Town Roads - Public and Private

At the Annual Town Meeting on May 17, 2017 the Town voted to approve and record the list of Roads and Parks presented by the Planning Board, along with three maps showing labeled town roads, labeled private roads and labeled paper roads. The list and maps were filed with the Hampden County Registry of Deeds and the MA Dept. of Housing and Community Development. Although we have maintained lists of public and private roads over the years, this is the first time that the road list has been comprehensively updated since October 14, 1921.

The Official Road list shows the street name and it's status, whether State owned, or a Town public, private or paper road. The list also tells whether the Town plows the road or not and gives the length in feet. Some roads appear on the list more than once, because a portion of the road is a public road and a portion is a private road or a paper road that was never finished. You will not find Polly Road or Barney Road on the list. Those roads belong to the Town of Holland, and the Town of Wales boundary line is at the edge of the road. 

To see the list of Roads click here.

To see the map of public roads, click here.

To see the map of private roads, click here.

To see the map of paper roads, click here.

To read the steps taken in preparing the list and these maps, click here.

Why does it matter if the road is public, private or paper?

Since the Town Zoning Bylaw requires that conforming lots have 150 feet of frontage on a public Town or State Road, it is important to check the status of any road before purchasing property with a view to building a home. Also Mass General Law Ch 40 Sec 6 prohibits the Town from spending funds for the repair or maintenance of private roads. If you own a home or cottage on a private road you, along with the other property owners, are responsible for the repair and upkeep of the road. The Town did vote to plow private roads, but each road must be accepted for plowing at a Town Meeting, and the road must be maintained by residents so that it is safe to plow. A paper road is a street that was laid out on a plan presented to the Planning Board for approval as a subdivision, but the project was never completed. The road exists only on paper. Some people own lots that were laid out in the subdivision, but there is no public access to the lots and presumably a home could not be built there because they do not conform to the current Zoning Bylaws. This would have to be decided by the courts.