What is a right-of-way?
There is a public right-of-way in front of each of the homes in the Town of Chevy Chase View that is the responsibility of the Town to “Hold in Trust” for the public. In most locations in the Town, the private property line is drawn a considerable distance from the curb; often the public right-of-way measures about 8-10 feet from the paved portion of the street. The exact right-of-way measurement is determined by a site survey that most homeowners receive at the time of purchase/refinance of their home. What does this ‘right-of-way’ mean?
Well, if a utility decides they need to change a lateral sewer line or make other alterations in the right of way, ANY improvements you have made in this area do not need to be restored because this is NOT your property. Have you allowed your shrubs to grow right up to the curb so that someone can’t get out of their parked car on the street?
What homeowner plantings/structures may be placed on the right-of-way?
Section 2-112 of the Town Municipal Code states:
It shall be unlawful to erect or maintain any private improvement in a public right-of-way without approval from the Town; or for a private hedge adjacent to any property line along a street or avenue, or extending thereto, to be trimmed or maintained so as to project nearer than six (6) inches to said line, or to erect a fence or plant or grow a hedge of any kind whatsoever at or near an intersection in such manner as to constitute a traffic hazard.
Town residents are encouraged to avoid placing any structures or plantings in the Town right-of-way. First of all, sight lines and means of egress for pedestrians and motorists must be maintained in order to avoid injury and property damage. Property posing a hazard as outlined above may be removed by the Town with no obligation by the Town for replacement or restitution.
In addition, utility infrastructure is contained both above and below ground in the Town right-of-way. Any obstacles encroaching in the Town right-of-way can be removed by the Town or any utility in order to access this infrastructure. Likewise, there is no remuneration or restoration entitlement for these structures/plantings as they have been placed on public property owned by the Town.
What makes up the Town’s right-of-way?
- Streets and Curbs – With the exception of Cedar Lane, Connecticut Avenue, Kensington Parkway and Saul Road, the streets contained within the boundaries of Chevy Chase View are part of the Town right-of-way and the responsibility of the Town to maintain. During the months of March through September (except during the weekly leaf removal period of October 1-December 31), the streets are swept on the third Wednesday of each month.
- Driveway and Driveway Aprons – Pursuant to Section 13-610 of the Town Municipal Code, the approval of the Council is required for construction involving a residential driveway or driveway apron in the public right-of-way. In approving or denying a permit for construction involving a residential driveway or driveway apron in the public right-of-way, it is the policy of the Town Council to require compliance with Montgomery County standards, as amended, for residential driveways and driveway aprons provided, however, there shall be no minimum driveway or driveway apron width requirements.
- Trees – It is the policy of the Town of Chevy Chase View to plant, maintain, protect and remove/replace right-of-way trees. The Town Council maintains that it is in the Town’s best interest and to the benefit of residents to plant trees in all appropriate planting sites in the right-of-way. From a horticultural standpoint, as well as best use of Town resources, the Council has developed a schedule for the maintenance and planting of replacement trees when the State Forester determines that a declining Town tree must be removed.The Town Council has concluded that replacement trees will be planted once a year – in the Fall. Fall plantings have a higher chance of survival because they do not encounter the stress of transplanting, coupled with the summer heat/watering demands. Progress of newly planted trees will be tracked and will carry a one-year warranty. While most newly planted trees thrive, we have found the Spring plantings have the most ‘survival’ issues. The focus for the Spring will be on corrective juvenile pruning, warranty assurance issues and placement of gator bags on any newly planted trees. The annual Fall planting will also allow the design arborist to evaluate each street for vacancies with a fuller, more comprehensive picture of vacancies over a twelve-month period. Please use the following links to view the Town’s complete master plan.
Master Plan – A Tradition of Trees
Master Tree Plan
According to the U. S. Forest Service, “one common issue facing our urban forests is the fact that trees are dying prematurely. Many are planted improperly, setting them up for failure, many do not receive regular maintenance, and few are adequately protected during construction projects.”
The U. S. Forest Service’s publication, U.S. Forest Service Tree Care Owner’s Manual for the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S., is filled with practical, easy to reference information related to these and other tree care issues that you and other residents may encounter.
- Street Lights – The Town works with Pepco to maintain the street lights (including Connecticut Avenue from Saul Road to Dresden Street). If you notice a street light is not operative, please report the defective light at the Pepco website.
- Sign Policy – It is the policy of the Town of Chevy Chase View to enhance vehicular and pedestrian safety by limiting visual distractions and physical obstructions and by maintaining clear sight lines for users of the public rights-of-way, and to maintain the continued attractiveness of the Town through the reduction of litter and visual clutter, by providing the following standards for signs displayed within the Town. View the Chevy Chase View Sign Policy.