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Welcome to the Town of Lexington, MA, FAQ
Today is Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

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Boards and Committees

What are the requirements for membership on a board or committee?
The Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Housing Authority, and Planning Board are elected. For appointed committees, general requirements are identified on the Committees page. Each committee's charge identifies any specific requirements for membersip.

Where can I find the membership list for a committee?
There is a link to the membership list on each individual committee's web page. The Town Clerk maintains the official database of board and committee members.

How do I apply to become a member of a board or committee?
Refer to the list of committees and fill out an application form. You may submit the application to the Town Manager's Office or the Seletmen's Office

Are committees required to post their meetings publicly?
Yes. State law requires that boards and committees notify the Town Clerk of the date, time and location of each meeting, as well as the anticipated agenda, at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting. These notices are posted on a bulletin board in the Town Office Building, listed in the public meetings calendar on the Town's website, published in the newspaper if time permits, and viewable 24 hours per day at the Lexington Police Station. The Board and Committee Handbook provides important information about standards and operating procedures for volunteer committees.

How many official boards and committees are there in the Town of Lexington?
The Town has more than 60 boards and committees (this does not include any committees created by the School Committee or Superintendent.)

Will Comcast, Verizon and RCN provide reimbursement for service outages as a result of the October 2011 storm?
During the October 2011 storm and the subsequent outages there were many questions regarding reimbursement for service outages from Comcast, Verizon and RCN. The Lexington Communications Advisory Committee advises residents who believe they are eligible, to contact the applicable Customer Service Organization. In general they have been very cooperative.

Are minutes of boards and committees available online?
Yes, board and committee minutes are available online once they have been approved and filed with the Town Clerk. Go to the archives and search for the committee you are interested in.

Building and Zoning

When is a building permit required?
The Massachusetts State Building Code states that "it shall be unlawful to construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, remove or demolish a structure; or to change the use or occupancy of a building or structure; or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by this code" without first obtaining a building permit. This includes, but is not limited to, new structures, additions, dormers, chimneys, woodstoves, decks, roofing, siding, swimming pools, antennae, and sheds. The only exception is an ordinary repair. An ordinary repair does not require a building permit. Paving projects do not require a building permit but will require a permit from the Engineering Department if work is being done within the public right-of-way. There are also zoning restrictions on the amount and location of paving, so check first with the Office of Community Development.

What is an ordinary repair?
The State Building Code defines ordinary repairs as "any maintenance which does not affect structure, egress, fire protection systems, fire ratings, energy conservation provisions, plumbing, sanitary, gas, electrical, or other utilities. This has been interpreted to mean that rotted floor boards can be replaced on a deck, but the deck cannot be rebuilt without a permit. Also, damaged roof shingles can be repaired, but the entire roof cannot be re-shingled without a permit. If in doubt as to how much work can be done under ordinary repairs, contact the Building Division before the start of work.

What is the penalty for working without a building permit?
At the minimum, you will be required to obtain a permit and pay a triple fee. The State Building Code allows for a fine of up to $1,000.00 per day. If work requiring inspections is covered, it will be required to be uncovered for inspection, and if any work is in violation of the building code or zoning by-law, it will be required to be corrected. Failure to obtain a building permit may jeopardize your homeowner's insurance.

How do I apply for a building permit?
Applications can be obtained at the Building Division in the Office of Community Development. Building permit applications are available onTown's website. Information about required documentation and building permit fees is on the Town's website.

Can I begin work once I submit my application?
No. Work cannot proceed until the permit has been issued.

How long does it take to obtain a permit?
The Office of Community Development has a maximum of 30 days in which to issue or deny a building permit. The actual time can vary from 1 day up to the maximum 30 day limit, depending on the number of applications ahead of yours, and the scope of work. Generally, the smaller jobs will take a shorter time, with new buildings taking close to the full 30 days, so allow for this in your scheduling.

Are construction plans required, and do they need to be prepared by an architect?
In most cases, construction plans are required. However, for minor work such as roofing or siding, the requirement for plans will be waived. When plans are required, one copy of the approved plans must be kept on the job site at all times for the inspector to view, one will be kept for our files, and the remaining copies will be returned with an approved stamp placed on them. If the work involves unique methods or materials (i.e. manufactured lumber), the Office of Community Development will require that the plans be stamped by a Registered Architect or Engineer.

Can the building permit be mailed to me?
No, it must be picked up at the Office of Community Development. The applicant will be called when the permit is ready. If we are unable to reach you by telephone you will be notified by mail.

What is the fee for a building permit and how is it calculated?
The fee schedule is kept in the Community Development Office. Your permit fee covers the cost of plan review and inspections to determine code compliance. In general, it is based on the valuation of the work, which you provide in the applicable space on the permit application.

How is the building permit fee determined if I don't know the valuation of the proposed construction?
Then we will calculate it for you, using valuation tables published by BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators). Also, many cost estimating publications are available at the library or at bookstores to assist you. If the figure you put on the application is too low, we will adjust it.

If I do my own work and use donated materials, won't the permit fee change?
No. The fee is based on valuation, not how much the job cost you.

When do I pay the building permit fee?
The fee is paid at the time of application for the building permit.

If my building permit is denied or if I decide not to proceed with my project, can I get my fee back?
Maybe. The Board of Selectmen has set a policy for when and how permit fees may be non-refundable. You should refer to this policy for further details.

Why should I obtain a building permit?
A building permit ensures that work is done correctly and safely. The permit fee is cheap assurance against faulty construction. Also, there are legal and financial liabilities that you face when you don't get a permit. Work done without a permit is illegal and can pose serious complications for you when you try to sell or refinance your house. Any fire and homeowner's insurance you have may be invalidated if you do work without a permit.

Can I do the construction myself, and do I have to be licensed?
The State Building Code states that no structural work shall be done without a construction supervisor's license. A homeowner can do work on his/her own home without a license provided that if the homeowner engages a person for hire to do such work then the homeowner shall act as supervisor. For the purpose of determining when a license is required, a homeowner is defined as a "person(s) who owns a parcel of land on which he/she resides or intends to reside, on which there is, or is intended to be, a dwelling of six or less units, attached or detached structures accessory to such use and/or farm structures. A person who constructs more than one home in a two-year period shall not be considered a homeowner."

Can I do my own electrical and plumbing/gas work?
A homeowner may do his or her own electrical work; however an electrical permit and inspections are required. State law requires any person doing plumbing or gas work to be licensed. Therefore a homeowner cannot do his or her own plumbing/gas work.

If I don't know any good contractors, can the Office of Community Development recommend someone?
No. Due to obvious conflicts of interest, we cannot get involved in the hiring or recommendation of contractors, or in any contract disputes. One way to find a good contractor is to ask someone who has recently had similar work done on his or her home for a recommendation. The Office of Community Development has a list of all permits issued. This list is on the counter at the Office of Community Development and can be reviewed to locate some addresses which appear to have had similar work done. The owner and contractor are also listed. We suggest that you review this list and if you find a project similar to yours, contact the owner to see if they were happy with the work. Most homeowners are happy to talk about their construction projects. If you find a contractor who you are considering hiring, we can give you a computer generated list of all projects in town that the contractor has worked on. Again, you can then contact the owner to see if they were happy with the work. Keep in mind that it is important to check references, but don't rely on references given to you by the contractor.

I understand that if I obtain the building permit, I do not need to be licensed, but if I hire a contractor, does my contractor need a license?
If you are hiring a contractor, they will generally have to hold a Home Improvement Contractor's License and, if doing structural work, will be required to hold a Construction Supervisor's License. If they obtain a building permit, we will make certain that they have the proper licenses before issuing the permit. Be wary of a contractor who tries to convince you to obtain the permit as a way around his/her need for a license. These licenses are to protect you. If you would like to verify that your contractor has the required licenses, follow the link for information about the State's Home Improvement Program on the website.

How much detail is needed on the construction plans?
A full set of construction plans must be submitted. It must be clear from the plans what work is being done and how it is being done. Plans should be to scale and legible. A title block giving the address of the project must be provided on the lower right-hand corner of all sheets. All areas addressed in the building code must be addressed on the plans. In general, plans for new construction should include floor plans, foundation plan, framing plans, sections and elevations. Simply adding a note to the plans that says "all work to comply with codes" is not sufficient. All applicable items should be addressed on the plans. Remember, the more complete that the plans are, the less likely that problems will arise after construction. Several good books are available at the library or at bookstores on architectural drafting.

Can I change my plans after the building permit has been approved?
Yes. Revised plans must be submitted prior to constructing the change. Also, an application for revised plans must be submitted and additional fees, if any, paid. If the new work is a lower valuation than the original work, no refunds are given.

Is a plot plan required with a building permit application?
If the work involves a new structure or an addition to an existing structure (including a vertical addition), copies of a plot plan must be submitted with the building permit application.

