any and all adjoining properties.


  • The proper grade must be maintained throughout the course of earth removal so as to prevent
    any "Land sliding" or earth shifting. If this grade is impossible or impractical to maintain as
    determined by the Board, a suitable fence must be erected so as to prevent the entry of a person
    or persons to the earth removal site.
  • All areas from which the earth has been removed must upon completion be regraded so as to
    prevent any "land sliding" or earth shifting. Areas as determined by the Board must be
    reloaded with a minimum of (4) four inches compacted, reseeded, and replanted as
    determined by the Board so as to prevent any erosion, and to return said area to its original
    aesthetic state.


Proper protection as determined by the Board must be provided and maintained at all times
during the earth removal project to prevent any and all erosion, siltation, flooding, or any
other damage to wetlands, the water table, streams, ponds, lakes, and all other bodies or water, including sources of water supplies both public and private. Also to any and all streets, roads, and ways and to any and all adjoining properties, both public and private.


The course or configuration of any drainage or waterway either natural or man-made shall
not be diverted or changed in any manner, before, during, or upon completion of said earth
removal except by prior determination by the Board. No excavation or grading shall take
place so as to cause the accumulation of free-standing water.


All streets, roads, and ways used must be kept clean and clear of all debris during and after
earth removal progress, costs of which shall be borne by the applicant.


  • The Board may request as a condition that the applicant furnish a performance bond, of cash certified check or a surety company to the Town as obligee in a penal sum to be fixed by said Board as it shall deem sufficient to cover the cost of the performance of all the conditions, limitations, and safeguards may be imposed by said Board in connection with the removal of the particular earth substances for which the permit has been issued.
  • The bond, check, or cash deposit shall be held by the Town Treasurer for (1) one year after the termination of the earth removal project or until all conditions of the permit have been completed to the satisfaction of the Board. If after (18) eighteen months from the issuance of the permit, all conditions as required in the permit have not been completed (especially grading and seeding), the Board will use the monies to comply with the originally stated


  • The Board shall at its discretion impose additional conditions it deems necessary in unusual circumstances for the protection of wetlands, water tables, streams, ponds, lakes, and all other bodies of water including any and all sources of water supply, both public and private. Also, for the protection of the health and safety of the residents of the town and their rights to use and enjoy their properties.
  • No permit shall be issued under the provisions of this by-law for a period of more than (1) one year, though permits may be renewed without a hearing at the discretion of the Board.
  • Corrective measures may be required of the applicant to restore areas of past removal operations in the case of an application for continuation of an existing removal operation.
  • Loan
    • Loam shall be removed only for use within the town
    • No surplus loan shall be removed from any land having less than (8) eight inches of loam in its natural state.
    • No permit for earth removal shall be issued if in the opinion of the Board such removal or transportation will:
    • Endanger the general public health, safety, or convenience, or constitute a nuisance.
    • Result in detriment to or depreciation of neighboring properties or interfere with owners or occupants in the normal use and enjoyment of said properties by reason of noise, dust, vibrations, traffic, and drainage conditions.
    • Endanger the recharge of the water table.
    • Endanger the habitat of wildlife in any form.
  • No permit shall be issued hereunder until a public hearing has been held by the Board after first giving (14) fourteen-day notice of the time and place of the hearing in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town of Rutland and by mailing notice thereof to the applicant and all abutters. The applicant shall pay all costs incident to the foregoing advertising and mailing requirements.
  • Failure to comply with any or all of the conditions of the permit will result in immediate recession of the permit. Pending completion of an investigation by the Board into the compliance or non-compliance of any or all conditions of said permit issued pursuant to this article, the Board may suspend all rights incidental to said permit. The suspension or revocation of an earth removal permit shall not relieve the holder of an earth removal permit shall not relieve the holder of the permit of his or her obligations thereunder except at the discretion of the Board.


The Board may charge reasonable fees for making an application for an earth removal permit.


  • Whoever shall violate any or all these provisions shall be punished by a fine of ($50) fifty dollars for the first offense, ($100) one hundred dollars for the second offense, and ($200) two hundred dollars for each subsequent offense.
  • The Board shall record all proceedings and decisions handled by the Board members in a book kept for that purpose and shall file in the Office of the Town Clerk a copy of all proceedings and decisions and the said Town Clerk shall keep a proper index thereof.
  • This By-Law shall take effect upon its approval by the Attorney General and publication as provided by law, provided however that any continuous earth removal activities in actual legal working operation on May 13, 1978, may continue unaffected by the law until October 1, 1978. Permits for operation of the latter activities will be required after October 1, 1978.
  • If any provisions of this By-Law shall be held invalid or unconstitutional, such validity or unconstitutionality shall not be construed to affect validity or unconstitutionality of any of the remaining provisions.

Adopted May13, 1978 Approved with deletions by Attorney General September 5, 1978 Posting requirements met September 14, 1978
Amended May 6, 2017 Approved with comments by Attorney General August 9, 2017 Posting requirements met August 17, 2017