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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO PRIVATE ROAD MAINTENANCE.

     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.  For the purposes of this act, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:-
     “Common usage”, a road or any portion thereof that has been commonly used by the general public for a period of at least 20 consecutive years for travel directly from 1 public road or area to another public road or area.
     “Improvement”, construction, alteration or reconstruction of 1 or more permanent fixtures upon, over or under the layout of a private way of the type which the town may undertake with respect to town ways.
     “Maintenance”, incidental repairs upon, over or under the layout of a private way of the type which the town may undertake with respect to town ways.
     SECTION 2.  Notwithstanding section 6N of chapter 40 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the town of Barnstable may, from time to time, to ensure the safety of the general public, enter onto and make expenditures to undertake maintenance and improvements within the layout, or any portion thereof, of 1 or more private ways within the town following: (i) a declaration of common usage of the private way by the general public, by vote of the town council; and (ii) an appropriation, with or without a transfer, in accordance with the charter of the town of Barnstable. Town management shall determine the extent of any maintenance and improvements. No declaration, appropriation, expenditure, maintenance or improvement pursuant to this act shall constitute the taking, layout, acceptance or establishment of the private way as a town way or constitute repairs under section 25 of chapter 84 of the General Laws; provided, however, that those rights are necessary for the safety of the public using the way and are necessary to ensure the investment of public funds in the private way shall be obtained by grant or other acquisition by the town on behalf of the public.
     SECTION 3.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, October 3, 2014.