I have a mortgage plan that was given to me by the bank when I purchased my home. Can this be used to apply for a building permit?
The purpose of a plot plan is for determination of compliance with dimensional controls of the Zoning By-Law. A mortgage plan is only a rough approximation of where the house is located, and was prepared only for mortgage purposes. Due to the inaccuracy of these plans, they can only be used if the project is far in excess of the required setbacks (generally, at least 5 feet in excess of the required setback). If the plan shows that your project will be close to the required setbacks, a more accurate plan will be required.

Can I prepare my own plot plan, if I am certain where my property line is?
No. Plot plans can only be prepared by a Registered Land Surveyor, and must bear his/her stamp.

Do I still need to submit a plot plan if I have over 100 feet to my property line and it is obvious that I will not be anywhere near the required setbacks?
A stamped plot plan is still required. There may be easements, wetlands or other restrictions that the homeowner is not aware of and will only be shown on a stamped plot plan.

What information is required on a plot plan?
The surveyor generally knows the procedure for preparing a plot plan and the information required. Setbacks to all structures must be shown. If any structure is to be demolished, its location must be shown. Also, any easements must be indicated on the plan. Any new driveway must have the setback from the property line and its slope shown on the plan. Trees with a diameter of 6” or more must be shown, and grades (before and after construction), must be shown. Some of these requirements may be waived if the work is of a minor nature.

If I have a plot plan, can I draw my addition on it?
No. You must submit the unaltered plot plan along with a separate plan drawn to scale showing the location of the proposed addition. This can generally be done by the homeowner or architect. However, if there is doubt as to the location and conformance with setback requirements, a certified plot plan showing the proposed structure will be required.

If I don't have a plot plan, where can I get one?
Mortgage plans can sometimes be obtained from the bank. Also, the Office of Community Development has plans on file for many properties in town. If available, these may be acceptable. Otherwise, you must contact a Registered Land Surveyor to prepare a plan for you.

How much is a plot plan?
There are too many variables to give an accurate estimate for the cost of a plot plan. You can probably expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars for simple jobs to a few thousand dollars for more complex jobs. This amount should be considered when you are estimating the cost of your project. Surveyors are listed in the yellow pages. It is suggested that you contact a surveyor who is familiar with the area. The Town cannot recommend surveyors. Shop around, since prices vary greatly.

How does the Office of Community Development know if the structure was placed in the location proposed?
For all new houses and for additions which are close to the required setbacks a certified "as-built" plot plan must be submitted to the Office of Community Development after completion of the foundation. Framing can not proceed until the plot plan has been submitted.

Once I obtain my building permit, how long do I have to start the work?
The State Building Code states that "any permit issued shall be deemed abandoned and invalid unless the work authorized by it shall have been commenced within 6 months after its issuance; however, for cause, one or more extensions of time, for periods not exceeding 6 months each, may be granted in writing by the Building Commissioner or Inspector of Buildings." A request for an extension must be made in writing. Extensions are normally granted without any trouble. However, if there have been changes to the Zoning By-Law or building code subsequent to the original issuance of the permit, any grandfather status may be lost if work has not begun (i.e., you will have to comply to the new requirements).

When I start construction, is the work inspected?
Yes. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to call the Office of Community Development to arrange for the required inspections. Required inspections are indicated on the inspection record card, which you receive when your permit is approved. The card must be posted in a location visible from the street and accessible to the inspector. Generally, the best location is inside a front storm door.

How long do I have to complete the work?
The State Building Code states "Work under (a permit) in the opinion of the Building Commissioner or Inspector of Buildings must proceed in good faith continuously to completion so far as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances."

What do I need to provide to the inspector when s/he visits the site?
The inspection report card must be posted in a location visible from the street and accessible to the inspector. Generally, the best location is inside a front storm door. If you submitted plans along with your permit application, a copy of these plans, bearing an "approved" stamp was returned to you with the approved building card. This copy must be available for the inspector to review for determination that the work is in compliance with the approved plans.

Who calls for an inspection, and how much notice does the inspector need when I am ready for an inspection?
The State Building Code states that the contractor must give the inspector 24 hours notice prior to the time when the inspection needs to be performed. It further states, " the Building Inspector shall make the inspection within 48 hours after such notification". Calls for plumbing and electrical inspections must be made by the licensed plumber or electrician. The amount of notice required is stated in their respective codes.

What does the inspector look for during the inspection?
We are trying to determine compliance with the approved plans and with the applicable codes.

Does the inspector carry identification?
Yes. All inspectors have business cards and photo identifications. Also, they normally arrive in an official vehicle. If in doubt as to the inspector's identity, please request identification.

I'm having an addition built. When can I begin using it?
The State Building Code states, "a building or structure shall not be used or occupied in whole or in part until the Certificate of Use/Occupancy shall have been issued by the Building Commissioner or Inspector of Buildings.... The certificate shall not be issued until all the work has been completed in accordance with the provisions of the approved permits and of the applicable codes for which a permit is required...". In most cases, you may not occupy the structure before all the work is done. However, at your request we may issue a temporary Certificate of Occupancy if the work is near completion and the structure can be occupied safely. This Certificate will have an expiration date and list the work required to be completed prior to issuance of the permanent Certificate.

Does someone have to be home during the inspection? Will the inspector ever come to my house without a call from my contractor or me?
If access to the new work requires the inspector to walk through your existing, furnished house, someone must be present to let the inspector in. The inspector will not enter an unoccupied furnished house. We also will not enter a house in which only a child is home, unaccompanied by an adult. In these cases, please make arrangements with the inspector for a time to meet. We will try to accommodate your schedule as much as possible. However, the large number of inspections, and the unpredictability of the length of time each inspection may take, makes precise appointments difficult. Generally, an inspector will not come to your house without a call from the homeowner or contractor. However, the issuance of a permit gives the inspector the authority to enter the premises at any reasonable hour for the purpose of determining compliance with the approved permit. Denial of permission to enter the premises could result in revocation of the permit.

When is a Certificate of Use/Occupancy required? If I don't get a Certificate, how do I know the work was completed satisfactorily?
A Certificate of Occupancy is generally issued only for new construction (new houses, additions, decks, etc.) or for changes in use of an existing area (finishing an attic, etc.). Certificates are also issued for wood stoves. Certificates are not required or issued for roofing, siding, etc. If a Certificate is not required, rhe inspector will sign your inspection record card. Also, if for any reason you want a Certificate, simply request one and it will be provided.

What if my project makes it impossible to comply with a provision of the building code?
The Office of Community Development does not have the authority to waive a requirement of the building code. If code compliance is not possible due to a unique situation, a variance must be obtained from the State Board of Building Regulations and Standards.

How do I obtain a variance?
Applications are available in the Office of Community Development or at the State Department of Public Safety. It is a lengthy procedure, so allow ample time in your project scheduling.

What if something is not covered in the building code, or if I don't agree with a decision of the inspector??
In the unlikely situation that something is not covered in the building code, the building inspector has the authority to approve or disapprove the proposed method of construction. If there is a disagreement with the inspector that cannot be resolved, an appeal can be filed with the State Board of Building Regulations and Standards, using the same application used for a variance.

Do I need a permit for a storage shed?
Storage sheds that exceed 120 square feet require building permits. The same setback requirements in effect for houses apply to sheds.

Does my storage shed need to be placed on a foundation?
A shed of up to 120 sq. ft. is small enough so as to not require a foundation. However, it must still be anchored to the ground. Kits are available for this purpose. This is to prevent overturning due to wind, and is especially important for aluminum sheds. Sheds less than 400 square feet except when those with utilities connected to them (plumbing, gas, electric, sewer, etc. as in the case of a swimming pool filter house) are not required to have be on a footing extending below frost.

Do I need a permit for a swimming pool?
Yes. The State Building Code defines a swimming pool as any pool with an area greater than 250 sq. ft. and a depth greater than 2 ft. If your pool does not meet both of these criteria, then it is not considered a swimming pool and does not need a building permit.

Are there setback requirements, and is a fence required?
Yes. A swimming pool must be set back a minimum of 20 feet to the water line from the side and rear lines, and 30 feet from the front property line. A fence at least 4 feet high (for a residential pool), with a self-closing and self-latching gate must be installed before the pool is filled with water. If the wall of the house serves as part of the enclosure, any doors leading from the house to the pool must be alarmed. Please refer to 780CMR the Massachusetts State Building Code for all requirements.

Are there special requirements for woodstoves? What are the installation requirements?
All woodstoves must have a separate building permit, even if they are being installed as part of an addition or new home which already has a permit. We issue separate certificates since most insurance companies like to know that these have been inspected. When you apply for the permit, you should submit a copy of the manufacturer's installation instructions. These must show required clearances to combustible materials. Installation must be in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Also, the woodstove must be labeled either by U.L. or other accredited laboratory.

