City of Taunton, MA
Bristol County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the City of Taunton as Rev. Ords. 1964, §§ 12-12 to 12-14 and 12-16 to 12-18 (§§ 14-6 to 14-11, 14-16 to 14-20 and 14-24 of the 2010 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarms — See Ch. 183.
Animals — See Ch. 191.
Firearms and weapons — See Ch. 254.
No person shall expose in any street or upon any public ground, or upon private ground in view of any street, any table or device of any kind intended for playing a game of hazard or chance.
[Added 5-1-1984]
A. 
Intent. In the interest of public safety, order, general good and welfare of the community and in an attempt to prevent unlawful gambling by the use of certain video or mechanical devices which because of their design and manufacture can be used for unlawful gaming purposes, the following section is hereby enacted.
B. 
Gaming device defined. The term "gaming device," as used in this section, shall be construed as meaning any device, video or mechanical, designed to take currency or credit, manufactured and designed to be played by a single individual at any one time, which is capable of making a win or lose determination within seconds, based primarily on the element of chance rather than on skill, whereby a win determination may entitle the player to receive money or property. Specifically included in this category, but without limitations, are so-called poker video machines, blackjack video machines, and any device having similar features.
[Amended 9-19-2011]
C. 
Possession, keeping or storage prohibited. The possession or keeping or storage of any gaming device as defined in this section is hereby prohibited.
D. 
Authorization of arrest and seizure. A police officer observing any violation of this section shall have the authority to arrest without a warrant the person in charge of said establishment, or vehicle, and other persons present who are accomplices, and seize the gaming devices as evidence.
E. 
Penalty. Violators of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $200 per machine or violation.
F. 
Forfeiture and disposal. Gaming devices seized under this section shall be forfeited and disposed of in the manner provided under the provisions of MGL c. 276.
[Amended 8-22-1967]
Any person who shall discard, throw, drop or otherwise place any waste, glass, metal, paper, plastic or other trash, rubbish or refuse in, within or upon any public way or private way within the City, or the water or shore of any inland waters within the City, or any premises owned or occupied by the City in any capacity, shall be punished as provided in § 1-5 of these Revised Ordinances, but it shall not be deemed a violation of this section for a resident of the City to place, or cause to be placed, on the sidewalk in front of his/her residence, any such refuse in appropriate containers for the purpose of being collected by a trash collector under contract to the City.
No person shall, in a street, willfully obstruct the free passage of foot travelers.
No person shall, in any public place or street, make any indecent figures or post or write any indecent words upon any fence, building, wall, post, guidepost, signboard, awning or lamppost in or within view of a street or other public place within the City.
No person, while on any inland waters within the City or on the shores thereof, shall annoy or cause annoyance to another person, or utter any indecent language or loud outcries, or do any indecent act.
A. 
No person shall enter upon the premises of another for the purpose of committing any wanton or malicious act, nor for the purpose or with the intention of invading the privacy of another by peeping into the windows of a house or spying upon any person resident therein.
B. 
Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to abridge or in any way limit the right of a police officer to enter upon private property or to perform any act in the performance of his official duties.
[Added 2-1-1977]
A. 
Whoever enters upon the school grounds and/or buildings in the City without authority after 9:00 p.m. during the period from June 1 to Labor Day and after 7:00 p.m. during the period from Labor Day until May 31, and at such time as no public activity is scheduled, or during daylight hours when school is not in session, shall be deemed a trespasser. This section shall include trespass by the operation of a bicycle or motor vehicle, including but not limited to a skimobile, minibike, trail bike, automobile or other powered vehicle, on school grounds.
B. 
Any such trespasser shall be subject to punishment as provided in § 1-5 of these Revised Ordinances.
[Added 12-31-1984]
A. 
Whoever enters upon the grounds of any park or playground under the control of the Park and Recreation Department between sunset and sunrise, except for purposes of attendance at a duly authorized public event or with the express approval of the Park and Recreation Commission or the Municipal Council or with the express approval of the Director of the Park and Recreation Department or designee acting under authority from the Park and Recreation Commission or the Municipal Council, shall be deemed a trespasser. This section shall include trespass by the operation of a bicycle or motor vehicle, including but not limited to a skimobile, minibike, trail bike, automobile, or other powered vehicle, on such grounds.
B. 
