Wellesley has many scenic roads, but only seven are officially designed as such under the state’s law per town approval.
- Benvenue Street
- Brookside Road
- Cartwright Road
- Cheney Drive
- Pond Road
- Squirrel Road
- The Waterway/The Brookway
We’ve created a page on The Swellesley Report to highlight those roads (Wellesley’s 7 official scenic roads). According to the state law, “After a road has been designated as a scenic road any repair, maintenance, reconstruction, or paving work done with respect thereto shall not involve or include the cutting or removal of trees, or the tearing down or destruction of stone walls, or portions thereof, except with the prior written consent of the planning board…”
From time to time, residents of these roads will rise up against what they fear are threats to the scenic-ness of their roads. Friends of Brookside have had their differences with various Wellesley Country Club plans, for instance, and more recently, Pond Road residents spoke out against a couple of large houses that a developer proposed to build closer to the road than is standard there.
In the wake of the proposed Pond Road developments (the Planning Board rejected the 9,000 sq. ft. house proposals under a Large House Review, but the developer could still build a couple of smaller houses there), the Board has started to discuss how it could address scenic road issues (catch a brief mention of this at the 2-hour, 35-minute mark of a recent Planning Board meeting recorded by Wellesley Media).
Planning Director Don McCauley said scenic road issues “may be something that the Board really wants to be taking a lead on rather than reacting to…what I’m sure we might be receiving some citizens’ petitions on.”
He said the focus of the original law in the 1960s, which is still valid, was to protect against “the ever widening of roads that was just wiping out streets, walls and areas of interest to facilitate cars.” The presumption that the whole scenic area is protected, however, isn’t necessary true or within the scope of the law, he said.
Looking at size of lots, setback distances, and other things could be fair game for the Planning Board and town to explore, he said, in thinking about more “scenic protections.”
Conservation easements and historic district restrictions could also play a role, said Catherine Johnson, chair of the Planning Board.
Click arrow at top left of map to see street key by color