City of Northampton, MA
Hampshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 285-1 Definitions.

§ 285-2 (Reserved)

§ 285-3 Naming of streets and squares.

§ 285-4 Permit to display merchandise on streets required; mobile food vehicles.

§ 285-5 Sale of merchandise on streets prohibited; exceptions.

§ 285-6 Material on streets at night; lighting.

§ 285-7 Wire on streets prohibited.

§ 285-8 Placing items liable to damage tires on streets prohibited.

§ 285-9 Permit required for structures on streets and sidewalks.

§ 285-10 (Reserved)

§ 285-11 Obstruction of passage.

§ 285-12 Certain activities on streets and sidewalks prohibited.

§ 285-13 Covering of loads liable to be blown about from vehicles driven on streets.

§ 285-14 Noisemaking; permit required for sound trucks.

§ 285-15 Unauthorized erecting or moving posts prohibited.

§ 285-16 Ascertaining boundaries required prior to erecting fences or buildings.

§ 285-17 Removal of snow and ice from sidewalks.

§ 285-18 Sweeping of sidewalks abutting business premises.

§ 285-19 Unauthorized digging up or injury to vegetation on public property prohibited.

§ 285-20 Destruction of public property prohibited.

§ 285-21 Permit required to dig up or obstruct streets or sidewalks.

§ 285-22 Safety requirements for excavations or encumbrances; restoration of street.

§ 285-23 Doors and gates swinging over streets prohibited.

§ 285-24 Gratings in streets.

§ 285-25 License required for openings associated with basements.

§ 285-26 Permanent excavations under streets prohibited.

§ 285-27 Wide vehicles on public streets.

§ 285-28 Moving buildings through streets.

§ 285-29 Obstructions to sidewalks.

§ 285-30 Permit required to make curb cuts and construct driveways.

§ 285-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SIDEWALKS
Such parts of the highway, whether public or private, as are within the curbstones thereof, in all places where curbstones are set, and also such parts of such highway as have been established or used as a footwalk or sidewalk, and also such parts of any streets or highway as shall be established or used and determined as footwalks or sidewalks.
STREET or STREETS
Includes alleys, lanes, courts, public squares and public places, and it shall also be understood as including the sidewalks, unless otherwise expressed.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original § 19-2 of the 1977 Code, Width of public streets, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 2-1-2007.

§ 285-2 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 285-2, Referral of certain matters to Board of Public Works by Mayor and Council, as amended, was repealed 12-4-2014.

§ 285-3 Naming of streets and squares.

The names of the several streets and squares in the City shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Planning Board. The Planning Board shall keep a book, to be furnished by the City, in which the names of all streets and ways established, laid out, or to be laid out within the City shall be entered, with a brief description thereof, the date of layout or acceptance, if known, with the boundaries and widths thereof and any alterations at any time made therein, and with a statement of such landmarks or other established monuments appertaining thereto, so far as the same can be ascertained.

§ 285-4 Permit to display merchandise on streets required; mobile food vehicles.