Any such trespasser shall be subject to punishment as provided in § 1-5 of these Revised Ordinances.
C. 
This section shall not apply to pedestrians or operators of nonmotorized bicycles making use of Taunton Green and Church Green.
[Added 5-6-1980]
A. 
Any officer authorized to make arrests may disperse, during the daytime or nighttime, any assembly of three or more persons who are on a public sidewalk or way, or in a public parking lot, or in a public place, or who are in any place to which the public has a right of access, or in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees, and by their presence or conduct, or outcries, or noise, or accosting persons of either sex, or throwing missiles or any object, or being disorderly, or creating or threatening to create a disturbance of the peace, or interfering with the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic to the detriment of the public welfare.
B. 
Persons so assembled who do not disperse when ordered, or remain within 500 feet of the place they were so directed to leave, may be arrested by any officer authorized to make arrests. Persons so dispersed who return to within 500 feet of the place they were so directed to leave, prior to the expiration of two hours, may be arrested and charged with failing to disperse.
C. 
Any violation of this section shall be punishable by not less than $100 and not more than $200. Any subsequent conviction within a twelve-month period shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $200.
[Added 12-3-1974; amended 2-12-1980]
A. 
No person shall drink alcoholic beverages as defined in MGL c. 138, § 1, while on, in or upon any public way, or upon any way to which the public has a right of access, or any place to which the public has access as invitees or licensees, park or playground, or private land or place without the consent of the owner or person in control thereof.
B. 
All alcoholic beverages used in violation of this section shall be seized and held until final adjudication of the charge against the person arrested or summoned before the court.
C. 
Whoever is found guilty of violating any provision of this section shall be liable to a fine of not more than $200 for each violation.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[Added 7-30-2013]
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed to them below:
CONSUMED
Introduced into the human body by any manner, including but not limited to inhalation and ingestion.
PERSON
An individual, corporation, partnership, wholesaler, retailer or any licensed or unlicensed business.
(1) 
Any substance as defined by 21 U.S.C. § 812(c), Schedule I, Subsection (d), excluding "marihuana" as such term is defined in MGL c. 94C, § 1, 21 U.S.C. § 812(c), Schedule I, Subsection (d), notwithstanding;[1]
(2) 
Any one or any combination of the following cannabinoids, or a substance containing any one or combination of the following cannabinoids: JWH-018, JWH-073, CP-47, 497, JWH-200, or cannabicyclohexanol; or
(3) 
Vegetable material that has been chemically treated and is possessed, sold, or purchased with the intent that it will, despite any labeling to the contrary, be consumed by humans for the purpose of voluntary intoxication, said vegetable material typically having a retail price of over $5 per ounce and contained within packaging indicating that the content is not for human consumption, which, if consumed, may induce an effect or effects of intoxication similar to a controlled substance or imitation controlled substance, said effect or effects to include elation, euphoria, dizziness, excitement, irrational behavior, exhilaration, paralysis, stupefaction, dulling of the senses or nervous system, or distortion of audio, visual or mental processes.
SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA ANALOGUE
A substance:
(1) 
The chemical structure of which is substantially similar to the chemical structure of synthetic marijuana;
(2) 
Which has a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system that is substantially similar to or greater than the stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system of synthetic marijuana; or
(3) 
With respect to a particular person, which such person represents or intends to have a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system that is substantially similar to or greater than the stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system of synthetic marijuana. [Reference: Modeled after 21 U.S.C. §§ 802(32) and 813.]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
B. 
Prohibited activity.
(1) 
No person shall sell, offer to sell, distribute, gift, or publicly display for sale any synthetic marijuana or synthetic marijuana analogue.
(2) 
No person shall knowingly possess or consume synthetic marijuana or synthetic marijuana analogue.
(3) 
This section shall apply regardless of whether the synthetic marijuana or synthetic marijuana analogue is described as tobacco, herbs, incense, spice, bath salts, plant food or any blend thereof, and regardless of whether the substance is marketed for the purpose of being smoked or ingested, and regardless of whether the substance is marked "not for human consumption."
C. 
Penalty for violation.
(1) 
Any violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine of $150 for a first offense.
(2) 
Any subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine of $300 for each offense.
(3) 
Each ounce or portion thereof shall be considered a separate offense.
D. 
Enforcement.