What are the guidelines for displaying campaign lawn signs?
Election campaign lawn signs must be: - placed 10 feet away from the edge of the road - 4 square feet or smaller in size, and 4 ft or less in height. No more than two signs are allowed per residence. Signs must be removed within 7 days after the election.

CodeRED Emergency Communications

What is CodeREDŽ and why is it important to me?
CodeREDŽ is a service provided by the Town of Lexington by which residents and businesses are notified by telephone, text, or e-mail regarding emergencies or important community notifications. The system is capable of sending messages to the entire community or to specific geographical areas that might be affected by an emergency or other important event.

Will I constantly receive phone calls from the CodeREDŽ system?
No. The Town of Lexington respects your privacy. CodeREDŽ will be used for emergency situations and important community notifications only. Residents have the opportunity to opt out of community notifications (non-emergency events).

Why do I need CodeREDŽ when I have radio and television to keep me informed?
CodeREDŽ is an additional measure of safety the Town of Lexington believes all Lexington residents and businesses deserve. If electric power were to be interrupted, you may not be able to rely on radio and television to keep you informed. Emergencies also develop quickly and the news media may not have the information to broadcast. CodeREDŽ allows the Town of Lexington to contact you directly.

How will I receive emergency notifications if the power goes out?
We strongly encourage ALL residents to maintain in their home one hard-wired phone. In power outages and other major emergencies, cell phone systems have a higher likelihood of failure. Although many families feel the ‘old phone’ is an unnecessary expense, these phones often work when all else is lost.

CodeREDŽ allows you to enter many phone numbers and e-mail addresses to broaden the opportunities to be notified. Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed and the severity of the emergency will impact any emergency notification system.

Do I have to pay a fee for the CodeRedŽ emergency communications service?
There is no additional fee for residents. The Town of Lexington’s emergency management fund pays for this service.

How do I sign up for CodeRedŽ?
All published numbers should already be included within the CodeRedŽ database. Unpublished and unlisted numbers are added to the database through our interface with the Enhanced 911 system.

One of the best CodeREDŽ features allows residents and/or businesses in Lexington to add numbers. Simply turn to the Town of Lexington’s homepage and click on the CodeREDŽ logo at the top of the page. Don’t worry about adding duplicate numbers; the database is “cleaned” so that phone numbers are only called once. If you use this feature, you can make sure that your numbers will be called.

Can I arrange to have CodeREDŽ call my place of business?
Yes. You can add as many numbers as you want simply by clicking on the CodeREDŽ logo on the Town's website and entering new information. Use your Lexington address when adding the telephone number for your business or workplace. Please provide a direct dial number as automated attendants may delay your receipt of a message. Parents who work out of Town may want to receive emergency messages, particularly as they may affect local schools.

Can I choose not to receive CodeREDŽ messages?
You may opt out of receiving non-emergency public service messages. At this time, the website does not allow opting out of emergency messages.

FCC regulations prohibit sending non-emergency messages to unpublished and unlisted numbers. If you have an unpublished number and want non-emergency public service messages, please add your phone number to the database and opt-in for these notifications. An example of a non-emergency notification might include notice that trash pick-up is delayed by one day.

Individuals who do not want to receive any calls, for any reason, may contact the Police Department to sign a waiver and have their phone number removed from the call list.

How can I be sure that my personal information and contact information in the CodeREDŽ system are kept private?
The CodeREDŽ website is secure. All data entered into the database is used exclusively by the Town of Lexington. The information will not be shared. All data entered onto the website will be inspected once by a Lexington public safety official to ensure that the information is Lexington based. As a general rule, any phone number attached to a non-Lexington address or an invalid Lexington address will not be accepted. When the information is approved, it is then sent to the database.

The security of this information is critical to the success of an emergency notification system. There is no feature within the system that allows a list of phone numbers to be printed. The use of all data in this system is controlled by federal regulations and by contract with the vendor.

Who provides the CodeREDŽ service? Is the company reputable?
Emergency Communications Network of Ormond Beach Florida provides the service to the Town of Lexington. They have been in business since 1996; the company provides CodeREDŽ service to hundreds of municipal governments across the country. The Town of Lexington selected CodeREDŽ after researching and reviewing similar products and services.

What if I move and need to stop receiving CodeREDŽ notices?
Please notify the Police Department of any phone number, text or e-mail that may need to be deleted from the CodeREDŽ system. You will be asked to positively identify yourself and give written approval. This information will then be added to an opt out feature.

What if someone uses my address, and does not live with me?
This may happen, but will have no effect on how you receive emergency messages. CodeREDŽ is a phone number based system – if your phone number (text or e-mail) is included in the system, you will be called.

The address is important because it allows emergency phone calls to target specific neighborhoods. For example, with a major storm, all phones regardless of their address will be called. However, if a water break requires one neighborhood to take water safety precautions, only those addresses affected can be called.

Should I password protect my CodeREDŽ phone information?
This option is available but is not necessary. If you use a password, this allows you to change or delete information that you entered. Only two phone numbers can be attached to one password. If you have more than two phone numbers, you will need to provide a password for each set of two.

Who can help me to enter additional contact information into CodeREDŽ?
The instructions are fairly simple but not everyone has had experience with computers. We encourage residents to help friends, family and neighbors get connected. Lexington Cary Memorial Library has computers with access to the internet and the Lexington Senior Center can assist their patrons. From time to time, the Police Department will appear at local events to promote CodeREDŽ and help residents get connected.


What is a wetland?
Legally, the term wetland includes not only what we typically think of as wetlands, such as streams, ponds, and cattail marshes, but also areas such as wet meadows, red maple swamps, and intermittent streams that may be dry for a significant portion of the year. The technical definitions may be found in the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and its accompanying regulations, and for the most part are based on the occurrence of surface water and/or the abundance of specific wetland plants.

What activities are regulated in wetlands and floodplains?
Under the law, no one may "remove, fill, dredge, or alter" any wetland, any floodplain, or any land within 100 feet of a wetland without a permit from the Lexington Conservation Commission. The term "alter" is defined to include any destruction of vegetation, any change in drainage characteristics or flow patterns, or any change in the water table. Examples of activities requiring a permit include construction of a house, garage, or shed, filling to enlarge a backyard, installation of drainage ditches, and disposal of landscaping debris and other materials.

What is a floodplain?
A floodplain is an area that experiences surface flooding during storms. Two types of floodplain areas are protected under the state act. The more common areas are those bordering streams or ponds that flood during the 100-year statistical storm, which is the worst storm that can be expected to occur, on average, once every 100 years. The less common areas are isolated depressions that flood at least once a year to an average depth of 6" and to a volume of one-quarter acre-foot (10,890 cubic feet).

Why are wetlands and floodplains so important?
Wetlands are afforded legal protection because they pay an important role in overall environmental quality through: protecting the groundwater and the private and pubic water supply; controlling pollution by acting as a filter for removing sediments, nutrients and other pollutants from runoff; reducing storm and flood damage by providing areas to retain and store water; and as habitat for fish and wildlife. Over half of this country's original wetland acreage has been lost to agricultural and urban development. The cost of this loss in degraded water quality, increased storm damage, and depleted fish and wildlife populations have been well documented. Floodplains are protected because they provide "storage" for floodwaters during storms. Any alteration to the land that reduces this storage capacity will displace floodwaters and cause greater flooding elsewhere. Unfortunately, there are too many examples of damage to property and even loss of life through the cumulative effect to incremental filing of floodplains over the years.

How can I find out if my property lies in or near a wetland or floodplain?
Some wetlands, of course, are easily recognizable: streams, ponds, and cattail marshes, for instance. Distinguishing other wetland areas may be more difficult and can require the services of a trained botanist. The Conservation Administrator in the Office of Community Development may be able to assist you in identifying areas of wetlands on your property. There are a number of engineering firms and wetlands consultants that can provide this service for a fee. If you wish to develop your land, the wetlands on or near your property must be mapped. The floodplain map for Lexington issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency shows the floodplain associated with major streams in town.Follow these instructions for viewing the map online. Unfortunately, the map is far from complete, and many floodplain areas are not indicated. If your property lies near a stream or in a low-lying area, there is a chance that part of it is flood-prone. Previous applications to the Conservation Commission may assist you in determining the 100-year flood level on our property, but in some cases a professional engineer must calculate this elevation.