A. 
No person, other than one employed directly or indirectly by the City or by the commonwealth and while in the performance of necessary public duties, shall at any time place or leave in any street, sidewalk or highway any article, material or merchandise, or park a vehicle or cart in any sidewalk, street or highway, for the purpose of displaying merchandise unless a permit issued by the Department of Public Works, in the case of City ways, or by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in the case of state highways, authorizing the use of the sidewalk, street or highway has been granted and is in effect, except as may be necessary for the reasonable and expeditious loading or unloading of any such article, material, merchandise, cart or vehicle; provided, however, that such property shall never be left so as to obstruct the free passage of pedestrians or vehicular travel. Any such fixture, structure or property as referred to in this section which has been erected, placed or left illegally in any street, highway or sidewalk may be moved by or under the direction of an officer and at the owner's expense.
[Amended 12-4-2014]
B. 
The department or officer issuing permits for such use of sidewalks, streets or highways as is described in this section may in its or his discretion, when the occasion justifies, demand a suitable cash deposit, surety bond or insurance indemnity policy to save the City or the commonwealth harmless from all liability of any nature whatsoever caused directly or indirectly by such use of the sidewalk, street or highway.
[Amended 12-4-2014]
C. 
Mobile food vehicles.
[Added 9-5-2013]
(1) 
Licenses and permits required.
(a) 
No person or entity shall operate a mobile food vehicle on any street or other public property without a mobile food vehicle permit issued by the Northampton Police Department. Any person seeking such permit shall submit an application for a mobile food vehicle to the Northampton Police Department along with the following:
[1] 
State hawkers and peddlers license.
[2] 
Form MT-1: Meals and All Beverages Sales Tax Registration Certificate.
[3] 
Northampton Health Department mobile food permit.
[4] 
Proof of comprehensive liability insurance and, where applicable, worker's compensation insurance with coverage limits as determined by the Police Department.
[5] 
Fire Department inspection (for compliance with commercial cooking regulations, fire suppression system, vent hood and fire extinguishers).
(b) 
Mobile food vehicle permits are nontransferable.
(2) 
Definitions.
MOBILE FOOD VEHICLE
A food establishment that is located upon a vehicle, or which is pulled by a vehicle, where food or beverage is cooked, prepared or served for individual portion service, such as a mobile food kitchen.
SIDEWALK
Such parts of the highway, whether public or private, as are within the curbstones thereof, in all places where curbstones are set, and also such parts of such highway as have been established or used as a footwalk or sidewalk, and also such parts of any streets or highway as shall be established or used and determined as footwalks or sidewalks.
STREET or HIGHWAY
The entire width between property lines of every way open to the use of the public for purposes of travel. Includes alleys, lanes, courts, public squares and public places, and it shall also be understood as including the sidewalks, unless otherwise expressed.
(3) 
Fee schedule.
(a) 
Mobile food vehicle application fee from the Police Department: $50.
(b) 
Mobile food vehicle permit from the Police Department: $250 (if application is approved).
(c) 
State hawkers and peddlers license: $62 paid to the state (http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/government/oca-agencies/dos-lp/dos-licensing/hawker-and-peddler-license/information.html).
(d) 
Northampton Health Department mobile food permit: $100 annually.
(e) 
A mobile food vehicle permit is nontransferable.
(4) 
Location of mobile food vehicles.
(a) 
Mobile food vehicles are not permitted to operate in the Central Business District or in areas of Florence zoned General Business, as delineated on the Northampton Zoning Map (§ 350-3.4).
(b) 
Mobile food vehicles may park and operate in legal public parking spaces outside of the Central Business District or in areas not zoned General Business in Florence. Mobile food vehicles must not impede traffic, may not park or operate in handicap spaces, commercial loading zones or other restricted parking spaces. Mobile food vehicles must pay applicable parking fees. They are exempt from the time limits on the parking meters, but must pay the meter fees during all enforcement hours. No overnight parking is allowed by mobile food vehicles.
(c) 
Mobile food vehicles are not permitted to park or operate on sidewalks.
(d) 
No permit issued hereunder shall authorize a mobile food vehicle to operate in a public park or in a City-owned parking lot.
(5) 
Space availability. Granting of a mobile food vehicle permit does not guarantee parking or space availability.
(6) 
Hours of operation. Mobile food vehicles may operate between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. Friday through Saturday.
(7) 
Service of food. Mobile food vehicles may not conduct business with people in vehicles nor shall mobile food vehicles serve customers who stop or park vehicles in a vehicle or bicycle travel lane near the mobile food vehicle. Business may only be conducted curbside. Mobile food vehicles may not provide seating of any kind. Mobile food vehicles shall not be left unattended.
(8) 
Music and amplification. Mobile food vehicles may not play loud music or use any kind of sound amplification to attract customers. See City Code § 245-4.
(9) 
Trash and recycling.
(a) 
Mobile food vehicles must provide trash and/or recycling receptacles.
(b) 
Mobile food vehicle operators must arrange for disposal of their commercial trash and recycling, and are prohibited from using public receptacles for that purpose.
(10) 
Concerns and complaints about mobile food vehicle operations. Any violation of this subsection shall be cause to suspend or revoke a permit issued hereunder. Concerns and complaints received by the City about mobile food vehicle operations will be handled by the appropriate enforcement officials, with permit review by the Police Department as it deems necessary.
(11) 
Enforcement. Violations of this subsection may be enforced by the Police Department through the noncriminal disposition procedure set out in Chapter 40, Enforcement, § 40-5.

