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Private Braintree Roads Can Shift to Public Ways With Formalized Approval Process

The Braintree Town Council approved an administrative process that will operate while the town's zoning bylaws wait for official change into ordinances.

Residents and real estate developers in Braintree seeking to change their private roads into public ways – turning maintenance tasks such as re-surfacing and plowing over to the town – can now send their requests through a formalized procedure that has been missing since Braintree changed its form of government five years ago.

After Braintree's charter was approved, officials were tasked with . Many of the former bylaws have been reviewed, updated and re-approved by the as ordinances, but the complex body of local laws dealing with zoning issues has yet to be fully addressed.

The proposed zoning ordinances will be presented to the council by Mayor Joseph Sullivan before the end of the year, Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin said. In the meantime, the council earlier this week approved a process to deal with street acceptance requests.

Councilors previously adopted an administrative procedure for re-zoning applications for similar reasons, Council Clerk Jim Casey said. Over the past few months, he developed a step-by-step process for the street requests – from required submission documents like maps to a review by the Town Engineer and referral to the Town Council for consideration.

The council unanimously approved the procedure on Sept. 4. It did not require review by the Committee on Ordinance & Rules or a same-night action approval because the procedure is administrative and only modifies the existing bylaw in minor ways, Casey said, noting that Town Solicitor Carolyn Murray reviewed the plan.

"You now know what the beginning and what the end is [for street acceptance]," Casey said.

Since the change in government, only one private way – the end of Wood Road – has been shifted to a public street, by way of a similar procedure that was not formalized at the time, Casey said. Currently, proposals for Stone Crest Drive and Priscilla Avenue are before the council.

Requests may be rejected for any number of reasons, including poor condition of the roadway and sewage or other work that needs to be completed. Prior to the new charter, Town Meeting used to take up a handful of the proposals annually, Casey said.

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