What must I do if I want to conduct a regulated activity in or near a wetland or floodplain?
The first thing you may want to do is contact the Conservation Administrator in the Office of Community Development. The Administrator and staff can explain the law more completely to you and its effect on the particular project you have in mind. Regulations issued under both the state act and Lexington's Wetlands By-Law should be consulted, as they contain specific standards that you should incorporate into your project design. If your project does not meet these standards, your application will be denied. The next step is to submit a formal application, known as a Notice of Intent, to the Conservation Commission. Although the Commission operates under two laws (the state Wetlands Protection Act and the local By-Law for Wetlands Protection), one form serves as your application for both and al proceedings are held simultaneously. The Commission will set a time within 21 days for a public hearing on your project and will advertise the hearing in the Minuteman at your expense. Once the public hearing is closed, the Commission must issue its decision, known as an Order of Conditions, within 21 days. For small projects located only in the 100-foot wetlands buffer, there is a simper, alternative application process. A landowner or other interested party may submit a form known as a Request for Determination of Applicabilityy to the Commission. The Commission is bound to hold a publicly advertised meeting within 21 days to discuss the matter and issue a decision. The applicant is given permission to proceed as soon as the ten-day appeal period lapses for projects with no wetland impact.

What if I don't agree with the Order of Conditions?
If you or other interested parties are unhappy with the Order of Conditions, the Order may be appealed. Since the order is issued under both state law and local by-law, the appeal involves two routes. Under the state act, appeal is first to the regional office of the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Woburn, which will consider the appeal and issue what is known as a Superseding Order. Further appeal of this Order is possible, first to the Boston office of DEP, and then to Superior Court. Under the by-law, appeal of the Commission's Order is directly to Superior Court.

What are the penalties for violating these laws?
Violation of the town's By-Law for Wetlands Protection carries a maximum penalty of $300 for each violation or each day of continuing violation. Under the state act, violations are punishable by a maximum fine of $1000 and six months imprisonment per day of continuing violation. In addition, a landowner is usually required to restore any illegally altered land to its original condition.

How can I get more information?
Contact the Conservation Administrator in the Office of Community Development, or an attorney, or a consulting engineer. If you wish to read the law, the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act may be found in Cary Library (Mass. General Law Chapter 131, Section 40) or online; the regulations promulgated pursuant to it are available from the State House Bookstore (310 CMR 10.00) or online.The local code and its accompanying regulations may be obtained from the Office of Community Development, at Cary Library, or online: code, regulations.

DPW- Engineering

Can the Town determine my Lot Lines?
The Town Engineering Department can determine the right of way (the property line along your frontage). The Town cannot determine the line between adjacent properties. A registered land surveyor must be hired to determine Lot Lines on private property. Registered land surveyors can be found in the yellow pages.

Do you have maps of the Town in GIS format?
Yes, the following maps are available on line:
Assessors Map
Sewer System Map of Lexington
Flood Map of Lexington
2009 Lexington Street Map

How do I get a traffic sign on my street?
Traffic concerns that require immediate attention should be called into the police dispatch center at (781) 862-1212 and an officer will be dispatched as needed.
To request a traffic sign or other traffic modification please complete a Traffic Safety Request Form * and submit it via Email or U.S. Mail to the Traffic Safety Committee (TSAC) care of officer Lieutenant Michael O'Connell.
U.S. Mail: Traffic Safety, Attn: Lt. Michael O'Connell, Lexington Police Department, 1575 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420.

How can I get my utility wires placed underground?
You must contact each of your utility companies and make a request for under grounding. Those companies will work with the Town to obtain the required Grants of Location and Permits for the work within the Town Right-of-Way, and will advise you on the work on your private property.

How do I connect my home to Town Sewer?
Contact the Engineering Division located at the Samuel Hadley Public Services Building, 201 Bedford Street, Room 202 or call 781-274-8300 x.8305. They maintain a list of Licensed and Bonded Contractors for Sewer, Water and Drain connections, as well as for Driveway Construction/Re-construction.

Do I own the tree in front of my home, or is it owned by the Town? It is dead and is a danger.
Contact the Park and Forestry Division at the Samuel Hadley Public Services Building, 201 Bedford Street, Room 105, or call 781-274-8300. The Superintendent will work with the Engineering Division to determine ownership. If The Town of Lexington owns it, action will be taken to make it safe. If you own it, making it safe will be your responsibility.

Water from the street is draining on to my property during heavy rains.
Contact the Highway Division at the Samuel Hadley Public Services Building, 201 Bedford Street, Room 105, or call 781-274-8300. A division member will meet with you to determine an appropriate course of action.

Where can I get a Plot Plan of my property?
The town does not maintain plot plans. An old plot plan may be on file in the Building Department if a Building Permit has been issued within the last ten years. These plot plans are historic and may not be current. If you want a plot plan of your property you must hire a private Engineer/Surveyor to prepare the Plot Plan for you.

My car was damaged in a pothole. How do I get reimbursed for the damage?
The Town has adopted the Commonwealth of Massachusetts policy for vehicle damage. Like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the town does not reimburse for pothole damage. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 81 § 18, the Road Defect Statute, allows reimbursement only for personal injury due to a defect in a road. To read more about this law go to M.G.L. 81 § 18 or M.G.L. 84 § 18.

My electricity goes off all the time. What can the Town do for me?
The electric company, NSTAR, is a privately owned public utility. The Town has no jurisdiction relative to the supply of electricity. You must contact NSTAR directly at 1-800-592-2000.

DPW- Environmental Services

Why is my trash or recycling not picked up?
Resident must have trash or recycling out by 7AM. The truck does not double back for late putouts (even if the truck usually comes later).

Was a trash or recycling noncompliance sticker placed on rejected materials? (Recyclable materials in trash, cardboard boxes, large cardboard pieces, books, construction materials, etc.)
Resident should call trash contractor, JRM Hauling & Recycling: 1-800-323-4285. If you are still unsatisfied after contacting the trash contractor, you may then contact Robert Beaudoin 781-274-8334.

Appliance Pick-Up (refrigerator, stove, air conditioner, dehumidifier, water heater, etc)
Resident must call JRM Hauling & Recycling at 1 (800) 323-4285 to schedule curbside collection of appliances and large metal items such as a metal desk, file cabinet, bike, etc.

Household Hazardous Waste Collections
Refer to annual recycling flyer (updated seasonally) and to schedule (8 drop-off collections each year) on the web site. Drop off at Minuteman Regional HHP site at 60 Hartwell Avenue, on left, directly after the bike path.

What if I am moving and can not wait for the next drop-off collection date? What are my options?
For a fee, Clean Harbors Inc., will dispose of your hazardous materials at there Braintree Plant, 1Hill Ave, Braintree, MA (Drop-off Only).

How to get rid of a television or computer?
Resident must call JRM Hauling & Recycling at 1 (800) 323-4285 to schedule curbside collection of TVs, computer monitors and other miscellaneous electronic devices, see recycle flyer for list of acceptable items.

Where do I get a new recycling bin?
New and replacement recycle bins are available at the Samuel Hadley Public Services Building, 201 Bedford Street, Room 105, or call 781-274-8300. Resident should bring ID. Each resident is given 2 bins. Additional bins are $6 per bin. Moving: 2 original bins returned to Revenues Desk. If not, resident will be billed at rate or $6 per bin. Bring damaged bins to obtain replacement.

What do you do with Styrofoam packing?
Break up and throw away in your trash. It is not recyclable.

What are the hours for the Town Compost Facility at 60 Hartwell Avenue?
For current hours see the Compost Facility page.

What is the cost of an annual sticker for the Compost Facility (contractors only)?
Depends on size of vehicle. Refer to Annual Compost Facility form. Vehicle Registration must be presented. Purchased at DPW Operations, Samuel Hadley Public Services Building, 201 Bedford Street, Room 105, or call 781-274-8300, 7am to 3:30pm, Monday-Friday.

What is the cost of a punch card for the Compost Facility (contractors only)?
A yard waste punch card is $70. A brush punch card is $85. Each punch card is good for 10 cubic yards of yard waste or brush delivered by landscape service to Compost Facility. Vehicle registration must be presented. Purchased at DPW Operations, Samuel Hadley Public Services Building, 201 Bedford Street, Room 105, or call 781-274-8300, 7am to 3:30pm, Monday-Friday.

How can I buy a compost bin?
Compost Bins are paid for at the Samuel Hadley Public Services Building, 201 Bedford Street, Room 105, or call 781-274-8300. The cost is $35 per bin. The bins are stored at the Compost Facility at 60 Hartwell Avenue where they are picked up during weekday hours of operation (no weekend pick ups)

Free Compost for Residents
Residents are able to take a few buckets of unscreened compost and wood chips from the Compost Facility at no cost. Residents must bring shovel and containers. If larger quantities are desired, finished or screened loam or compost can be purchased at $15 per cubic yard. (DPW Operations will provide a fee list).

Holidays Impact on Trash Collection
If a legal holiday (11 per year) falls on a resident's scheduled trash collection day or a day later in the week, trash collection will be delayed one day.

DPW- Highways, Equipment & Drains

Fix pothole on street?
Please report and provide detail location of pothole. The Highway Department will respond as soon as possible.