§ 285-5 Sale of merchandise on streets prohibited; exceptions.

No person shall place or keep any goods, wares or merchandise for sale in any street or sidewalk, nor any table, stall, booth or other structure or erection in any street or sidewalk, for the sale or the exposure for sale of any goods, wares or merchandise except for articles of merchandise which may be exposed or exhibited for sale by any person in front of his place of business on a space upon the sidewalk not more than two feet from the building, if the same is so placed as to leave a sufficient and convenient passage over the sidewalk. Such prohibition shall not prevent the unloading or temporary deposit in the street or sidewalk of merchandise, fuel, building materials, or other articles in course of carriage to and from premises adjacent or neighboring, where such unloading or deposit shall be necessary, provided that the articles so deposited shall be removed forthwith and shall in no case be suffered to remain more than six hours.

§ 285-6 Material on streets at night; lighting.

No person shall allow his firewood, coal, lumber, building materials, or any other property liable to cause accident to travelers, to remain unnecessarily in any street at night or after twilight. In case of necessity, the owner thereof shall place and keep a sufficient light over or near the same through the night in order to give notice thereof to travelers.

§ 285-7 Wire on streets prohibited.

No person shall permit an unused piece of wire to be left on any street or sidewalk, nor any unused coil or loose end of wire to remain attached to any post, cross-arm or fixture for more than 24 hours.

§ 285-8 Placing items liable to damage tires on streets prohibited.

No person shall put or place, or cause to be put or placed, in or on any street, lane, alley or other publics place in the City any ashes, glass, crockery, scrap iron, nails, tacks or any other articles which would be liable to injure or damage the tires or wheels of bicycles or automobiles or any other vehicles which have wheels with rubber or pneumatic tires.

§ 285-9 Permit required for structures on streets and sidewalks.

[Amended 11-21-2013]
A. 
No person shall place, erect or cause to be placed or erected within any sidewalk or street any fixture or structure unless a permit, issued by the Department of Public Works in the case of the City ways or by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in the case of state highways, authorizing such placing or erection, has been granted and is in effect. Any fixture, structure or property in violation of this section may be moved by or under the direction of an officer and at the owner's expense.
[Amended 12-4-2014]
B. 
Anything within a sidewalk, street, or on a public building, except property under the jurisdiction of the School Committee, that is considered public art by the Arts Council and is reasonably expected to last longer than 90 days shall not be installed without a permit from the Arts Council. Public art may include, but is not limited to, murals, sculptures, and art installations.

§ 285-10 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 285-10, Lowering merchandise over streets from buildings, was repealed 12-4-2014.

§ 285-11 Obstruction of passage.

[Amended 9-3-1998]
No person shall remain in or block the entrance to any doorway or driveway in or about any building after being notified to move by the owner or individual in control of said premises. No person shall obstruct any sidewalk or public passageway in such a way that the public's right to travel on said way is blocked or endangered. Refusal to move after proper notification and in the presence of a police officer will be deemed a violation of this section.

§ 285-12 Certain activities on streets and sidewalks prohibited.

