Scenic Roads Acts and Public Shade Tree Law

Scenic Roads Acts and Public Shade Tree LawEasy Permits Logo


In accordance with Chapter 40, Section 15C of the Massachusetts General Laws (Scenic Roads Act), the following roads have been designated as Scenic Roads in Needham and require special permission for any work that impacts them: Charles River Street – 1982 Annual Town Meeting

South Street – 1982 Annual Town Meeting

Central Avenue between Nehoiden Street and Marked Tree Road – Special Town Meeting 1989

Designation as a Scenic Road allows the Town to preserve the qualities and character of the town way. Any repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving work done with respect to a Scenic Road shall not involve or include the cutting or removal of trees, or the tearing down or destruction of stone walls, or portion thereto, except with the prior written consent of the Planning Board after a Public Hearing duly advertised. In circumstances proposing the removal of a public shade tree within a scenic road a permit from the Tree Warden under the Public Shade Tree Act will also be required. (See "Public Shade Tree Law".) In addition to the requirements under the Scenic Roads Act, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 87, Section 3 (Public Shade Tree Law) defines all trees within a public way or on the boundaries thereto as public shade trees. If it is doubtful whether the tree is within the public way, it shall be taken to be within the public way until the contrary is shown. Public shade trees cannot be cut trimmed or removed without a prior written permit from the Tree Warden after a Public Hearing duly advertised. (See "Public Shade Tree Law").

When a public hearing must be held pursuant to the provisions of the Scenic Roads Act and the Public Shade Tree Law, prior to the cutting or removal of a tree, such hearings are consolidated into a public hearing before the Tree Warden and Planning Board. The consent of the Planning Board on a proposed action pursuant to the Scenic Roads Act shall not be regarded as to infer consent by the Tree Warden, and the consent of the Tree Warden pursuant to the Public Shade Tree Law is not to be regarded as to infer consent by the Planning Board.

In granting or refusing such consent under the Scenic Roads Act the Planning Board shall consider, among other things, the public safety, scenic views, preservation of historic and regional characteristics, and the preservation and enhancement of natural and aesthetic qualities of the environment.

The Planning Board has adopted the following regulations and application procedures for carrying out the provisions of the Scenic Roads Act: