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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE TOWN OF CANTON TO REGULATE RESERVOIR POND.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. The general court finds and declares that Reservoir pond in the town of Canton was created artificially by the impounding of the waters of Pequit brook and flowing of swamps, meadows and other land and that such pond is not a naturally occurring pond and shall not be a great pond pursuant to section 35 of chapter 91 of the General Laws, the Colonial Ordinances of 1641-1647 or any other law. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, in recognition of the circumstances that Reservoir pond is located on land originally registered with the commonwealth land court department of the trial court on May 21, 1963 and owned by the town of Canton pursuant to certificate of title no. 185877 issued by said court, the town may regulate the use of Reservoir pond pursuant to this act.

SECTION 2. As used in this act the following terms shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

“Board” shall mean the town of Canton board of selectmen.

“Dam” shall mean the dam in the town of Canton, known as Reservoir pond dam, as the same may be modified, maintained, improved, repaired and replaced from time to time, and all its appurtenances and other improvements impounding the waters of Pequit brook.

“Reservoir pond” shall mean all water impounded by the dam, including but not limited to waters from Pequit brook, sometimes known as Pequid brook, and all surface and other waters naturally or otherwise flowed, drained or diverted to the town property, up to the high-water mark as the same may change from time to time but never less than the area of the Town property.

“Town” shall mean the town of Canton.

“Town property” shall mean the land in the town of Canton, identified; (1) as Lot 1 on the plan recorded with the Norfolk county registry of deeds as land court plan no. 23714-A, and (2) as being owned by “Roger Williams Jr. et al.” and as set forth in a grant by Elijah Bailey to the Neponset Company, dated November 19, 1832 and recorded with the Norfolk county registry of deeds in book 97, page 240, together with all improvements thereto and any land and other property rights, including but not limited to a right to flow, acquired by the town of Canton from time to time by any means, including but not limited to by adverse possession or prescription arising from the presence or use of water being located at such land. 

SECTION 3. Fishing, boating, bathing, swimming, skating and other recreational activities in, on or at Reservoir pond shall be permitted except insofar as restricted or prohibited under authority of law or under rules and regulations established by the board. Said rules and regulations may be changed by the board from time to time to govern and restrict such activities and the use of and access to all or any portion of Reservoir pond; provided, that such rules and regulations are not inconsistent with this act or with the bylaws of the town. A violation of such rules and regulations shall be deemed a violation of such bylaws.

SECTION 4. In addition to the powers and duties the board and the town’s conservation commission and other boards and officials may have pursuant to the general laws or any town bylaw, which powers and duties shall not be modified or diminished by this act, the board may, from time to time, make rules and regulations as to the erection, maintenance and control of all structures at Reservoir pond and the town property and to prevent the entrance or discharge into Reservoir pond of any substance or material which by itself or in combination with any other substance may be injurious to the public health or may tend to create a public nuisance or to fill in, lead to the eutrophication of or otherwise be harmful to Reservoir pond. Such rules and regulations may provide for penalties for violations thereof of not more than $300 for each violation, and may consider each day such violation continues to be a separate offense. 

SECTION 5. Notwithstanding any provision herein to the contrary, the town, acting by and through the board, in its sole discretion, may operate, maintain, repair, replace and remove the dam subject only to chapter 253 of the General Laws and the regulations promulgated thereunder, and to raise and lower the water level of Reservoir pond from time to time. Nothing herein shall impose a duty or obligation on the town to maintain the waters of Reservoir pond or Pequit brook at a particular level or location.

SECTION 6. Nothing herein shall grant to the general public or any other party any rights to Reservoir pond or any waters contributing to Reservoir pond or to the town property. 

SECTION 7. Nothing in this act shall relieve any party from any liabilities or legal responsibilities of any kind with respect to Reservoir pond or the town property, including but not limited to any person who causes or is legally responsible for a release or threat of release of oil or hazardous material to Reservoir pond or the town property as such terms are defined by chapter 21E of the General Laws and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

SECTION 8. Any police officer of the town may patrol any part of the waters of Reservoir pond and may arrest any person violating any law of the commonwealth in or on Reservoir pond or property adjacent to Reservoir pond or violating any restriction, rule, regulation or bylaw established pursuant to this act.

SECTION 9. Insofar as this act may be inconsistent with the provisions of any other general or special law, excluding any state building code, this act shall be controlling. 

SECTION 10. This act, being necessary for the welfare of the town and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purpose hereof. 

SECTION 11. The provisions of this act are severable, and if any of its provisions shall be held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the decision by the court shall not impair any of the other provisions of this act.

SECTION 12. This act shall take effect upon its passage. 

Approved, January 30, 2018