[Amended 4-22-1965; 12-20-1979; 2-5-1987; 5-7-1987; 1-17-1991; 6-16-1994; 12-18-1997; 9-3-1998; 10-7-1999]
A. 
No person shall ride, drive, propel or use a sidewalk surfboard, skateboard, roller skates, or in-line skates on the following public areas, public ways and sidewalks adjacent to the following streets:
(1) 
Route 5 between Allen Place and Pearl Street and Route 9 between Pomeroy Terrace and State Street.
(2) 
Downtown Business District.
Name of Street
Location
Armory Street
Entire length
Center Street
Entire length
Crafts Avenue
Entire length
Gothic Street
From Main Street to Allen Place
Hampton Avenue
Entire length
Hawley Street
From Bridge Street to Butler Place
Market Street
From Bridge Street to Union Street
Masonic Street
Entire length
Old South Street
From Main Street to Conz Street
Pearl Street
Entire length
State Street
From Bedford Terrace to Main Street
Strong Avenue
Entire length
(3) 
Downtown municipal parking areas.
(4) 
Pulaski Park.
(5) 
Florence: Main Street from Maple to Chestnut Street.
(6) 
All Northampton public school property.
B. 
Provisions for bicycles.
(1) 
Bicycles shall be allowed to be driven on all streets and on all sidewalks outside the Central Business District and the General Business District.
[Amended 4-5-2018 by Ord. No. 18.043]
(2) 
Bicycles shall not be allowed to be driven on the sidewalks in the Central Business District and General Business District, except that bicycles shall be allowed to be driven in those districts on any section of sidewalk that is part of any marked multiuse trails (bicycle path), or marked cycle track or buffered bicycle lane.
[Amended 4-5-2018 by Ord. No. 18.043]
(3) 
Bicycles shall not be allowed to be driven in Pulaski Park.
(4) 
Walking bicycles shall be allowed in all areas where they are not allowed to be driven.
C. 
Recreational activities; throwing objects; yielding right-of-way; cease and desist.
(1) 
No person shall engage in any recreation or activity upon any City sidewalk(s) and/or street(s) in a manner that endangers the safety and rightful passage of pedestrian traffic.
(2) 
The throwing or launching of any projectile, including but not limited to items such as stones and snowballs, upon or across any public street or sidewalk is prohibited when such activity endangers the public safety.
[Amended 9-3-1998]
(3) 
All persons riding nonmotorized wheeled conveyances such as bicycles, roller skates, in-line skates (roller blades) and skateboards or any other human propelled vehicle as allowed by this section must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at all times.
(4) 
Any individual(s) refusing to cease such activity as listed herein after being requested to do so by a police officer will be deemed to be in violation of this section.
D. 
Exemptions. The following motorized and self-propelled vehicles shall be exempt from the provisions of this section:
(1) 
Bicycles used by police officers exempt from all the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
Wheelchairs, walking aids, motorized or self-propelled vehicles, which are used to accommodate persons with disabilities.
(3) 
Children's carriages or personal shopping baskets or carts; delivery carts.
(4) 
Children under the age of 10 years with adult supervision riding wheeled toys, bicycles with training wheels and tricycles.
(5) 
Vehicles used for sidewalk or lawn maintenance (e.g., snowblowers).

§ 285-13 Covering of loads liable to be blown about from vehicles driven on streets.

No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any street or highway, nor shall any owner of any vehicle knowingly permit such vehicle to be driven or moved on any street or highway, unless such vehicle is so constructed or so loaded as to prevent its contents from spilling, dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping therefrom. Vehicles loaded with any material which may be blown about by the wind shall be suitably covered to prevent the contents from being blown upon the streets or highways.

§ 285-14 Noisemaking; permit required for sound trucks.

A. 
No person shall cry any wares, or ring or cause to be used any noisemaking instrument in any street, to the disturbance and discomfort of the inhabitants thereof, for the purpose of advertising or for giving notice of the exercise of a business or calling, or of the sale of any article.
B. 
The provisions of this section shall not apply to the use of sound trucks; provided, however, that no person shall operate a sound truck until he first has obtained a permit from the Chief of Police. No person shall operate a sound truck in any street at any time between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. No person shall operate a sound truck at any time in any territory designated as a "Zone of Quiet."

§ 285-15 Unauthorized erecting or moving posts prohibited.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
No person shall erect or move any post, pole or other structure in any street except by consent of the Department of Public Works.

§ 285-16 Ascertaining boundaries required prior to erecting fences or buildings.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
No person shall erect or cause to be erected any fence or building adjoining any street or public ground in the City, without first having ascertained the bounds of the same by application to the Department of Public Works.

