City of Fitchburg, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fitchburg as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted as §§ 1-5 through 1-16 of the 1965 Code]
The catchlines of the several sections of the Code of the City of Fitchburg printed in boldface type are intended as mere catchwords to indicate the contents of the section and shall not be deemed or taken to be titles of such sections, nor as any part of the section, nor, unless expressly so provided, shall they be so deemed when any of such sections, including the catchlines, are amended or reenacted.
The enacting style of all ordinances shall be, "Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Fitchburg, as follows."
All ordinances shall be recorded by the City Clerk, in the order in which they are passed to be ordained, in a book which shall be kept in the office of the City Clerk and subject to public inspection.
Immediately upon the passage of any ordinance or amendment to any ordinance, an attested copy of the same shall be sent by the City Clerk to the Clerk of the District Court of Fitchburg and to the head of the department to which it relates.
Ordinances hereafter enacted, unless otherwise expressly provided therein, shall take effect and be in force from and after the time of passage thereof and approval by the Mayor, subject to the provisions of MGL c. 43, §§ 42 and 55, or any amendments thereof.
[Amended 5-5-1987 by Ord. No. 194-87]
All ordinances hereafter enacted or presented to the City Council for enactment shall be drafted, so far as possible, as specific amendments of or additions to the Code of the City of Fitchburg.
When in an ordinance anything is prohibited from being done without the license or permission of a certain officer or board, such officer or board shall have the power to license or permit such thing to be done. Nothing herein shall be held to permit the waiver or violation of any provision of an ordinance.
[Amended 5-5-1987 by Ord. No. 194-87]
A. 
The following definitions shall be observed for the Code and all other ordinances unless such definition would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the City Council or the context of the ordinance:
CITY
The City of Fitchburg, in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
COUNCIL
The City Council of the City of Fitchburg.
DRAINS
When used in ordinances and orders, shall be construed to mean a pipe or conduit for the conveyance of storm or groundwater.
MONTH
A calendar month.
OATH
Includes an affirmation in all cases in which by law an affirmation may be substituted for an oath, and in such cases the words "swear" and "sworn" shall be equivalent to the words "affirm" and "affirmed."
OWNER
As applied to a building or land, includes any part owner, joint owner, tenant in common, tenant by entirety, or joint tenant of the whole or of a part of such building or land.
PERSON
Includes firms, trust, corporations and associations of any nature or description.
PRECEDING and FOLLOWING
Next before and next after, respectively.
SEWER
When used in ordinances and orders, shall be construed to mean a pipe or conduit for the conveyance of house sewage only.
STREET, HIGHWAY or WAY
Includes all public ways, alleys, lanes, courts and sidewalks and those parts of public squares and places which form traveled parts of highways. Each of these words includes every other of them.
TENANT or OCCUPANT
As applied to a building or land, includes any person holding a written or oral lease of or who occupies the whole or a part of such building or land, either alone or with others.
WRITTEN or IN WRITING
Includes any representation of words, letters or figures, whether by printing or otherwise.
B. 
Word usage.
(1) 
Gender. All chapters of the City Code shall use gender-neutral language, which language shall apply to males, females, firms, partnerships, corporations or other entities. The Municipal Code of the City of Fitchburg shall be amended so as to make the language in the Municipal Code gender neutral, as follows:
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
(a) 
In each place that the word "he" appears without being followed by the word "she" or the words "or she" the words "or she" shall be immediately added after the word "he." If the reference is to "he/she," it shall be amended to read "he or she."
(b) 
In each place that the word "his" appears without being followed by the word "her" or the words "or her," the words "or her" shall be immediately added after the word "his." If the reference is to "his/her," it shall be amended to read "his or her."
(c) 
In each place that the word "him" appears without being followed by the word "her" or the words "or her," the words "or her" shall be immediately added after the word "him." If the reference is to "him/her," it shall be amended to read "him or her."
(d) 
In each place that the word "himself" appears without being followed by the word "herself" or the words "or herself," the words "or herself" shall be immediately added after the word "himself." If the reference is to "himself/herself," it shall be amended to read "himself or herself."
(e) 
In each place the word "man" appears, it shall be amended to read "man or woman."
(f) 
In each place the word "men" appears, it shall be amended to read "men or women."
(g) 
The word "Chairman" shall be deleted in each place that it appears and shall be replaced by the word "Chair," including where it is preceded by the word "Vice."
(h) 
In each place the word "patrolman" appears, it shall be amended to read "patrolman or patrolwoman."
(i) 
In each place the word "workman" appears, it shall be amended to read "worker."
(j) 
In each place the word "workmen" appears, it shall be amended to read "workers."
(k) 
All future ordinances enacted shall contain gender-neutral language as heretofore described.
(2) 
Number. The word importing the singular number only may extend and be applied to several persons and things as well as to one person and thing.
