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 3-2-1971 by Ord. No. 85-71; amended in its entirety 4-1-1980 by Ord. No. 693-79. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Health — See Ch. 111.
Junk dealers and collectors — See Ch. 116.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
EMERGENCY
A sudden unforeseen happening or state of repairs requiring prompt action.
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
PROPERTY
Any real property within the City which is not a street or highway.
REPAIR
To restore to good condition by replacing parts or putting together something torn or broken; to restore to a healthy state.
STREET or HIGHWAY
The entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for the purposes of vehicular travel.
SUDDEN
Happening quickly and without warning, unexpectedly, immediate, without delay, instant, directly.
VEHICLE
A machine propelled by power other than human power, designed to travel along the ground by the use of wheels, treads, runners or slides and transport persons or property or pull machinery, and shall include, without limitation, automobile, truck, trailer, motorcycle, tractor, buggy and wagon.
Except as to vehicles for which other provisions are made under the laws of the commonwealth, no person shall abandon any vehicle within the City and no person shall leave any vehicle at any place within the City for such time and under such circumstances as to cause such vehicle reasonably to appear to have been abandoned.
A. 
Except as to vehicles for which other provisions are made under the laws of the commonwealth, no person shall leave any particularly dismantled, nonoperating, wrecked or junked vehicle on any street or highway within the City, nor shall any person upon a public way or where the public has access as invitees, or on any City property, within the City, repair any motor vehicle, except for an emergency repair to allow a traveler to continue on his or her interrupted journey.
B. 
As to any motor vehicle upon any public way or upon any property owned or maintained by the City of Fitchburg that is in need of repair, other than "emergency" as herein defined, the Chief of Police or his or her designee shall order the removal of such vehicle from said public way or City-owned property.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
C. 
The present owner of said vehicle shall be responsible for all monetary charges incurred in the removal and storing of said vehicle.
[Amended 1-19-1988 by Ord. No. 15-88]
A. 
Storing, parking or leaving dismantled or other such motor vehicle on private property prohibited and declared a nuisance. No person shall park, store, leave or permit the parking, storing or leaving of any motor vehicle of any kind which is in an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, inoperative, rusted, junked or partially dismantled condition, whether attended or not, upon any private property within the City. The presence of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, inoperative, rusted, junked or partially dismantled vehicle, or parts thereof, on private property is hereby declared a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this section. This section shall not apply to any vehicle enclosed within a building on private property or to any vehicle held in connection with a business enterprise lawfully licensed by the City and properly operated in the appropriate business zone, pursuant to the zoning laws of the City.
[Amended 3-5-2002 by Ord. No. 31-02]
B. 
Notice of existence of violation and notice to remove. Whenever it comes to the attention of the Building Commissioner or his or her designee that any nuisance, as defined in Subsection A of this section, exists in the City of Fitchburg, a notice in writing shall be sent by certified mail to the owner of the land where the nuisance exists notifying them of the existence of the nuisance and ordering its removal in the time specified in this section.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
C. 
Contents of notice. The written notice to the owner of the property where the vehicle is located shall contain the demand for removal specified in this section and shall contain a description of the make, if attainable, as well as the color of the abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, inoperative, rusted or junked vehicle.
D. 
Period for removal of vehicle from property. Upon receipt of written notice, the owner of the property where the vehicle is located shall be required to remove or provide for the removal of the abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, inoperative, rusted or junked vehicle during a period not to exceed 10 calendar days. Such removal shall be in accordance with the law, and said vehicles shall not be placed in a public way as prohibited by MGL c. 90, § 22B.
[Amended 3-5-2002 by Ord. No. 31-02]
E. 
Failure to remove. If the violation described in this notice has not been remedied by the owner of the property within the 10 calendar days, the Building Commissioner, or his or her designee, shall notify the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, and shall request police assistance in removing the vehicle from the property. The City is authorized to pay to any private entity who performs said towing services at the direction of the Chief of Police, or his or her designee. This removal shall be conducted in a manner similar to that used in removing vehicles from a public way, MGL c. 90, § 22C. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder or refuse to allow such person or persons to enter upon the private property for the purpose of removal.
[Amended 3-5-2002 by Ord. No. 31-02; 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
F. 
Costs for removal. If, after the ten-day period, the vehicle has not been removed by the owner of the property where the vehicle is located and the removal is carried out by the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, the fee for such removal shall be the total of the costs incurred in the removal but no less than $300 for each vehicle removed, plus any additional costs that are incurred in the gathering and removal of any dismantled parts of such vehicles. The costs of such removal shall be the responsibility of the owner of the land where the vehicle is located. The Building Commissioner, or his or her designee, shall submit the bill incurred for such removal to the owner of the land, in writing and sent to the owner of the land at his or her last and usual known address.
[Amended 3-5-2002 by Ord. No. 31-02; 12-20-2011 by Ord. No. 243-2011; 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
G. 
Attachment of lien. When it comes to the attention of the Building Commissioner, or his or her designee, that the owner of the land where the vehicle was located has refused to pay the costs of the removal for such vehicle within a period of 10 days, the Building Commissioner, or his or her designee, may take legal means to secure a lien against the property where said violations occurred.
[Amended 3-5-2002 by Ord. No. 31-02; 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
H. 
Disposal of abandoned vehicles. Whenever a private entity authorized to remove such abandoned vehicles does remove the same at the direction of the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, the entity shall dispose of such vehicle in accordance with MGL c. 135, §§ 7 through 11, MGL c. 90, § 22C.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
I. 
Notwithstanding the procedures described in the previous sections of this chapter, if an abandoned or junked vehicle constitutes an immediate danger or imminent public safety hazard such that any delay caused by prior notice would jeopardize the public health and safety, the Police Chief, or his or her designee, may tow the vehicle or take such other steps as he or she may determine to be necessary in order to eliminate the immediate threat, without prior notice to the owner. The Chief of Police, or his or her designee, shall, before taking such emergency measures, give whatever notice to the owner that is feasible and consistent with the public safety. If the public safety requires the elimination of any prior notice, the Chief, or his or her designee, shall provide notice after he or she has eliminated the threat advising the owner of the steps taken and the reasons therefor. The costs of such removal shall be the responsibility of the owner of the land where the vehicle is located. The Chief of Police, or his or her designee, shall submit the bill incurred for such removal to the owner of the land, in writing, sent to the owner of the land at his or her last and usual known address. When it comes to the attention of the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, that the owner of the land where the vehicle was located has refused to pay the costs of the removal for such vehicle within a period of 10 days, the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, may take legal means to secure a lien against the property where said violations occurred.
[Added 2-3-2009 by Ord. No. 007-09; amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
The Chief of Police, Superintendent of Public Works or any members of their departments designated by them are hereby authorized to remove or have removed any vehicle left at any place within the City which reasonably appears to be in violation of this chapter or lost, stolen or unclaimed. Such vehicle shall be impounded until lawfully claimed or disposed of in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 135, relative to unclaimed and abandoned property. Neither the removal nor the storage of a vehicle under the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a service rendered or work performed by the City. The City shall not be liable for any damage caused to a vehicle, as defined herein, arising in the course of removal or impounding, except as may be due to the negligence of the City, its servants or employees.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in an amount not exceeding $20. Each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such hereunder.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B, which dealt with penalties and which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 4-3-1990 by Ord. No. 123-90.