Scenic Roads


In the absence of contrary meaning established through legislative or judicial action pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 40, § 15C, the following terms contained in that statute shall be defined as follows:

  • Cutting or Removal of Trees - The removal of one or more trees. Repair, Maintenance, Reconstruction, or Paving Work - Any work done within the right-of-way by any person or agency, public or private. Within the meaning of this definition, it is any work on any portion of the right-of-way that was not physically commenced at the time the road was designated as a scenic road. Construction of new driveways or roadways or alteration of existing ones is included, insofar as it takes place within the right-of-way.
  • Road - A right-of-way of any way used and maintained as a public way including the vehicular traveled way plus necessary appurtenances within the right-of-way such as bridge structures, drainage systems, retaining walls, traffic control devices, and sidewalks, but not intersecting streets or driveways. When the boundary of the right-of-way is an issue so that a dispute arises as to whether or not certain trees or stonewalls or portions thereof are within or without the way, the trees and stonewalls shall be presumed to be within the way until the contrary is shown.
  • Tearing Down or Destruction of Stone Walls - The destruction of more than 5 (five) linear feet of stone wall involving more than one cubic foot of wall material per linear foot above existing grade, but shall not be construed to include temporary removal and replacement at the same location with the same materials.
  • Trees - Includes any living tree whose trunk has a diameter of four inches or more as measured one foot above the ground.


To protect the scenic quality and character of certain Town roads, the following regulations are established to control alterations that can take place within public rights-of-way.

Designation of roads

The Town may from time to time designate appropriate roads within the Town scenic roads by Town meeting vote.


  • Within the public right-of-way of designated roads, the Tree Warden or his designee may approve the cutting or removal of up to three trees per 200 linear feet of right-of-way.
  • Within the public right-of-way of designated roads, the following activities shall require written approval of the Planning Board in accordance with the provisions of this chapter:
    • The tearing down, painting, or destruction of stone walls;
    • The cutting or removal of trees the scope of which is outside the responsibility of the Tree Warden, as defined above;
    • Repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving work, including the construction of new driveways or roadways or alteration of existing ones, insofar as they affect stone walls or trees within the public right-of-way, as defined in Subsection B(1) and (2) above.
  • In cases where a threat to public safety does not allow sufficient time to obtain approvals from the Tree Warden or the Planning Board, the Planning Board must be notified within five business days of any action which, had the threat not existed, would be a violation of this chapter.

Public hearing; criteria for granting approval of applications

The Planning Board shall hold a public hearing within 30 days of receipt of an application and shall approve or conditionally approve an application within 60 days of receipt. The Hearing may run concurrently with other related hearings. In making its decision, the Planning Board shall consider the following criteria:

  • Preservation of historic values;
  • Preservation of scenic and aesthetic quality of the area;
  • Protection of natural resources and environmental systems;
  • Public safety;
  • Compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood.

Compensatory actions

Since the purpose of these regulations is to protect the scenic quality and character of designated roads, the board may take into consideration proposed actions such as the planting of new trees or the reconstruction of stone walls in making its decision, if the overall effect of the proposed alteration, including compensatory action, is to maintain or improve the scenic quality and character of the road, the Board may grant approval that otherwise would be denied.


The Planning Board shall, as required by statute, give notice of its public hearing by advertising twice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area. This notice shall contain a statement as to the time, date, place, and purpose of the hearing with a reasonable description of the action proposed by the applicant. Copies of this notice shall also be sent to the Select Board, the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission, the Tree Warden, the Department of Public Works, and all abutters of property adjacent to and opposite of property within 100 feet of the proposed action.

Simultaneous review under Public Shade Tree Law

Notice shall be given and Planning Board hearings shall be held in conjunction with those held by the Tree Warden acting under M.G.L. Chapter 87. 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, M.G.L. Chapter 87, have been complied with.

Recommendations for Scenic Road Designation

The Planning Board, Conservation Commission, or Historical Commission, may submit recommendations for additions or deletions to the list of scenic roads, which must be acted upon by the Town meeting. Any recommendation for scenic road designation must be accompanied by a written description of the characteristics of the road that require the protection afforded by these regulations.

Adoption of regulations by the Planning Board

The Planning Board may adopt additional regulations for carrying out provisions hereunder.

Violations & penalties

The Building Inspector, Tree Warden, or others designated by the Select Board may issue a citation for violation of these regulations. A failure of the cited party to respond to properly issued citations, or failure to take responsible compensatory action, may be subject to a fine of not more than $300.

Note: The following roads have been designated Rutland Scenic Roads by Town Meeting Vote Brintnal Drive, Barrack Hill Road, and Sassawanna Road May 14, 1979, Town Meeting Charnock Hill Road, Hillside Road, Intervale Road, and Muschopauge Road May 17, 2008, Town Meeting