(3) 
Time. Words used in the past or present tense include the future as well as the past and present.
(4) 
Words purporting to give a joint authority to three or more officers or other persons shall be construed as giving such authority to a majority of such officers or persons.
C. 
Computation of time. The time in which an act is to be done shall be computed by excluding the first and including the last day; and if the last day be Sunday or a legal holiday, that shall be excluded.
D. 
Statute references. Whenever reference is made to MGL c. .... , § ...... this shall mean the Tercentenary Edition of General Laws.
[Amended 10-7-1965; 5-5-1987 by Ord. No. 194-87; 5-13-2008 by Ord. No. 086-08]
Whoever violates any ordinance of the City whereby any act or thing is enjoined or prohibited or required, whether included in this volume or hereafter ordained, shall, unless other provision is expressly made in this article or by statute, be liable to a penalty of $300 for each offense. Each day any violation of this Code shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.
[Amended 5-13-2008 by Ord. No. 086-08]
A. 
Any persons who violate an ordinance, and those persons acting in concert with them, including their employers or employees, agents or servants and all other persons participating in the violation, shall be liable to the penalty prescribed to the fullest extent permitted by law.
B. 
All invoices for the payment of municipal charges and bills are due within 30 days after they are mailed, unless a different due date is otherwise provided by law or ordinance. Any invoice remaining unpaid after its due date, whether established in this section or otherwise, will accrue interest from the due date at the rate of interest charged on tax bills under the provisions of General Laws Chapter 59, Section 57, as the same may from time to time be amended.
C. 
The City hereby imposes a lien on real property located within the City for any charge or fee, imposed by the City, that has not been paid by the due date. Such charges and fees include, but are not limited to, any fee due under the provisions of Chapter 94 of this Code, any charge or fee due imposed by the non-criminal ticketing process established under the Code or imposed by a department, division, board or commission. This lien shall be known as the “municipal charges lien.” The municipal charges lien will take effect upon the recording of a list of unpaid municipal charges and fees by parcel of land and by the name of the person assessed for the charge or fee in the Northern Worcester District Registry of Deeds.
(1) 
If a charge or fee which is secured by a municipal charges lien remains unpaid when the assessors are preparing a real estate tax list and warrant to be committed under General Laws Chapter 59, Section 53, the board or officer in charge of the collection of the municipal charge or fee, or the Collector of Taxes, shall certify such charge or fee to the assessors, who shall forthwith add this charge or fee to the tax on the property to which it relates and commit it with their warrant to the Collector of Taxes as part of the tax.
(2) 
If the property to which such charge or fee relates is tax exempt, such charge or fee shall be committed as the tax. A lien under this section may be discharged by filing a certificate from the Tax Collector that all municipal charges or fees constituting the lien, together with any interest and costs thereon, have been paid or legally abated. All costs of recording or discharging a lien under this section shall be borne by the owner of the property.
All fines and penalties for the violation of any ordinance shall, when received, inure to the use of the city and be paid into the city treasury, unless it be otherwise directed by the laws of the commonwealth or the ordinances of the city.
All department heads, members of boards or commissions shall qualify with the City Clerk by taking the following oath of office:
"Do you solemnly promise and swear that you will faithfully and impartially and to the best of your knowledge and ability perform and discharge all the duties incumbent upon you as (name the office) for the term for which you have been elected or until your successor shall be elected (or appointed) and qualified."
[Adopted 5-5-1987 by Ord. No. 194-87]
The ordinances of the City of Fitchburg of a general and permanent nature adopted by the City Council, as previously consolidated in the 1965 Code of the City of Fitchburg, and the ordinances of a general and permanent nature adopted by the City Council subsequent to that date, all as revised, codified and consolidated into chapters and sections by General Code Publishers Corp., and consisting of Chapters 1 through 183, are hereby approved, adopted, ordained and enacted as the Code of the City of Fitchburg, hereinafter known and referred to as the "Code."
This ordinance and the Code shall supersede all other general and permanent ordinances enacted prior to the enactment of this Code, except such ordinances as are hereinafter expressly saved from repeal or continued in force.
This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon passage and publication according to law.
This ordinance shall, upon adoption, be included in the Code as Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Adoption of Code.
A copy of the Code in loose-leaf form has been filed in the office of the City Clerk and shall remain there for use and examination by the public until final action is taken on this ordinance; and, if this ordinance shall be adopted, such copy shall be certified to by the Clerk of the City of Fitchburg by impressing thereon the Seal of the city as provided by law, and such certified copy shall remain on file in the office of the Clerk of the city, to be made available to persons desiring to examine the same during all times while said Code is in effect.