(1) 
This section may be enforced by criminal complaint before the District Court or by noncriminal disposition in accordance with MGL c. 40, § 21D.
(2) 
A police officer may arrest without a warrant whomever there is probable cause to believe is in willful violation of this section, pursuant to MGL c. 272, § 59.
E. 
Seizure of controlled substances. All controlled substances described in this section may be seized and held until final adjudication, whereupon they shall be destroyed by the seizing agency.
[Added 9-29-2015]
A. 
Purpose.
(1) 
The purpose of this section is to empower the City to police properties that have become a public nuisance so elevated as to endanger the common good and general welfare of a neighborhood or the City as a whole.
(2) 
This section is intended to provide a process to remedy nuisance properties. This section is intended to afford relief from nuisance properties to neighboring property owners, landlords, tenants and the community as a whole. This section does not provide an exclusive remedy and may be used in conjunction with any other ordinance, regulation or law. This section does not replace, revise or amend any other existing ordinance.
B. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CHIEF OF POLICE
The Chief of Police or Chief's designee.
DOCUMENTED CHARGE OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY
Activity documented in a police report that has resulted in either an arrest based upon probable cause or an application for a criminal complaint by a police officer for a violation of the General Laws related to firearms, illegal drug use and other violations of MGL c. 94C, prostitution, trespassing, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace or loitering.
NUISANCE PROPERTY BECAUSE OF DOCUMENTED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY
A property to which police have come more than four times in any twelve-month period resulting in a documented charge of criminal activity. A property may be deemed a nuisance property if it is reasonably determined by the Chief of Police to be a cause of criminal activity on or in the immediate area of the property. No incident shall be counted toward the incident limit if the Chief of Police reasonably determines that doing so would discourage crime reporting, provide a disincentive for a crime victim to call police, or for any other reason not inconsistent with the purpose of this section.
(1) 
The effort that a reasonable person in the position of the responsible person would take to abate the criminal activity on the property.
(2) 
The exercise of a standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in a similar situation.
(1) 
The owner of the property as reflected in the records of the City Assessor or the records of the Northern Bristol County Register of Deeds; or
(2) 
For any property which is the subject of a foreclosure proceeding, the mortgagee.
C. 
Violation. The responsible person associated with a nuisance property because of documented criminal activity is in violation of this section. This section shall not apply to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any of its political subdivisions.
D. 
Enforcement.
(1) 
The enforcement officer for this section shall be the Chief of Police.
(2) 
The Chief of Police shall determine which properties are nuisance properties because of documented criminal activity. Upon such a determination the Chief shall issue a written notice to the responsible person at the owner's address as reflected in the records of the City Assessor. The notice shall sufficiently identify the property and the criminal activity giving rise to the nuisance property determination and include a copy of the police reports for each instance of criminal activity that serves as the basis for the determination.
(3) 
The notice may contain a plan to abate the criminal activity at the property and the notice may contain a request that the responsible person contact the Chief to discuss a plan to abate the criminal-related activity. By way of illustration and not limitation, a plan may include the installation of lighting, the installation of fencing, the installation of "No Trespassing" signs, the installation of "No Loitering" signs, lawful eviction of tenants through MGL c. 139, § 19, or other lawful means. The plan must be reasonable in cost and scope, taking into account the nature and use of the property and the nature and type of the criminal-related activity. The notice shall contain a warning that fines may be assessed against the responsible person in the absence of reasonable efforts to abate the criminal activity.
(4) 
If, after the written notice, the responsible person has not made reasonable efforts to abate the criminal activity, the Chief may issue a citation and assess fines in the following amounts:
(a) 
First violation (fifth incident): $100.
(b) 
Second violation (sixth incident): $200.
(c) 
Third and each subsequent violation (etc.): $300.
(5) 
The fifth incident of a documented charge of criminal activity as defined above shall be the first violation, the sixth incident shall be the second violation, and so on. Said fines shall constitute local charges for the purposes of MGL c. 40, § 58.
E. 
Appeal. Any person aggrieved by a determination that the person is a responsible person, by a determination that a property is a nuisance property hereunder, or by the receipt of a citation may appeal, in writing, to the Committee on Police and License of the Municipal Council. The decision of the Committee shall be the final decision of the City of Taunton. Any person aggrieved by the imposition of a fine may appeal in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 40, § 21D.