Car damage due to pothole?
Town of Lexington does not pay for auto damage. If caller persists, they can write a letter with details to the Town Manager, but reinforce that their is NO Town policy for auto damage caused by potholes.

Street Sweeping
All streets are swept in the Spring. Main streets are completed first. Then areas of town are swept one section at a time.

Requests berm (curbing) installation?
Write Work Order. Highway Superintendent will evaluate. If appropriate, address will be placed on list. Several years wait.

Dead squirrel in street?
Dead squirrels are not picked up. Larger animals (skunks, raccoons, cats) picked up if on Town property. If on Town property, call Operations 781-274-8300. (If not on Town Property, ask resident if they could get it out to the side of the road.) If not, we can't pick it up.

Snowplow damage to lawn, driveway apron, sprinkler heads, stonework?
Write Work Order. Highway superintendent will evaluate. If the sprinkler heads are less than 18" of the road, they were installed too close and the Town is not responsible for repair.

Sand for residents during winter months
Sand pile is located at the entrance to 201 Bedford Street. Bring shovel and bucket. Sand has salt added. The sand is for residential use only (a couple of buckets full). Contractors are not allowed to fill up their truck even if they are a Lexington resident.

Why are there street markings on my road?
Markings are as follows: YELLOW (gas, oil, steam), ORANGE (cable), BLUE (potable water), PURPLE (reclaimed water), GREEN (sewer), PINK (temporary survey) and WHITE (proposed excavation)

Traffic Light is Out?
If it is a town road light call DPW Operations 781-274-8300. For state roads call State Hwy at 781-648-6100 and ask for dispatcher. Operations is formulating a list of state streets for reference.

Street Sign or Traffic Sign is Missing on a Town Road
Write Work Order (DPW form) for Highway Dept. If it is a State Road, the residents have to call the State DPW at 781-648-6100 and ask for the dispatcher.

Winter Sanding of Roads
Town roads notify DPW Operations 781-274-8300. State roads call 781-648-6100 and ask for dispatcher. DPW sands the main roads first, then the hills, then the rest of the streets.

Overflowing Catch Basins during rainstorm
Record location of catch basin and contact Highway Department/DPW immediately, 781-274-8300

It is the Town Highway Department's policy to replace mailboxes that have been damaged by the Town during snowplowing operations with a standard rural mailbox and wood post. Replacement of mailboxes is done as a courtesy; and due to budgeting restrictions, only the standard replacement can be provided.

DPW- Public Grounds

Request for tree pruning?
Write Work Order for Forestry Dept (DPW form). Superintendent will review. If a Town tree, the work will be scheduled within two to three weeks unless it is deemed to be an imminent hazard.

Is tree on Town or private land?
Write Work Order for Forestry Dept (DPW form). Superintendent will review. The Engineering Department may also be asked to review.

Tree or large limb down in road blocking traffic?
Contact DPW dispatcher or Operations office staff immediately, 781-274-8300.

How do I contact Westview Cemetery?
Call Jennifer Liu-Beyer or Dennis Mazzone at (781) 861-2718. Address 520 Bedford Street, Lexington MA

NOT Town's Responsibility
Private Roads. For limbs on electric wires advise resident to call NSTAR. Low hanging wires call NSTAR (electricity), cable (Comcast or RCN) or phone (Verizon) and caller frequently describes wire arrangement. Highest -electricity, middle-phone and lowest -cable. Should call appropriate utility company. DPW not equipped to go near high, voltage wires.

Street Lights
Street light out or malfunctioning should be reported directly to the designated phone line for the most efficient handling 781-274-8388. Helpful to know the pole # when problem reported. Residents should leave their name, address and telephone number. Calls will be inspected within 2 weeks of receipt. If the problem is a bulb and/or a sensor Town Staff will repair at the time of inspection. If it is an electrical problem, an outside contractor will repair 2 or 3 weeks after initial inspection.

DPW- Water/Sewer

Sewage back-up in house or plugged sewer line
Contact DPW Operations office immediately, Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., phone: 781-274-8300 and after hours please contact the emergency line: 781-862-1618.

What if I have brown water or no water?
Contact DPW Operations office immediately, Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., phone: 781-274-8300 and after hours please contact the emergency line: 781-862-1618.

What do I do if there is a bad water leak around meter?
Contact DPW Operations office immediately, Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., phone: 781-274-8300 and after hours please contact the emergency line: 781-862-1618.

What if I see water bubbling up in street?
Contact DPW Operations office immediately, Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., phone: 781-274-8300 and after hours please contact the emergency line: 781-862-1618.

How do I get a new meter (Town transitioning to all external read pads)?
Notify DPW Operations who will write work order for Water Dept. (DPW form)

How do I get an irrigation meter (second meter)?
Hire plumber, plumber pulls permit, he calls inspectional services to have his work inspected by Plumbing Inspector and tagged. See installation of a second meter for more details.

Can I have my meter checked for accuracy?
Notify DPW Operations who will write work order for Water Dept. (DPW form). Also, dye tablets available at DPW Operations to test if there is a toilet leak (common cause of high water bill).

How do I get a Water/Sewer mark out for underground utility work?
Call DPW Operations and request mark out. Allow three (3) working days for notice unless it is an emergency.

How do I get Water/Sewer tie cards or ties to show how my property is connected to Town water or sewer?
Cards are housed at DPW Operations. Come during business hours 7am to 3:30pm. There is no charge.

As a contractor, how do I get a Water/Sewer inspection for open trenches?
Call DPW Operations immediately, 781-274-8300. If trench is open DPW will put a priority on request. Trenches are not allowed to be open overnight and are subject to the new State Trench Bylaw.

What if I am doing laundry when a water break occurs turning laundry brown?
DPW Operations has a product for laundry rust removal. Do not put clothes in the dryer!

What if my water meter freezes up in the winter?
If you are NOT on winter Freeze up list, you are charged for new meter replacement.

When should I start "Winter Drip" to prevent Meter Freeze Ups?
The Water Dept notifies residents (previously identified as susceptible to frozen meters. Flow of water is approximately the diameter of a pencil).

How do I get a meter for my new home?
Tear Downs: Price of meter removed from site is deducted from new meter. Bring receipt for removed meter. If not, 5/8-inch meter (lowest cost) will be deducted from meter fee. New Construction: Contractors are charged a fee of $25 for water use during demolition for dust control only.

What if I get a high water bill?
Contact DPW Water Billing Department and request to have an inspection of the water meter. You may also call to set up an appointment to discuss your water bill with Robin Fullford, Utilities Manager, 781-274-8300 x8370.


Can I email the application form to the Town?
Yes, you can email the required Town application form to

Human Services

How do I find out about financial assistance?
The Human Services Department is available to meet with residents to discuss a wide variety of assistance programs, including, but not limited to: fuel assistance, food assistance, emergency funds and scholarships. Contact the Human Services Department at (781)861-0194 to discuss your situation, or to schedule an appointment.

How can I get counseling for myself, or a family member?
The Human Services Department provides information and referral, assessment, crisis intervention and short term counseling services to residents of all ages. These services are provided at no cost to the resident. For more information, contact the Human Services Department at (781)861-0194 to discuss your situation, or to schedule an appointment.

How can I get involved?
There are a multitude of volunteer opportunities in the Human Services Department: community service opportunities for youth, Meals on Wheels drivers, receptionist/administrative support and Friend to Friend visiting. Please call the Human Services Department at (781)861-0194 for additional information.

What services are available for aging adults?
The Human Services Department provides information and referral, needs assessment and coordination, limited case management, crisis intervention and stabilization, Veterans' assistance, consultation to caregivers, Meals on Wheels, Senior Health Outreach programs and daily educational, recreational and social programs at the Lexington Senior Center. Additional information and monthly newsletters can be found on our website at or by calling (781)861-0194.


Can I subdivide my land?
The minimum lot size is 30,000 square feet of land in the RO, Single-Family zone, or 15,5000 square feet in the RS, Single-Family zone. To be able to subdivide, the current lot must be at least twice the required lot size, and usually more as you must create 150' of frontage for each new lot in the RO zone or 125 feet in the RS zone.

Where can I buy a Zoning Bylaw, the Zoning Map or Development
Regulations? In the Planning and Community Development offices. The Zoning Bylaw is Chapter 135 of the Code of Lexington. The Development Regulations are Chapter 175. The prices are as follows: Item Price Zoning By-Law $10.00 Zoning Map - Black & White $5.00 Zoning Map - Color $10.00 Development Regulations $10.00 Certification is $4.00 per document By Mail: A flat fee of $7.00 per order The Zoning By-Law and Development Regulations, Chapters 135 and 175 of the Code of the Town of Lexington, can be found here.

