City of Fitchburg, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted as §§ 19-1 through 19-38 of the 1965 Code]
When any change of grade or alteration is required to be made in any public highway, street, sidewalk or bridge which may cause damage to abutters or others or may render the City liable to a suit or claim therefor, the Commissioner of Public Works, before commencing such work, shall make a full and particular survey and plan of such proposed repairs, alteration or work and ascertain the level of such way or sidewalk with reference to permanent objects in the vicinity and shall preserve such records, plans or other evidence thereof that the same may be proved in case of any future suit or claim against the City.
No street less than 50 feet wide shall be laid out or accepted by the City unless a building line shall be established therewith so as to provide a total space of such width free from any building thereof, excepting from this section all streets laid out as of December 15, 1953.
All petitions for laying out, widening, altering or discontinuing any street shall first be presented to the Council and be referred by it to its Committee on Public Works. Every such petition shall be accompanied by an agreement referring thereto, signed by all the parties who claim no damages or will release their damages and by those who will accept specific damages of an amount therein stated, and also by a statement containing the names of all parties who decline to release or state their prospective damages.
Every petition filed under the provisions of § 157-6 shall also be accompanied by an accurate plan and profile showing the existing length, width, lines and grade, if any, of the street which the petitioners desire to have laid out, widened, altered or discontinued; the abutting lands, with the fences and buildings thereon and the length of the frontage of each estate; the lands to be taken and the names of the owners thereof. Each such petition shall also show, in red ink, the proposed lines and grade of such street and give sufficient references to stakes or other boundary marks on the premises to enable the Commissioner of Public Works to locate it with accuracy.
The Committee on Public Works, upon consideration of any petition or order referred to it by order of the Council for laying out, widening, altering or discontinuing any street, shall report to the Council whether in its judgment the common convenience and necessity require that such street should be laid out, widened, altered or discontinued. If the Committee shall report that any street ought to be laid out, widened, altered or discontinued, it shall cause the measurements and boundaries of such street as proposed to be laid out, widened, altered or discontinued to be marked out distinctly on the premises by the Commissioner and to be described in its report and shall specify the manner in which such laying out, widening, altering or discontinuance should be completed. The Committee shall also report the names of the owners of all lands included therein and those sustaining damages by the laying out, widening, altering or discontinuance of such street as proposed. The provisions of this section shall in no way limit the power of the Council to act in the premises independently of the Committee on Public Works.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Before acting on any petition or order referred to in § 157-8. the Council shall hold a public hearing thereon, notice of which hearing shall be published in a newspaper in the City at least once not later than 15 days before such hearing, and also shall be delivered to each abutting owner at his or her usual place of abode or business not later than 15 days before such hearing, which notices shall state the time, place and purpose of the hearing. After the hearing, the Council may proceed to act upon the petition or order with reference thereto.
All money received from assessments for benefit or advantage to real estate by reason of the laying out, widening, discontinuance, change of grade or other alteration of streets is hereby appropriated and shall be credited to the account of new street construction.
No street shall be prepared or opened for public travel over private lands by any person except in accordance with a plan filed with and approved by the Commissioner of Public Works, showing its proposed location, width and grades, or unless constructed and maintained in such manner as to be reasonably safe for travel at all times. The Commissioner may close the entrance thereto from a public street until it is made reasonably safe for travel.
Any petition for laying out a street which shall in its effect involve the acceptance by the City of a private street constructed or projected over private lands shall be accompanied either by a certificate from the Commissioner that such street has actually been constructed in compliance with the following requirements and specifications or by an agreement of the petitioners that they will bear the expense of such construction and completion:
A. 
Such street shall be constructed and completed in accordance with a plan and profile thereof filed with and approved by the Commissioner, showing its proposed location, width and grades and the location and grades of all connecting streets, and drawn to such scale as the Commissioner may require and to his or her satisfaction.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
B. 
Such street shall be constructed in a manner reasonably safe for travel and with a roadway of such width as the Commissioner may require and of such cross section as he or she may prescribe.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
C. 
The whole area of such street shall be cleared of stumps, rocks, roots and other superfluous or objectionable material and of all trees not intended for preservation, and trees intended for preservation shall be properly protected by boxes or fences against injury.
D. 
All clay, loam and loamy material shall be removed from the limits of the roadway and sidewalks, if required by the Commissioner, to such depth as he or she may approve and shall be deposited outside the limits of such street.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
E. 
All work in excavation and embankment shall be brought accurately to such a subgrade as the Commissioner may require, and all side slopes thereof within such street or on adjoining land shall be at such ratio as he or she may furnish.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
F. 
All corners of intersecting streets shall be rounded, and granite bounds shall be set at all angles, curves and corners of such street and those made with such connecting streets, according to the direction and approval of the Commissioner.
No permit for the construction or alteration of a building shall be granted on any street over private land until such street is laid out and the lines and grade thereof are established or until such street is accepted by order and decree of the Council.
No sidewalk shall be laid out or established and no other work of any kind in any street shall be begun, the cost of which may be charged wholly or partly to abutting owners, unless such owners shall have been given an opportunity to be heard thereon.