The Clerk of the City of Fitchburg, pursuant to law, shall cause to be published, in the manner required, a copy of this Adopting Ordinance in a newspaper of general circulation in the city. Sufficient copies of the Code shall be maintained in the office of the Clerk for inspection by the public at all times during regular office hours. The enactment and publication of this Adopting Ordinance, coupled with the availability of copies of the Code for inspection by the public, shall be deemed, held and considered to be due and legal publication of all provisions of the Code for all purposes.
[Amended 12-3-2002 by Ord. No. 348-02]
Any and all additions, amendments or supplements to the Code, when passed and adopted in such form as to indicate the intent of the City Council to make them a part thereof, shall be deemed to be incorporated into such Code so that reference to the Code of the City of Fitchburg shall be understood and intended to include such additions and amendments. Whenever such additions, amendments or supplements to the Code shall be adopted, they shall thereafter be printed and, as provided hereunder, inserted in the loose-leaf book containing said Code as amendments and supplements thereto. However, Chapter 181, the Zoning Ordinance, as most recently amended, and any other chapter which the City Council may from time to time so designate, may be published and printed in a separate loose-leaf book which shall contain any amendments and supplements thereto and which shall be maintained and made available in the City Clerk's office in accordance with this Code.
All ordinances of a general and permanent nature adopted subsequent to the date given in § 1-26A and prior to the effective date of this ordinance given in § 1-15 are hereby deemed to be part of the Code and shall, upon being printed, be included therein. Attested copies of all such legislation shall be temporarily placed in the Code until printed supplements are included.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
It shall be the duty of the Clerk or someone authorized and directed by him or her to keep up-to-date the certified copy of the book containing the Code required to be filed in his or her office for the use of the public. All changes in said Code and all ordinances adopted subsequent to the effective date of this codification which shall be adopted specifically as part of the Code shall, when finally adopted, be included therein by reference until such changes or new ordinances are printed as supplements to said Code book, at which time such supplements shall be inserted therein.
Copies of the Code book containing the Code may be purchased from the Clerk upon the payment of a fee to be set by City Council, which may also arrange for procedures for the periodic supplementation thereof.
It shall be unlawful for anyone to improperly change or amend, by additions or deletions, any part or portion of the Code or to alter or tamper with such Code in any manner whatsoever which will cause the law of the City of Fitchburg to be misrepresented thereby. Anyone violating this section of this ordinance shall be subject, upon conviction, to a fine of not more than $50.
A. 
Severability of Code provisions. Each section of the Code, and every part of each section, is an independent section or part of a section, and the holding of any section or a part thereof to be unconstitutional, void or ineffective for any cause shall not be deemed to affect the validity or constitutionality of any other sections or parts thereof.
B. 
Severability of ordinance provisions. Each section of this ordinance is an independent section, and the holding of any section or part thereof to be unconstitutional, void or ineffective for any cause shall not be deemed to affect the validity or constitutionality of any other sections or parts thereof.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances of a general and permanent nature, adopted and in force on the date of the adoption of this ordinance and not contained in the Code, are hereby repealed as of the effective date of this Adopting Ordinance, except as hereinafter provided.
The adoption of this Code and the repeal of ordinances provided for in § 1-25 of this ordinance shall not affect the following ordinances, rights and obligations, which are hereby expressly saved from repeal:
A. 
Any ordinance adopted subsequent to January 1, 1986.
B. 
Any right or liability established, accrued or incurred under any legislative provision prior to the effective date of this ordinance, or any action or proceeding brought for the enforcement of such right or liability.
C. 
Any offense or act committed or done before the effective date of this ordinance in violation of any legislative provision, or any penalty, punishment or forfeiture which may result therefrom.
D. 
Any prosecution, indictment, action, suit or other proceeding pending, or any judgment rendered, prior to the effective date of this ordinance, brought pursuant to any legislative provision.
E. 
Any franchise, license, right, easement or privilege heretofore granted or conferred.
F. 
Any ordinance providing for the laying out, opening, altering, widening, relocating, straightening, establishing grade, changing name, improvement, acceptance or vacation of any right-of-way, easement, street, road, highway, park or other public place, or any portion thereof.
G. 
Any ordinance or resolution appropriating money or transferring funds, promising or guaranteeing the payment of money or authorizing the issuance and delivery of any bond or other instruments or evidence of the city's indebtedness.
H. 
Ordinances authorizing the purchase, sale, lease or transfer of property, or any lawful contract or obligation.
I. 
The levy or imposition of taxes, assessments or charges.
J. 
The dedication of property or approval of preliminary or final subdivision plats.
K. 
Any ordinance providing for salaries or complements.
L. 
Any ordinance relating to traffic or parking.
M. 
Any zoning provision.
In compiling and preparing the ordinances for adoption and revision as part of the Code, certain grammatical changes and other minor changes were made in one or more of said ordinances. It is the intention of the Council that all said changes be adopted as part of the Code as if the ordinances so changed had been previously formally amended to read as such.