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Lilacs and stately oaks line Wilder Road.

Town Bylaws

Bolton has Town Bylaws which govern all issues of zoning, signage, business operation, wetland protection, animal control, etc.

You can obtain a copy of the Bylaws from the Town Clerk at Town Hall.

 

Here is where you'll find some answers to those burning questions about the picturesque community of Bolton, Massachusetts. Just click on a link to make your way down the page. If you don't find what you're looking for, email the webmaster. We'll find out the answer and add it to the page.

Building Issues | Home-Based Businesses | Cable-Internet | Cable-TV | Dog Licenses | Hospitals | Land Office | Recycling | Renovations | Schools | Sewer/Septic | Signs | Town Officials | Trash Pickup | Voter Registration | Utilities

Building Issues
All building, whether it involves new home construction, renovations, additions, reroofing, and decks, requires a building permit from the Building Inspector. In addition, new or relocated driveways must be approved by the Building Inspector. Any building or clearing of land near a wetland or a body of water requires a special filing with the Conservation Commission PRIOR TO ANY WORK!
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Home-Based Businesses
Businesses in the home are common in Bolton, but they must not change the residential nature of the property or the house. Any business which generates an unusual amount of traffic, smell, or noise may be subject to a zoning enforcement by the Town. It is always wise to check with Town officials before starting a home business.
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Cable-Internet-DSL
Bolton has available two high-speed Internet providers, depending on where you live in town. Comcast is available in most areas. Verizon DSL is available in some parts of town, but Verizon may promise you one speed, and deliver you a much slower speed later, or tell you service is available and later change their minds.
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Cable-TV
Cable Television is available from Comcast. Alternatively, satellite service from Dish Network and Direct TV are suitable alternatives provided your house has a view of the sky to the southwest. Return back to the top of this page.

Dog Licenses
Dogs and dog kennels must be licensed annually by the Town Clerk.
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Hospitals
Bolton residents have a choice of hospitals. The nearest hospital is Clinton Hospital, and is approximately 10 minutes southwest of town center; however, it is a small hospital with limited facilities. Marlborough Hospital is approximately 15 minutes south of town center, Emerson Hospital in Concord is approximately 25 minutes northeast of town center, and Deaconess-Nashoba Hospital in north Ayer is approximately 25 minutes northwest of town center.
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Land Office
In Bolton, the "land office" is called the Assessors Office. It is located at Town Hall, and office hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 1pm. There are evening hours on Tuesday from 7pm to 9pm. Telephone 978-779-5556.
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Recycling
Bolton has a very good recycling program. The recycling facility is located at the Transfer Station on Forbush Mill Road, off Route 117 on the west side of town, near the Nashoba Regional High School. There is no charge for recycling normal household items; however, there are nominal charges for tire and appliance recycling. Check out the official town website for details and hours of operation. If you prefer to pay for private trash hauling, most haulers offer recycling as part of their service. Items recycled include glass, plastic (triangle 1-PP and 2-HDPE only), newspaper, mixed paper, cardboard and fiberboard, tin and aluminum. There are large bins for disposing of large mostly all-metal objects such as small appliances, TVs and radios, etc.
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Renovations
Renovations almost always require a building permit from the Building Inspector. Additionally, anyone renovating a building more than 75 years old is required to check with the Town's Historical Commission for approval of the renovation.
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Schools
Bolton is part of the Nashoba Regional School District, which also includes the towns of Stow and Lancaster. Bolton's elementary school is the Florence Sawyer School, located off Main Street behind Emerson School, and includes grades K through 8. The high school for Bolton students is the Nashoba Regional High School located on Route 117 on the west side of town, which includes students from Bolton, Lancaster and Stow. The vocational technical school is Minuteman Tech, located on Route 2A in Lexington. All three schools offer bus service.
CBS TV Station WBZ Channel 4 is the "official" source of school closing information due to snow and ice.
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Signs
Bolton has fairly strict signage laws. All signs require a permit from the Board of Selectmen, including professional services signs for physicians, dentists, lawyers, etc. The Board should be contacted in writing, and a detailed drawing of any proposed signage, including dimensions and lighting, must be included in the letter of application. Even real-estate signs are covered by the regulations. While for-sale signs are allowed, realtors are not permitted to place SOLD placards onto the signs. Instead, the whole sign must be removed when the property is sold.
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Town Officials and Local Government
Bolton has typical New England town government. There is no mayor; instead, a 3-person Board of Selectmen serves as the executive body of town government. The Selectmen are volunteers who normally meet every other Thursday evening at Town Hall. Any questions for Town Officials can be presented to the Town Administrator, a full-time paid employee of the town.