§ 285-17 Removal of snow and ice from sidewalks.

[Amended 7-15-1999; 12-4-2014; 4-2-2015]
A. 
The owner responsible for a building, structure or lot of land bordering on any street, lane, court, square or public place within the City where there is a sidewalk, including any curb ramp/cut, shall, after snow has ceased to fall thereupon or whenever snow shall have collected or deposited upon any such sidewalk, within 24 hours, remove the same or cause the same to be removed from such sidewalk; and also remove or cause to be removed from such sidewalk, or cover or cause to be covered with sand or some other suitable substance, within 24 hours after it has formed or appeared, any ice with which the same may be encumbered, in such a way as to render such sidewalk safe and convenient for travel, to the full width. For property located in the Central Business District or in areas of Florence zoned General Business as delineated on the Northampton Zoning Map, the above requirements must be met within 24 hours or by 9:00 a.m. on the next business day, whichever is sooner. If a person is found to be violating the provisions of this section, it shall be the duty of the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, the Director of Public Works, or his/her designee, or Parking Enforcement Officers, to assess a fine to any such person in accordance with the fine schedule set forth in Chapter 40, Enforcement, § 40-5. Each twenty-four-hour period a violation of Subsection A or B exists shall be considered to constitute a separate offense.
B. 
No person shall place, deposit, or move ice or snow onto the paved surface of a street, or onto a gravel shoulder area, if any.
C. 
Upon neglect of or violation of the duties imposed by the provisions of Subsections A and B of § 285-17, such duties may be performed by the Director of Public Works or his/her designee at the expense of the person(s) or entities liable to perform those duties. Assessment of costs under this subsection shall not preclude any party from being fined under § 40-5.

§ 285-18 Sweeping of sidewalks abutting business premises.

The owner of premises in the City, occupied wholly or in part by a business establishment, shall cause the public sidewalk abutting said premises to be swept at the opening of each business day and shall cause the sweepings to be picked up. No such sweepings shall be swept or deposited onto the street, roadway or gutter.

§ 285-19 Unauthorized digging up or injury to vegetation on public property prohibited.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
No person shall dig up, cut down, climb, pull, cut, deface, injure or destroy any tree, shrub, vine or plant in any street, way or public ground of the City without the consent of the Department of Public Works, or the persons having such ground in charge.

§ 285-20 Destruction of public property prohibited.

[Amended 10-7-1993; 12-4-2014]
A. 
No person shall intentionally injure, mar, deface, remove, cut, paint, mark, place graffiti upon, or destroy any public property, including but not limited to walls, fences, signboards, awnings, guide posts, street signs, streetlights, utility poles, trash receptacles, traffic control devices, culverts, bridges, park benches, playground equipment, trees, shrubs, plantings, and art work in any street, public square, park, playground, parking area, or other area owned or controlled by a department or agency of the City of Northampton.
B. 
No person shall intentionally injure, mar, deface, remove, cut, paint, mark, place graffiti upon, or destroy any public building owned or controlled by a department or agency of the City of Northampton.
C. 
Violations of this section shall be punished by a fine of $100 for the first offense and $300 for the second and all subsequent offenses. Violations may also be processed under the noncriminal violation procedure under Chapter 40 of the Code of Ordinances.

§ 285-21 Permit required to dig up or obstruct streets or sidewalks.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
A. 
No person shall break or dig up any street or sidewalk, or erect any staging for building or place or deposit any stone, bricks, timber or other building materials thereon without obtaining a written permit from the Department of Public Works and complying in all respects with the conditions of such permit.
B. 
The Department of Public Works may grant a permit in writing to any person for the purpose of building or other lawful purpose, to dig up, obstruct or encumber so much and such parts of any street or sidewalk as may be needed, and every person receiving such permit shall execute a written agreement, with a bond if required, to indemnify and save harmless the City against all damage or cost from reason of any claim for damages or any process, civil or criminal, on account of the existence of such obstruction, encumbrance or excavation, or any injury to any person occasioned thereby, and no person shall dig up, obstruct or encumber any portion of any street, except in accordance with such permit, which shall be exhibited to any police officer upon the request so to do.

