General Bylaw Article 3-20

Water Supply Betterment


This Article sets forth the purpose, authority, and applicability of the Hanson Water Department Betterment By-Law hereinafter called "By-Law".


The purpose of the By-Law is to establish a procedure:

  • For creating water supply betterment zones in accordance with the applicable requirements of GLc 40 § § 42G through I and K.
  • For a fair and acceptable method of apportioning part or all of the cost among those who benefit from any proposed water supply construction in said zones.
  • For granting abatements as provided under the applicable sections of GLc 80.


This By-Law has been adopted pursuant to the provisions of GLc 40 §§ 42G, 42H, 421 and 42K.


The provisions of this By-Law shall apply and be binding upon all owners of land that benefit from water supply betterments constructed in water supply betterment zones established in accordance with the provisions of the By-Law, except that, if the Town accepts the provisions of GLc 80 § 13B, owners of land affected by the provisions of this By-Law may apply for a deferral  thereof with the Board of Water Commissioners.

The provisions of the By-Law shall not apply to land owners located in these zones that do not receive benefit from water supply betterments constructed in these zones, nor shall they apply to construction authorized by the Board for the purpose of maintaining or improving the existing public water supply system.


The following terms used in the By-Law shall be defined as set forth herein. Terms not herein listed shall have definitions as contained in the General Laws or the Hanson Zoning By-Law.

Abutter shall mean any person who owns land that fronts on a public/private way along which a water supply pipe has been installed under the provisions of the By-Law.

Benefit shall mean for the purposes of the By-Law, benefit shall accrue to all property which abuts upon the public/private way in which the water pipes are to be laid for the conveyance or distribution of water in any betterment zone established under the provisions of this By-Law and may also include such property as does not abut upon said public/private way but whose owner requests that the property be supplied by remote means.

Frontage shall mean the length of the front line of a property abutting a public/private way.

Water Main shall mean a pipe laid in the public/private way for the purpose of conveying and distributing water to abutters on said public/private way.


In the following, the procedure for establishing a water supply betterment zone is described:

Preparation of the Plan:

  • The Board of Water Commissioners, hereinafter called the "Board," upon its own motion or upon petition by 50% of all the abutters to the road, plus one more abutter owning land fronting on public/private ways, may determine the advisability of constructing water mains in said public/private ways.
  • If the Board determines that the proposed betterment should proceed, the Board shall issue an "Order of Betterment" wherein it is declared that all costs and damages connected with said betterment shall be assessed upon and apportioned among those owners of land that receive benefit from the betterment.
  • The "Order of Betterment" shall also contain a record of the Board's vote to proceed with the proposed betterment. Thereafter the Board shall request an approved Engineer to prepare a plan for the construction of water mains in said public/private ways and a cost estimate of that construction. The plan and cost estimate shall be submitted to the Board within six (6) months from the date of the request or such further time as may be requested by said Engineer and granted by the Board.
  • The plan shall at a minimum contain the following information:
    • That portion of each public/private way in which a water main is to be constructed. The plan shall take into consideration and note existing drainage, berms, driveway aprons, trees, utilities, road edge improvements and other items that must be protected, deconstructed and reconstructed, restored, or otherwise considered in defining the conditions of work for the water main installation project. The project design must meet all best waterworks practices and the most current Hanson Water Department specifications for materials and installation. A preliminary plan shall be submitted to the Water Department for design approval.
    • The location of each such water main within the right-of-way.
    • All lots that front on the ways referred to in (a) together with the names of the owners of record of each of said lots as contained in the most recent tax records.
    • The measured frontage of each lot referred to in (c) and reconciled with the Assessor's records.
    • Any land abutting the public/private way in the betterment zone which is registered with the Land Court.

Public Hearing:

Upon receipt of the plan and cost estimate from the approved Engineer, the Board shall hold a public hearing which shall be advertised in a newspaper of local circulation at least five (5) days prior to the date of said hearing. Additionally, all land owners listed on the plan prepared under the provisions of paragraph a. shall be notified of said hearing by registered mail.

The Board shall determine by majority, which of the four (4) methods of assessment set forth in GLc 40 § 42H or 42K shall be used to apportion the cost of the proposed water betterment.

The record of vote shall be noted in the minutes of the meeting.

Thereafter the Board shall prepare an article for the funding for the proposed water betterment to be appropriated at the Annual or Special Town Meeting.

Where Town-owned land is subject to the special assessment for the proposed water betterment, the amount of said assessment shall be computed and approved by vote of the Board. The Board of Selectmen shall thereupon be notified of the amount of said special assessment that shall not be assessed upon private property owners.

Recordation of Water Betterment Plan:

In the event that a Town Meeting approves funds for the construction of the water betterment, the Board shall within thirty (30) days of the date of the Town Meeting cause the "Order of Betterment", updated as necessary to include current property ownership information, to be recorded at the Registry of Deeds. In the event that registered land is included in the water betterment zone as indicated on the  Order of Betterment, the Order of Betterment, above mentioned documents shall also be filed with the Land Court.


Upon completion of construction, and in any event no later than six (6) months thereafter, the Board shall certify the actual expenditures incurred in the planning and construction inclusive of debt service and legal fees, and determine the actual assessment to be apportioned on every property owner to receive benefits from the betterment in accordance with the assessing methods selected under the applicable provisions of GLc 40 §§ 42G through 42I and 42K. The certificate of expenditures and the schedule of assessments shall be signed by the majority of the Board and submitted to the Board of Assessors. The Board of Assessors shall thereupon committee such assessments to the Tax Collector who shall notify said persons of the amount assessed by the Water Commissioners.


All persons assessed under the provisions of this By-Law shall be given the option of paying the amount assessed over a period of up to twenty (20) years at an annual interest on the unpaid balance that may not be greater than two (2%) percent above the interest rate of the water betterment bond issued by the Town as provided under GLc 80 § 13.


The Board shall adopt rules and regulations for hearing and acting on appeals for abatements of assessments levied under the provisions of this By-Law. Such rules and regulations shall be consistent with the provisions of GLc 80 §§ 5 and 6. Said rules and regulations shall be available upon request at the Town Clerk's office.


The applicable provisions of GLc 80 to the reassessment of land or the division thereof shall apply to all land assessed under the provisions of this By-Law.