How can I find out the setbacks for my property?
Table 2, Dimensional Controls, of the Zoning Bylaw. Table 2 is currently on page 13665 of the Code in Chapter 135, Zoning Bylaw. Lesser requirements than those of Table 2 apply to certain lots. See page 13588 of the Code for further details.

Where can I see the plans for a current development in Lexington (not just a single-family house on one lot)?
Plans for residential developments and for rezonings are on file at the Planning Department.

Who can I ask about affordable housing opportunities in Lexington?
LexHAB and LHA (rental only). Consult a local realtor if wanting to buy a home in Lexington.

If I purchase a house on a private way (unaccepted street) and want to demolish more than 50% of the dwelling do I have to improve part of the street?
Yes. But in some cases, the Planning Board will determine that the street is already of adequate grade and construction if presented with a plan showing the satisfactory condition of the existing roadway.

Where can I get a plot plan of my property?
In Community Development. Since the 1960s, the files on properties with dwellings that have undergone work requiring a building permit usually have a plot plan.

Is my lot buildable?
If you think your lot may be buildable but are not sure, please contact the Community Development Department.

Where can I learn more about Planning in general?
The following sites are provided to those who may wish to learn more about Planning and Community Development in a general sense. United States Census Bureau Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Housing and Community Development, Profile of Lexington Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Geographic Information Systems The General Laws of Massachusetts Metropolitan Area Planning Council American Planning Association Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association Citizen Planner Training Collaborative Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA)


When do I have to file an accident report?
If the combined damage from the accident exceeds $ 1,000.00 you must file an accident report.

Where can I obtain an accident report form?
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has recently discontinued the distribution of motor vehicle accident report forms to local police departments. Blank accident reporting forms will no longer be available at local police stations including the Lexington Police Station. These forms are available for download and printing in the Forms/Documents section of this site or from the registry of motor vehicles site

How long do I have to file an accident report?
A. You have five (5) business days starting the next business day after the accident.

Where do I file my accident report?
A. You need to have three (3) copies of your accident report and send them to the following: The police department that has jurisdiction over the location where your accident occurred, Registry of Motor Vehicles and your insurance company or keep for your own records if not needed by same. It is suggested you contact your insurance agent and they will in turn mail your accident reports to the appropriate agencies.

What kind of information should I retrieve from the other operator if I'm in an accident?
You should obtain: Operator's name, current address, license number, expiration, and date of birth, vehicle's registration number, make, model, color and insurance company.

I am 16 1/2 years old and I heard that there is a law that requires driver training before I can get my driver's license. What does the law require?
If you apply for a driver's license and are between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18 you must have possessed a learner's permit for at least six (6) months and will only be issued a "Junior Operator's License" (JOL), upon passing a road test, and only if:* You have successfully completed a driver education and training program approved by the Registrar which includes 30 hours of classroom instruction, six (6) [soon to be expanded to eight (8)] hours of in-car behind-the-wheel training and six (6) [soon to be reduced to four (4)] hours in-car as an observer of another student driver; * You have completed at least an additional 12 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel driving as shown by a certified statement provided by your parent or guardian;* You have had a learner's permit for at least six (6) months; and* You have had a "clean driving record" for a minimum of six (6) consecutive months immediately preceding the date you took your road test. The most significant effects of the law's requirements and restrictions are on the operation of a motor vehicle by a person in possession of a "Junior Operator's License." A basic purpose of the law is to provide you with a supervised opportunity to develop good driving skills, while being free of possible distractions caused by having friends your own age present while you are behind the wheel. Under the law, if you are a junior operator (between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18):* You may not operate a motor vehicle, within the first six (6) months after receiving a "Junior Operator's License" while any passenger under the age of 18 is in the vehicle (other than yourself or an immediate family member), unless you are accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, has at least one year of driving experience, holds a valid driver's license from Massachusetts or another state and is occupying a seat beside you. A junior operator who violates the passenger restriction shall be subject to a license suspension of up to 90 days. The six (6) month passenger restriction period will stop running when the suspension begins and the remainder of the restriction period will start running again when the suspension is completed.* As the holder of a "Junior Operator's License" (or Learner's Permit), you may not operate a motor vehicle during the hours of 12:00 a.m. (midnight) to 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by your parent or your legal guardian.* You may not operate a motor vehicle requiring a commercial driver's license;* Your "Junior Operator's License" will be suspended for a substantial period of time if you are under 18 years of age at the time certain driving offenses involving alcohol or drugs are committed.* You will face a license suspension for a 2nd or subsequent offense for speeding or drag racing violations.

I am almost 16. Can I obtain my "Junior Operator's License" when I turn 16?
No. The law requires that you be at least 16 1/2 to obtain a "Junior Operator's License." You would have to obtain your Learner's Permit at age 16 and drive for six (6) months without any surchargeable incidents or motor vehicle offenses before you would be eligible to apply for a "Junior Operator's License" at age 16 1/2

I heard that a new driver with a JOL is not subject to the passenger restriction during the times when he is driving his friends to and from high school in a car pool. Is this true?
No. The law does not provide an exemption from the passenger restriction for a JOL driver who is driving his friends to or from school. Similarly, there is no exemption from the passenger restriction to transport friends to or from a prom or other school-related activity

The back of my JOL says that "passenger restriction may apply if under 18." How will a police officer who stops me know if I am subject to the restriction?
Once a person is stopped by a Police Officer, the officer normally checks the validity and status of the driver's license by contacting the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If, as the driver, you possess a Junior Operator's License and there are unrelated persons under the age of 18 in the vehicle, and no licensed driver 21 years of age or over supervising your driving from the front passenger seat, the Officer will make an additional query. The Officer will also ask the Registry (either through a computer link in the police car or through a computer terminal at the police station) if you are subject to the passenger restriction. The Registry data link will confirm that you are or are not subject to the restriction

I am under 18 years of age. I know my parent must be in the car when I operate it with my Learner's Permit between the hours of 12:00 a.m. (midnight) and 5:00 a.m. Someone told me that the same will be true after I get my "Junior Operator's License." Is that right? What is the penalty if I get caught without my parent in the car?
If you are caught operating on a "Junior Operator's License" during those hours, without your parent present in the vehicle, you will be deemed to be operating a motor vehicle without being duly licensed. It is a criminal offense and you may be punished by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $200

I am afraid that I may be cited for driving without my parent in the car between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., in violation of the restrictions of my "Junior Operator's License." I am 17 1/2 and I drive myself to work on weekend nights at "Burger World." On Friday nights I usually get out of work at 11:30 p.m. and I can drive home in twenty minutes. Sometimes ( but not too often) the boss keeps us later and I don't get out until 12:00 a.m. (midnight). I do not want to lose my "Junior Operator's License" but I don't want to give up the job, either. Will I definitely be cited for violating the restriction if I am seen driving at 12:15 a.m.?
Section three (3) of the law says that between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. and between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., the provisions of the law shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when a junior operator of a motor vehicle has been lawfully stopped for a violation of the motor vehicle laws or some other offense. This is called "secondary enforcement." However, it is still illegal for you to operate during those times without a parent present in the car.

I am a single parent and my 17 year old son is going to apply for his "Junior Operator's License." He can go to the driver education course at school and that is not a problem. However, I work all day and I will probably not have the time to supervise the additional 12 hours of required driving experience. Can my brother do it? Can my brother and my uncle each supervise some of the required driving? Can I hire the driving school to do it? Parent Need Not Personally Supervise Additional 12 Hours of Driving.
You may designate your brother or any other person to supervise your son's 12 hours of driving experience if your brother or the other person is a validly licensed driver over the age of 21 and has at least one (1) year of driving experience. Your brother and your uncle can split the driving supervision, since the law does not require that only one person provide the 12 hours of supervised driving. You may also contract with any driving school offering such services to supervise the additional 12 hours of driving experience. You must make sure that your son is receiving the required 12 hours of instruction. You will have to certify, under oath, on your son's Driver's License application, that he did receive the 12 hours of supervised driving.

I am 16 1/2 and just got my JOL. I think I am a good driver (best in my Driver Ed Class) but I am always hearing that kids my age have the worst accident records. What are the facts?
State law requires a driver to file an Accident Report with the RMV for any accident involving a death, serious bodily injury, or property damage in excess of $1,000. Studies have been done that junior operators have a high accident rates. Disproportionate from other age groups. It is apparent that experience does help to reduce serious accidents. The JOL law, with its passenger and time restrictions, is designed to give our youngest drivers the opportunity to develop good driving habits under somewhat controlled conditions. Use the opportunity wisely!

