P.O. Box 324
Truro MA, 02666

Planning Board | New “Street Definition” Article for ATM 2023

The Planning Board is considering a new definition of “Street” in part due to TPRTA’s calls to revise it, beginning in 2014.  To its credit, the PB has tried several times to craft a definition that will render more than 225 non-conforming ways in Truro  into conforming ways eligible for building and other permits.  Each time these have failed  for various reasons.  We applaud the PB’s current effort.

TPRTA will again monitor the drafting process and participate in a constructive way.

Our goal is to have a definition of  street, road and ways that:

  • accounts for any existing path that is in a recorded instrument –  deed, plan, stamped survey, subdivision plan, prior Town decision, court decision or any other official decision that establishes its existence.
  •  eliminates the requirement for a 40 foot width and instead relies on the Truro General bylaw requiring the “14- foot box.”  (see Section 1-9-13 (1-5) in Truro General Bylaws).
  • relies on qualitative conditions for meeting permitting standards
  • allows property owners the right to remedy insufficient road conditions as part of the permitting process
  • allows property owners the right to question adverse decisions of the Fire, Police or DPW Director on “safe and adequate” ways during the permitting process
  • recognizes the conditions stipulated in association covenants (if they exist) as superseding

Since 2014, TPRTA has called for a new definition of “street”  that will eliminate the onerous burden of requiring a 40-foot-wide right of way as a basis for conforming frontage.  Without confirming frontage –  that is,  owning a lot with frontage on a conforming way – one cannot be assured to get a building permit for renovations, septic upgrades and more.  All such permitting requests must be referred to the ZBA, a process that is time-consuming, expensive – and annoying to the ZBA  and to property owners.  And land owners not on conforming ways face other risk if lots are not yet developed.

We will continue to advocate for these conditions to be incorporated in the new street definition in development.