§ 285-22 Safety requirements for excavations or encumbrances; restoration of street.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
Whenever any street or sidewalk, under any license granted as provided in § 285-21, is dug up, obstructed, encumbered or otherwise rendered unsafe or inconvenient for travelers, the person so licensed shall put up and at all times keep a suitable railing or fence around the section or part of any such street or sidewalk so dug up, obstructed or encumbered, so long as the same remains unsafe or inconvenient, and shall also keep one or more lighted lanterns fixed to such fence, or in some other proper manner, every night, from twilight in the evening and through the night, so long as such railing or fence is kept standing. He shall also, within such reasonable time as the Department of Public Works shall direct, restore and repair such street to the acceptance of the Department of Public Works.

§ 285-23 Doors and gates swinging over streets prohibited.

No person shall make, erect or maintain any gate or door in or upon any street in such manner that when opening the same it shall swing over such street.

§ 285-24 Gratings in streets.

No person shall place or maintain a grating in a street, the space between the bars of which is more than two inches in width, nor shall any person extend any such grating more than 18 inches from a building into a street.

§ 285-25 License required for openings associated with basements.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
No person shall make, erect or maintain doorsteps, a portico, porch, entrance or passageway to any cellar or basement or any structure, or make a coal hole or other opening in or upon any street, without a license from the Department of Public Works. In all cases the limit for such structure or opening shall be 3 1/2 feet from the street line. No person shall suffer the platform or grate of the entrance or passageway to his cellar or basement in any street to rise above the even surface of any street, and every such entrance or passageway shall be kept covered by suitable and substantial platform or grate, or in case it is kept open, it shall be guarded and protected by a sufficient railing on both sides thereof, at least 2 1/2 feet high and well lighted at night.

§ 285-26 Permanent excavations under streets prohibited.

No person shall make any permanent excavation under the surface of a street, the inner face of the wall of which extends further under the street than to a line 18 inches inside the line of the outer edge of the curbstone or sidewalk.

§ 285-27 Wide vehicles on public streets.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
No person shall drive or convey through the public streets any vehicle the width of which, with its load, exceeds 10 feet, except in accordance with a license from the Department of Public Works.

§ 285-28 Moving buildings through streets.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
A. 
No person shall move or assist in moving any building through or upon any street unless a written license therefor has been first obtained from the Department of Public Works, specifying the terms and conditions on which removal may be made.
B. 
No person thus licensed shall act under his license until he has filed with the Department of Public Works a bond of guaranty with, if required, a sufficient surety and satisfactory in amount, to indemnify the City from all loss and damage by reason of such removal.
C. 
No building shall be moved through any street until the chimneys of the building have been taken down even with the roof.

§ 285-29 Obstructions to sidewalks.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
No person shall allow an obstruction to a sidewalk, or to the edge of road pavement or shoulder where a sidewalk does not exist, including any obstruction in the form of a tree, bush or other vegetation which protrudes over said sidewalk or edge of a road pavement or shoulder. Where the Department of Public Works deems that an obstruction to a sidewalk or to the edge of a road pavement or shoulder exists, it shall give notice by registered mail to the owner of the property causing the obstruction, to remove or prune said obstruction within 14 days so as not to block, obstruct or overhang the sidewalk or edge of the road pavement or shoulder. If the property owner fails to remove or prune the obstruction within said 14 days, the Department of Public Works or, in the case of trees, bushes or shrubs, the Tree Warden shall remove or prune the obstruction at the owner's expense.

§ 285-30 Permit required to make curb cuts and construct driveways.

[Amended 12-4-2014]
A. 
No person shall make a curb cut or construct a driveway unless a permit is issued by the Department of Public Works in the case of City ways or by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in the case of state highway layouts.
B. 
The Department of Public Works, in the case of City ways, shall establish rules and regulations for the construction of curb cuts and driveways in order to prevent siltation, washing of gravel and debris into the roadway and obstruction of storm drainage within the street layouts. Provision shall be made for traffic and pedestrian safety in granting said permit.