If you are coming to Bolton from outside New England, you will find town government and politics to be very democratic, and perhaps quaint! Each May, there is an Annual Town Meeting of all residents, where the annual Town budget is approved, and various new or amended bylaws are proposed for approval by direct vote of the attendees. An election of Town officials follows a week or two afterwards, and sometimes large purchases of equipment or land by the Town must be confirmed by ballot election. There is a strong volunteer ethic in Bolton, and anyone willing to participate will find plenty of opportunities to help out, either as an elected or appointed official, as a member of a board or town committee.
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Trash Disposal and Recycling

Bolton operates a transfer station and recycling center on Forbush Mill Road. A small fee is charged for stickers for bags of trash that go into the compactors. There is no charge for recycling of materials that can be recycled. Fees also apply for disposal of some large items such as batteries, appliances and so forth.

Private haulers can be hired at your expense to do curbside pickup. Please be sure to inspect the area along your curb after they've emptied your container and pick up anything they may have dropped on the ground. Also please be sure the containers are positioned such that they do not block the view of others trying to get out of their driveways!
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Voter Registration
New residents can register to vote with the Town Clerk at Town Hall. Please refer to the Town Clerk's page on the official town web site for hours, forms and related.
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Utilities
Electric Company
The electric company for Bolton is now called National Grid, but more commonly known as Mass-Electric. Contact them at 1-800-322-3223. The same number is used to report power outages.
Visit the National Grid / Mass Electric Web Site
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Gas (natural or propane)
Bolton does not have a natural gas supplier, although ironically a major gas pipeline runs through part of town, and you will see various gas-company right-of-way signs. Propane is available from a number of local companies, and you can rent or purchase the tank and locate it on your own property. Any propane installations must be approved and inspected by the Plumbing Inspector. Contact Town Hall for more information.
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Heating Oil
Home heating oil is available from a number of area companies, some of whom also provide heating and air conditioning service and maintenance. Some suppliers may also sell Bio-Fuel, also referred to as Bio-Heat or Bio-Diesel, which is a cleaner-burning alternative fuel oil blend, containing regular fuel oil and bio-fuel derived from vegetable oil. See the Bolton Directory and Region Directory for participating providers.
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Phone
Local phone service is provided by Verizon, by Comcast or by Voice over IP services such as Vonage, which work just fine provided you do have a high-speed Internet connection.
Cellular telephone service is available in most parts of town as well, with varying degrees of service quality. Towers near I-495 and along Route 117 near the Stow line, and Route 85 near the Hudson line provide good coverage depending on which carrier you use (and whether they have antennas on those towers). Service on the west side of town, roughly west of Forbush Mill Road and Green Road (forming roughly a line north/south) is poor in many cases. A proposed tower along Forbush Mill Road would fill in coverage if it gets built, and if carriers decide to locate antennas on the tower.
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Water
Bolton has no public water supply. Each home has its own well on the property. All new wells must be approved by the Board of Health PRIOR to any well-drilling; and after drilling, the water must be tested to the approval of the Board of Health. If you are a new resident who is coming to Bolton from a location where you had city water, please remember that whatever you do on your property may have consequences for your own (and your neighbors') drinking water. Disposing of waste gasoline, waste automobile and small engine oil, old paint or turpentine, or liquid pesticides by pouring it into a hole in the ground is not only illegal, it is suicidal, because it will end up in your own drinking water!! Collect these harmful materials in secure metal containers, and contact the Department of Public Works (DPW) concerning proper disposal of these materials. Bolton has special hazardous material disposal weekends; contact the DPW for dates.
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Sewers and Septic
Bolton has no sewers. Each property must handle its own waste in accordance with State regulations. In Massachusetts, there is a very strict set of waste disposal laws, generally known as Title V (V as in roman numeral 5). In almost all cases, the sale of a property triggers a Title V septic inspection, and frequently major septic work is required to bring an existing older system up to current standards. The Board of Health should be contacted regarding any questions about septic systems, or Title V questions. It's important to know that septic systems need periodic cleaning and inspection. Unlike city sewers, you need to arrange for this, and remember to have it done. Don't forget this item, or you could find yourself paying high bills and dealing with an unpleasant situation later.
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