Private vs public roads, Town of Dennis, MA

Private vs public roads, Town of Dennis, MA


The old adage “location, location, location” may mean more to you than you think. Do you know that the street on which you live may be state owned, town owned or privately owned? You might want to dig into its status now or you may be left digging out.

According to the Dennis Department of Public Works (DPW), a privately owned road that is open to the public may be considered a “public way,” but it may not necessarily be plowed by the town and is often not eligible for what some will consider necessary maintenance such as paving and drainage issues. The DPW periodically inspects private roads; if a road fails to pass minimum inspections standards, it will be placed on a “do not plow list” until conditions are brought up to standards set forth in the town’s “Private Way Snow Removal Policy” (linked here for you convenience).

Additionally, if your road is closed to the public, i.e. has posted signs reading “Residents Only,” “No Trespassing,” or a gate or other signage indicating the road is not open to the public, state law prohibits plowing of the road under any circumstances.

View a list of roads identified as potentially unplowable as of November 2017 here (courtesy of the Register Newspaper). You may contact the Dennis DPW at 508-760-6220 for verification and additional information.