The several streets in the City shall continue to be called and known by the names heretofore established, and all streets hereafter laid out and accepted shall be named by the Council. The Council may change the name of any street.
No name shall be given to any street which has already been given to any other street.
The Commissioner of Public Works shall erect and maintain in conspicuous places on each street in the City one or more signs, on posts or otherwise, which shall bear the name given to the street by the Council.
A. 
The Commissioner of Public Works shall cause numbers of regular series to be affixed to or inscribed on all dwelling houses and other buildings erected or fronting on any public or private way in the City and shall have the power to determine the form, size and material of such numbers.
B. 
No person shall neglect or refuse to affix to any building owned by him or her the street number designated for such building, nor shall any person affix to or suffer to remain on any building owned by him, for more than three days, a street number other than the one designated for such building by the Commissioner of Public Works.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Whenever the Commissioner of Public Works is about to construct or repair any way, the surface of which is paved with block, macadam or otherwise or is rolled, he or she shall, before beginning work, give reasonable notice of such intention to the head of each City department, to corporations that may be affected thereby and to all abutting owners having connections by drains or otherwise with structures in such way. If any of such departments, corporations or owners have any work to be done in the public way so designated, such department, corporation or owner shall consult and arrange with the Commissioner that such work may be done before the surface of such way is again prepared for public travel, and after being given such notice and opportunity, shall not break up such way within the area of such previous disturbance during three years thereafter, except in case of absolute necessity. No street shall be excavated for any purpose between the 15th day of November and the first day of April except in the case of necessity.
When any highway, bridge or street shall from any cause be unsafe or inconvenient, the Commissioner of Public Works shall forthwith put a suitable fence across such highway, street or bridge and exclude all travelers from passing over the same or shall cause the parts which are unsafe and inconvenient to be enclosed by a sufficient fence or guard so long as they remain unsafe or inconvenient and shall maintain thereon one or more lighted lanterns every night, from twilight in the evening through the whole night, so long as the fence or guard shall be required.
No person shall, without authority, enter or remain upon any portion of a public street which has lawfully been enclosed, barricaded or roped off.
No person shall alter or cause to be altered the height or width of any sidewalk in the City without written permission from the Commissioner of Public Works.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
No person shall suffer or permit any water or other liquid substance to run or be discharged from any building or real estate owned by him or her or under his or her control into or across any street or sidewalk.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
No person shall allow any sink water or other impure water or any wastewater to run from any building or lot occupied by him or her or under his or her legal control into any street without permission from the Commissioner.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
No person shall permit water from the eaves or leader pipes of any building occupied or cared for by him or her to be discharged upon the sidewalk of any public street or make or permit any drain sluice gully or conduit upon his or her land or building to discharge water upon such sidewalk.
No person shall wash with water from a hose or pipe of any kind any windows or parts of a store or other building whereby any sidewalk may become wet except before 7:30 a.m. or after 9:30 p.m.
No person shall distribute, drop, place or suffer to remain in or upon any street any vegetable or animal matter, ashes, waste, dirt, stones, rubbish or garbage of any kind whatsoever except under the direction or regulations of the Commissioner of Public Works and in compliance with any regulations or requirements of the Board of Health.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
No person shall cast, place or deposit on any part of any street or sidewalk any part of any fruit or vegetable or other substance which is likely to cause any person to slip or fall if he or she should step on it.
No person shall throw, scatter, drop or place, or shall cause to be thrown, scattered, dropped or placed, in or upon any street or other public place within the City, any glass, tacks, nails, pieces of metal or any other substance likely to damage any wheeled vehicle having tires of rubber.
[Amended 3-5-2002 by Ord. No. 30-02]
No person shall place or move any building in or through any street except in accordance with a building permit from the Building Department, nor while doing such work under such permit, remove any shade tree in a street or any branch thereof except in accordance with authority granted by the department head or board having jurisdiction or control over the trees in question nor in doing such moving or placing, interfere with the fire alarm telegraph or police signal systems except in accordance with permission from the officer in charge thereof, nor interfere with any streetlighting fixture, post or support except with permission of the Commissioner.
No person shall, without a license from the Commissioner, erect or maintain any bulletin board in any street, or put, place, post, affix, paint, print, write or carve any placard, handbill, poster, notice, advertisement or advertising design in any street or upon any building, tree, tree guard, box, fence, stone, sidewalk, curbstone, police or post or other object, or cause it to be done by any other person.
A. 
No person shall maintain an entrance to his or her real estate by steps descending immediately from or near the line of a street unless the same is properly guarded.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
B. 
No person shall permit a cellar door or doorway from any street into any cellar or basement to remain open when not in immediate use, nor while in such use after the beginning of twilight, unless a good and sufficient light is kept constantly at the entrance of such door or doorway.
[Amended 4-5-1966; 6-19-2012 by Ord. No. 018-2011; 3-18-2014 by Ord. No. 024-2013]
A. 
Definitions.