What restrictions am I subject to when operating on my Learner's Permit?
The holder of a Learner's Permit may operate a motor vehicle upon any way when accompanied by an operator duly licensed by his state of residence, who is 21 years of age or over, who has had at least one year of driving experience and who is occupying a seat beside the driver. A Permit holder who is under the age of 18 may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 12:00 a.m. (midnight) and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by his parent or legal guardian, who must be a licensed operator with at least one year of driving experience and whose license or right to operate is not revoked or suspended. The holder of a Learner's Permit may not operate in another state if it is in violation of that state's law. The holder of a motorcycle Learner's Permit (Class M) may not carry passengers and may not operate after sunset or before sunrise. The holder of a Learner's Permit must be in physical possession of the Permit when operating a motor vehicle.

I am 18 years old but I am only now getting my first driver's license. I know that I will have to obtain a Learner's Permit. Will I have to be accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 21 when I operate on my Learner's Permit?
Yes. By law, anyone who is operating a motor vehicle on a Learner's Permit, regardless of his or her age, must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age.

I know that I must have a "clean driving record" for the six (6) month period just before I take a road test. What would prevent me from having a "clean driving record?"
You would not have a "clean driving record," and you would not be allowed to take the road test if, within the six (6) months immediately preceding the date of the test: You had any surchargeable incident under Massachusetts law or the law of another state (at-fault accidents, moving violations, etc.); You had your Learner's Permit suspended for drug or alcohol related motor vehicle violations; or You had been convicted for the violation of any drug or alcohol related laws in Massachusetts or in another state ("convicted" includes charges that are "continued without a finding" or "placed on file"). For the purposes of this section, an alternative disposition of a violation, including, but not limited to, having such violation continued without a finding, placed on file or a "responsible" finding on a civil motor vehicle infraction, shall be deemed to be a conviction. You may not take a road test until six months from the date of the arrest or issuance of the citation

I have had my Learner's Permit for over six (6) months. I recently received a speeding citation and I am going to contest it at an upcoming hearing in Court. Will I be subject to the requirement that my driving record must be "clean" for the six (6) month period immediately preceding the date of the road test?
Yes. The six (6) month period will be measured from the date of the "incident". In your case, that would be the date you received the citation. If the holder of a Learner's Permit is under the age of 18, and either pays the citation, or is found "responsible" for a Civil Motor Vehicle Infraction (or "guilty" of a criminal motor vehicle violation) at the hearing (or after an appeal has been heard), the six (6) month "clean" period will be measured from the "incident date," that is, the date the citation was received (or the person was arrested). If the person is found "not responsible" or "not guilty" for the violation at a hearing (or after an appeal is heard) or the charges are dismissed, the person's driving record will be corrected to reflect the finding and the six (6) month "clean" period will be measured from the date of the most recent violation, or if none had been committed, from the date the Learner's Permit was obtained. Note: A surchargable accident may also cause the six (6) month period to begin anew. A surchargable accident is one in which you are more than 50 percent at fault. It is treated the same as a citation, that is, it runs from the "incident" date. The six (6) month period will re-start from the date of the accident even though you may not be notified of the surcharge until some time after the accident has occurred. If you successfully appeal the surcharge the RMV will correct its records to reflect the original six (6) month period in the same way as if you were found "not responsible" for a citation. If your license is suspended, the six (6) month period stops running and a new six (6) month period will have to be established. It cannot start until the Learner's Permit has been reinstated.

Property Taxes

How does Proposition 2 ˝ limit local property tax increases?
In concept, Proposition 2 ˝ limits the total revenue that the Town may raise through property taxes to the same amount raised the previous year, plus 2˝% (plus an amount representing the property tax on new construction and any voter-approved overrides.) It does not limit property tax increases on individual properties. The maximum amount of total property tax revenue that the Town may collect in any given year is called the Tax Levy Limit.

Funding a budget that is larger than the Tax Levy Limit requires town-wide voter approval of a property tax override. There are two types of overrides. Operational Overrides permanently raise the Tax Levy Limit and provide additional revenue to fund the town’s operating budget. Debt Exclusions provide financing for specific capital projects such as a new municipal building or a road project. Debt Exclusions temporarily increase the Levy Limit until all principal and interest payments are made on the excluded project.

It is important to understand that Proposition 2 ˝ is a limit on the TOTAL town tax levy. It does not limit how much your individual property tax bill can increase. It is likely that your tax bill will increase by more than 2 ˝%. Your increase is affected by a number of factors. Your home could have changed in value relative to other homes due to normal real estate market fluctuations or improvements you’ve made to your property such as adding a bathroom or a swimming pool. There could be a drop in commercial property values which would shift more of the town-wide tax burden onto residential properties. Finally, in a year that experienced any overrides, your increase would likely be more than 2 ˝%. While individual tax bills might increase by more than 2 ˝%, under no circumstance will the total tax levy increase by more than 2 ˝% (plus an amount representing the property tax on new construction and any voter-approved overrides.)

How does the Town determine property assessments?

The Town Assessors follow a chronology set by state law. Over the course of each year they apply their analysis of the previous calendar year’s real estate sales to establish each property’s assessment for the following Fiscal Year.

For example, the Assessors spend 2009 collecting, verifying, and analyzing the full body of market data from 2008 to determine each property’s valuation as of January 1, 2009. That January 1, 2009 assessment is used by the Tax Collector to calculate each property’s FY 2010 property tax. (Fiscal Year 2010 began on July 1 of 2009)

The property assessment shown on your January 1, 2010 tax bill is not intended to correlate with the actual market value of your house in 2010 or even in 2009. But the assessors assure us that, as required by state law and reviewed by the state’s Department of Revenue, it correlates very closely to the home’s true market value in calendar year 2008.

Assessments on Lexington’s 12,000+ properties are revised every year using market data. Properties are reviewed at least every nine years on a rolling basis to verify the information that the Town maintains on the property.

Unlike residential assessments which are primarily determined by sales data, valuation of commercial properties is a function of area-wide occupancy rates and other data. The same state chronology with its substantial lag-time also applies to commercial assessments.

If the value of my house declines, shouldn’t my property taxes go down too?
Not necessarily. Generally speaking, your property tax will decrease only when the total Tax Levy decreases.

Here’s how your property tax is determined: In simple terms, the year’s Tax Rate is computed by adding together the assessments of all properties in Lexington (the Total Valuation) and dividing it by the amount of the year’s Tax Levy. Your individual property tax is then calculated by multiplying your property’s assessment by the Tax Rate.

In this way, your property’s assessed value determines your proportional share of the total Tax Levy relative to everyone else’s.

If all property values in Lexington were to decline together at the same rate, your relative share of the total Tax Levy would stay exactly the same as it was before the decline. But each year the Tax Levy can increase by the amount allowed under Proposition 2 ˝. So if the Tax Levy goes up, your same relative share of the Tax Levy will cost you more in the form of a higher tax bill. Your property tax will decrease only if the Tax Levy were to decrease.

In reality, there are variations in the rise and fall of property values by neighborhood and housing type and between residential and non-residential classifications. Because of this, individual property tax bills do not change by identical percentages each year. But in no case does the total revenue collected by the Town increase by more than the allowed 2 ˝ % (plus an amount representing the property tax on new construction and any voter-approved overrides.)

Judging by home sales in my neighborhood, it looks like my house is worth less than my assessment. So how can my assessment be fair?
State law sets a chronology for doing real estate assessments that creates a significant lag between the data year used and the fiscal year it applies to. This time lag will appear to work to your advantage in a rising real estate market and to your disadvantage in a falling real estate market. But in reality, the lag is a neutral factor.

Because all assessments in town are set ‘as of January 1’ of the given year, this lag affects all properties in Lexington equally. Since your assessment only determines your share of the tax levy, even this lagged assessment represents a fair number for taxation purposes.

Nonetheless any property owner who feels that their assessment is incorrect has the right to file for abatement. Contact the Assessor’s office for deadlines and details.

Why are my January and April tax bills bigger than my July and October tax bills?
Following the state-mandated chronology, Lexington sends out the first quarterly tax bill in July, but the tax rate isn’t set until the following December. So your July and October tax bills are ‘preliminary’ and each equals a quarter of your previous year’s tax bill plus any increases allowed under Proposition 2 ˝.

The January and April bills are ‘actual’ and are based on your most recent assessment and the new tax rate. Your new assessment and new actual tax amount appear on your January bill. Comparing quarterly tax bills can give a false impression of the difference between one year and another. To correctly understand year-to-year differences, you must compare the actual annual tax amounts.

Why is the commercial tax rate different from the residential tax rate?
Under state law, a municipality may choose to increase the share of the tax levy borne by commercial, industrial and personal property owners. Called ‘classification,’ this option results in two tax rates - one for residential property and one for commercial, industrial and personal property. It has been the practice of the Town of Lexington to classify its tax rate. In Fiscal Year 2009, this classification resulted in residential properties bearing 78% of the total tax levy even though residential values as a percentage of total values was actually 87%.

