PREAMBLE. By Chapter 463 of the Acts of 1869, the Legislature enfranchised all Native American Indians and declared that they were citizens of the Commonwealth, entitled to all the rights, privileges and duties of other citizens. The Act also affirmed that lands previously set off to any Indian were to become the property of such person and his heirs in fee simple. Thereafter, various acts were adopted for the disposition of common lands at Chappaquiddick, Dudley, Gay Head, Herring Pond and Mashpee. The previously set off lands and the lands divided from the common lands were intended to have the full rights and benefits of property ownership, including the right to reasonable residential use and access.
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, lots created for the Native American Indians at Chappaquiddick, Dudley, Gay Head, Herring Pond or Mashpee, and the lots created from the partition of common lands in those former Indian districts, shall be deemed to have been granted in fee simple absolute with no restraint on alienation. If express easements do not exist for such lots, the superior court shall have jurisdiction to establish forty-foot wide easements to a public way over public lands, including land held by any land bank, for vehicular access and underground utilities to such lots. If public lands are not available to provide an express easement to any such lot, new forty-foot wide easements shall be created to the nearest public way by the superior court, with the court establishing all the necessary parties required for an equitable resolution. Such easements shall be considered ways that were in existence when the subdivision control law became effective in the city or town in which the land lies, providing sufficient frontage, width, suitable grades and adequate construction to support the needs of vehicular traffic in relation to the residential use of the land, for adequate public safety and for the installation of underground utilities to serve such land and the buildings erected or to be erected thereon. The frontage of the easements shall be of such distance as is required by zoning or other ordinance or by-law, to allow for residential dwellings on such lots.
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