(1) 
Every person who alone or severally with others:
(a) 
Has legal title to any building or parcel of land, vacant or otherwise; or
(b) 
Has care, charge or control of any building or parcel of land, vacant or otherwise, in any capacity, including but not limited to as agent, personal representative, trustee or guardian of the estate of the holder of legal title; or
(c) 
Is a mortgagee in possession or otherwise in control of any property; or
(d) 
Is an agent, trustee or other person appointed by the courts and vested with possession or control of any property; or
(e) 
Is an officer or trustee of the association of unit owners of a condominium.
(2) 
Each person within this definition as owner is bound to comply with the provisions of this section as if he or she were the owner in fee.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
PERSON
Every individual, partnership, corporation, trust or other entity.
SIDEWALK
Any paved area adjacent to a public or private way which is devoted to pedestrian travel and shall include any accessory ramping and curb cuts connecting the sidewalk to the traveled portion of an adjacent street.
B. 
Duty imposed.
(1) 
The owner of any real estate abutting any sidewalk within the City shall remove or cause to be removed any snow and/or ice which has accumulated thereon, and if the ice cannot be removed completely, any remaining ice shall be made level and shall be covered with sand, salt or other suitable substance to prevent slipping. This section shall be enforced by either the Chief of Police or the Commissioner of Public Works.
(2) 
The owner must clear and sand the sidewalk so as to create a walking path of at least 36 inches or the width of the sidewalk, whichever is smaller, within the first 24 hours after the storm has abated.
C. 
Placing snow on public ways. No person, other than a municipal employee performing work for the City in the normal course of his or her municipal employment, shall place or cause to be placed any snow or ice on or into the public way.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
D. 
Sanctions.
(1) 
The fine for breach of the duty imposed by this section or for placing snow or ice on or into the public way is $200. Each day on which the owner fails to remove snow and ice as required herein shall be considered as a separate violation.
(2) 
This section imposes duties on the owners of properties abutting sidewalks. Upon the neglect or violation any of duty imposed by it, that duty may be performed by the Commissioner of Public Works or his or her designee at the expense of the person charged with the duty. The City may recover its expenses, not exceeding the penalty, in a legal action of contract.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
(3) 
All invoices for the payment of municipal charges and bills, fines or violations are due under any provision of this section or arising in connection with enforcing this section 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 will accrue interest from the due date at the rate of interest charged on tax bills under the provisions of MGL c. 59, § 57, as the same may from time to time be amended.
(4) 
The fees and charges assessed under this section, together with interest thereon and costs relative thereto, shall be a lien upon the real estate as described in MGL c. 40, § 58. The lien shall 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 registry of deeds and, 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 MGL c. 59, § 53, the enforcing authority in charge of collecting the charge or fee, or the collector of taxes, shall certify the charge or fee to the assessors, who shall forthwith add the 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 such tax.
(5) 
If the property to which such charge or fee relates is tax exempt, the 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.
(6) 
This section may also be enforced by civil process or by noncriminal disposition as provided in MGL c. 40, § 21D. The Commissioner of Public Works or his designee or any Fitchburg police officer may issue tickets to enforce this section. If enforced civilly, each day on which a violation exists shall be deemed to be a separate offense and the violator shall be subject to the following fines:
(a) 
First violation: $100.
(b) 
Second violation: $150.
(c) 
Third violation: $200.
(d) 
Fourth and each subsequent violation: $200.
(7) 
In addition to the penalties set forth above, the enforcing authority may seek an injunction from an appropriate court to restrain any violation of this section.
No person shall erect or cause to be erected any building or fence adjoining any street or public ground without first ascertaining the boundary line of the same by application to the Commissioner of Public Works. No fence or other structure shall be erected in or upon any street.
No person shall erect or remove any post in any public street except by permission from the Commissioner of Public Works. The Council may at any time order the removal of any post.
No person shall wholly or partly fill up any gutter in any street in the City or cause the same to be done without written permission from the Commissioner of Public Works.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 157-37, Obstruction of traffic, was repealed 4-15-1997 by Ord. No. 81-97.
No person shall, within the limits of any street, play any game of ball or football, throw any snowball, stone or any hard substance, fly any kite or engage in any other amusement, game or exercise interfering with the safe and convenient use of such street by any person traveling or passing along the same.
No person shall fire or discharge any gun, pistol or firearm in or across any street, provided that this section shall not apply to the use of such weapons at any military exercise or review under the authority of a commissioned officer of the militia or in the lawful defense of the person, family or property of any citizen. This section shall not apply to nor affect any duly authorized and licensed rifle ranges where target practice or tournaments are held.
No person shall, while on foot in any street, carry or display any show card, placard or sign except in accordance with a permit from the Commissioner of Public Works.
A. 
No funeral, procession or parade containing 200 or more persons or 50 or more vehicles, except the forces of the United States Army or Navy, the military forces of the commonwealth and the forces of the Police and Fire Departments, shall occupy, march or proceed along any way except in accordance with a permit issued by the Chief of Police and such other regulations as are set forth herein which may apply.
B. 
Except as allowed by law of the commonwealth, no person shall form or conduct or take part in any parade in any street, or form or conduct, for the purpose of display or demonstration, any procession or assembly of people without first obtaining a permit therefor from the Chief of Police.