Public Facilities (school & town buildings)

What is Public Facilities and what responsibility does the department have within the town?
The Department of Public Facilities was created in 2007 upon agreement between the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee and subsequently approved by Town Meeting. The department was established to more efficiently manage operations of both school and municipal buildings. With oversight for approximately 1.25 million square feet of space, the DPF is responsible for custodial services, building maintenance and repairs, support of capital projects, and day-to-day project management for new construction and major renovations. Public Facilities oversees all school and municipal buildings including the senior center, library, fire department, police station and town hall.

Why are lights on at night in school buildings?
Lights are left on at night in school buildings for several reasons including school activities, custodial cleaning, rental programs and security. If you have any questions or suggestions about energy use or consumption, please contact Shawn Newell, Assistant Director of Public Facilities at (781) 274-8960 or

How do I rent a school or town facility?
Requests to rent space at public school facilities are coordinated in the Department of Public Facilities and requests to rent space in town buildings are coordinated by the Town Manager's Office. Please contact Laurie Lucibello in the DPF at or (781) 274-8904 for a school building rental and Marie McDonnell in the Town Manager's Office at or (781) 862-0500 x275 for a town building rental.

Town Administration (Selectmen & Town Manager)

How do I obtain permission to use town property (i.e., Hastings Park, Depot Square, streets for walk/run event, block party, etc.)?
Call the Town Manager's Office and describe your request.

How do I apply to become a member of a Town board or committee?
You may submit an application form to the Town Manager's Office or the Selectmen's Office.

How to I apply for a Garage/Yard Sale Permit?
Information Needed for Garage/Yard Sale Permit

How do I request permission to use the Battle Green and what are the Regulations?
Use of the Battle Green

When is the next Board of Selectmen meeting schedule for?
Selectmen Meeting Schedule

What is on the agenda of the next Board of Selectmen meeting?
The Board of Selectmen agendas are posted to the Calendar of Public Meetings at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

What is the procedure to apply for a Package Store or Restaurant Liquor License in Lexington?
Contact the Selectmen's Office regarding the availability of liquor licenses. Then go to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) web page ABCC Webpage and fill out the paperwork on-line, print, sign as necessary and submit to the Selectmen's Office along with all other required documentation. In addition to the $200 fee payable to the ABCC, a check for $100 is required for the Town of Lexington. Lexington also requires the following information be submitted: - CORI Request Form for Manager and Assistant Manager - they must come to the Selectmen’s Office in person and bring a form of government issued photographic identification, such as a drivers license; - Workers' Compensation Insurance Affidavit; - copy of Workers' Compensation Policy; and - copy of current Alcohol Awareness Training Card - All Managers and Assistant Managers must provide the Board with proof of successful completion of an accredited alcoholic beverage server-training program, such as Training for Intervention Procedures by Servers (TIPS). Certification must have been within the last three years. Annual License fee payable to the Town of Lexington when license is approved - Restaurant All Alcohol: $3,500 - Restaurant Wine and Malt Only: $2,500 - Package Store All Alcohol: $2,000 - Package Store Wine and Malt: $2,000 - Club All Alcohol: $400 For a copy of the alcohol regulations go to Procedures, Policies and Regulations Manual

How do I apply for a one-day liquor license?
Application for One-day Liquor License A One-Day Liquor License can be issued for the sale of wine and malt beverages to a responsible manager of any indoor or outdoor activity for profit or non-profit. Licenses for the sale of all alcoholic beverages may be issued to non-profits only. No person may be granted a one-day license for more than a total of 30 days per calendar year and no one-day license will be granted to any person while his application for an annual license under Section 12 is pending before the licensing authorities. No more than one license can be issued for a premises at one time. Therefore, a one-day license can not be issued for use in a licensed premises. The applicant should return the completed application form above and include a $25 check payable to the Town of Lexington.

Is there help available to dealing with Cable Company Complaints?
COMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE (CAC) PROCEDURE FOR CABLE COMPLAINTS 1. Annually, before the September CAC meeting the CAC Chairperson will establish the monthly rotation of CAC members to handle complaints and will communicate this to each committee member and to the Selectmen's Office who receive complaints about cable service. Contact the Selectmen's Office by phone (781-862-0500 x208) or email ( 2. When the Selectmen's Office receives a complaint regarding cable service, she or he will send it to the CAC member handling complaints for that month. 3. Within 24 hours of receiving the complaint, the CAC member will contact the individual making the complaint, identify oneself, explain the purpose of the call, obtain the facts of the complaint directly and determine whether the issue is within the purview of the Committee. The CAC member will verify that the individual with the complaint has attempted to solve the problem him or herself, usually by contacting the cable company. If this has not been done, the CAC member will request that the individual do so, unless the problem is an inability to contact the company. 4. The CAC member will forward the complaint to the representative of the cable company involved and request resolution and confirmation that the problem has been resolved. 5. If no response is received within 48 hours, the CAC member will repeat the e-mail and/or call to the representative until the problem is resolved. In some cases, the CAC member may need to call the complainant back to verify resolution. 6. The CAC member will enter the complaint in the Complaint Log and report it at the next CAC meeting. 7. At the end of each month, the CAC member handling complaints for that month will forward the Complaint Log to the next person on the list with a copy to the Chairperson. 8. If a complaint is not satisfactorily resolved , the CAC member involved will request that the item be put on the CAC agenda so that the committee can discuss possible action at its next meeting. 9. The CAC member who originally dealt with a complaint will continue to follow it to its resolution, even if it extends into later months. 10. If a problem which seemed to be resolved reappears, it will be referred back to the CAC member who originally handled it and resolution attempted through repetition of the above steps. January 28th, 2011

How do I apply for a special event permit?
The Town Manager's Office handles permits for special events. Event organizers should review the guidelines before submitting an application for a special eventpermit. A special event is any activity that occurs upon public or private property that affects the ordinary use of parks, playgrounds, fields, buildings, public streets, right-of-way or sidewalks. Special Events may include festivals, fairs, concerts, holiday celebrations, parades, athletic tournaments, road or bicycle races, etc.

Town Clerk

Voter Information
Information relating to voter registration, voter registration status, and absentee voting information is available at the Election Division of the Massachusetts Secretary of State Office

How do I find out where I vote?

How do I obtain a copy of a Birth, Marriage, Death Certificate?
To order a certified copy of a vital record: - for pick up at the Town Clerk's Office, email: - for return by mail, sent request, check or money order and S.A.S.E to: Town of Lexington, Town Clerk's Office, 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420 - for online line ordering and payment

How do I apply for a marriage license?
The two parties to the marriage must jointly apply for the license (file intentions) in person at the Clerk's Office. Marriage licenses are a state license and can be applied for at any town/city hall with in Massachusetts

How do I apply for a Business Certificate (DBA)?
Massachusetts requires anyone who is conducting business under an alias (i.e. any other name than their own), including corporations, to file a business certificate with the Office of the Town Clerk in the community where their business is principally headquartered. This form, also called a "DBA" which stands for "doing business as", contains the name and address of the business and the names and residences of the principals of the business. This certificate must be signed in the presence of a Notary Public. The certificate is effective for four years and the filing fee is $25.00.

Do I need a Dog License?
The law requires all dogs six months or over to be licensed in the community of residence annually. The licensing year runs from the first day of April through the 31st day of March. Renewals are sent annually by mail to registered dog owners mid March. If you did not receive a renewal in the mail and/or need to register your dog(s) for the first time please complete a dog license application. Forward application, appropriate fee (See below), a spay/neuter certificate (if applicable) and a current rabies certificate to the Office of the Town Clerk. Fees: Male/Female Dogs $20.00 Neutered/ Spayed Dogs $15.00

Town Meeting

Why does Lexington have Town Meeting?
When Lexington incorporated as a Town in 1713, Town Meeting was created to serve as the legislative body. The responsibilities of Town Meeting are to:
•Appropriate funds for operating and capital budgets for the upcoming fiscal year (July 1 to June 30);
•Approve all General and Zoning By-Laws (contained in the Code of Lexington); and
•Accept certain "local option" statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

How do I contact one of my Town Meeting members?
Current Town Meeting members are listed on the Town's website. The Town Meeting Members Association (a non-government organization) provides email addresses for all TMMs.


Does Lexpress go to Alewife Station?
NO. MBTA Routes 62 and 76 take you to Alewife. MBTA customer phone line 1 (800) 392-6100 and website

Does Lexpress run on weekends?
No, there is no Lexpress service on Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays.

Does Lexpress go to the Burlington Mall?
YES. Route #5 leaves Depot Square 30-minutes past the hour and arrives at the Mall 45-minutes past the hour. Lexpress stop is located outside the Legal Sea Foods entrance.

Where does Lexpress stop in my neighborhood?
Outside Lexington Center, Lexpress stops on demand. Rider should stand on the side of the road in the direction the bus is traveling in a safe, visible location. Flag the driver for Lexpress to stop.



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