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City of Waltham, MA
Middlesex County
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[Adopted 5-22-2017 by Ord. No. 33734]
For the purpose of this article the following terms shall be defined as follows:
BUILDING
A structure, whether portable or fixed, with exterior walls or firewalls and a roof, built, erected or framed of a combination of any materials, to form shelter for persons, animals, or property. See "structure" below.
DILAPIDATED
A condition of decay or partial ruin by reason of neglect, misuse or deterioration. The term includes, but is not limited to:
(a) 
Property having deteriorated or ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs, foundations or floors, including broken or inadequately secured windows or doors, provided that a superficial condition such as peeling paint shall not, in and of itself, be deemed to constitute a dilapidated condition.
(b) 
Property having defective weather protection for exterior wall covering or deleterious weathering due to lack of such weather protection or other protective covering such that the property is not structurally sound.
(c) 
Personal property that is broken, rusted, worn, partially or wholly dismantled or otherwise, due to deterioration, is unsuitable for the purpose for which designed.
ENFORCING AGENT
The provisions of this article shall be enforced by the Inspector of Buildings or his/her designee and any other City employee designated as an enforcing agent for any section of this article in Section 1-13(b) of the General Ordinances the City of Waltham entitled "Noncriminal disposition."
HAZARD
A condition likely to expose persons to injury, or property to damage, loss or destruction.
INTERESTED PARTIES
In connection with the notification requirements of this article, interested parties are the Building Commissioner and his assigns; owner(s) and/or occupants of a property which is the subject of a hearing; owners and/or occupants of property directly opposite the subject property on any public or private street or way; owners and/or occupants of property abutting the subject property; and owners and/or occupants of property abutting and that is within 300 feet of the property line of the subject property. Other persons who own or occupy property and who demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Building Commissioner and his assigns that they are affected by the condition of the property or building that is the subject of a hearing may be regarded as interested parties by the Building Commissioner and his assigns.
NUISANCE
Includes, but is not limited to:
(a) 
The existence of any structure or part of structure which because of fire, wind, or other natural disaster or physical deterioration is no longer salvageable or habitable as a dwelling nor useful for any other purpose for which it may have been intended.
(b) 
Dilapidated real or personal property, which includes the existence of any vacant dwelling, garage, or other outbuilding not kept securely locked, windows kept glazed, or neatly boarded up and otherwise protected to prevent entrance thereto by vandals.
(c) 
Overgrown vegetation which may harbor rats and vermin, conceal pools of stagnant water or other nuisances, provided that the failure to mow a lawn area shall not, in and of itself, be deemed to constitute a nuisance.
(d) 
Dead, decayed, diseased or hazardous trees, debris or trash.
(e) 
Personal property that is continuously exposed to the elements without protection against deterioration, rust or dilapidation.
(f) 
Unregistered motor vehicles, machinery or mechanical equipment or parts thereof that may result in the destruction of vegetation or the contamination of soil.
(g) 
The storage upon any property of building materials unless there is in force a valid building permit issued by the Inspector of Buildings for construction upon said property and said materials are intended for use in connection with such construction. In no event, however, shall the storage of building materials occur on the property in excess of 12 months without written consent from the Inspector of Buildings. Building materials shall include but shall not be limited to lumber, bricks, concrete or cinder blocks, plumbing materials, electrical wiring or equipment, heating ducts or equipment, shingles, mortar, concrete, nails, screws, steel, or any other materials commonly used in constructing any structure.
(h) 
Gravel, rock, and dirt piles stored by the owner for purposes of construction and/or landscaping and said item remains stored for more than 12 months on the owner's premises, provided that a properly maintained compost pile shall not be deemed a nuisance.
NUISANCE PROPERTY
Any property where there exists any condition constituting a "nuisance," as defined below, that seriously impairs the value, condition, strength, durability or appearance of real property, including real property owned or occupied by an "interested party," as defined herein.
OCCUPANT
A person who occupies real property with the consent of the owner as a lessee, tenant at will, licensee or otherwise. The singular use of the term includes the plural when the context so indicates.
OWNER
Every person who alone or jointly or severally with others:
(a) 
Has legal title to any building, structure or property;
(b) 
Has care, charge, or control of any such building, structure or property in any capacity, including but not limited to agent, executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the holder of legal title;
(c) 
Has a mortgage in possession; or
(d) 
Is an agent, trustee or other person appointed by the courts.
RESPONSIBLE PARTY
The owner or occupant (in the case of real property) of property that is the subject of proceedings under this article. The singular use of the term includes the plural when the context so indicates.
STRUCTURE
A combination of materials, whether wholly or partially level with, above or below the surface of the ground, whether permanent or temporary, assembled at a fixed location to give support, shelter or enclosure such as a building, framework, retaining wall, stand, platform, bin, fence (having a height at any point of six feet or greater above grade), parking area sign, flagpole, or mast for an antenna or the like.
It shall be a violation of this article to maintain, cause or create a nuisance that substantially interferes with the common interest of the general public in maintaining decent, safe, and sanitary structures that are not dilapidated when such interference results from the hazardous or dilapidated condition of private property, land or buildings. The fact that a particular structure or use may be permitted under the Zoning Ordinance[1] does not create an exemption from the application of this article.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 7, Zoning Code.
This article shall be enforced by the enforcing agent, as defined in this article and as designated in Section 1-13(b) of the General Ordinances the City of Waltham entitled "Noncriminal disposition," with the Building Inspectors as the primary enforcing agent and the Health Inspectors as the enforcing agent for violations of the State Sanitary code, as follows:
(a) 
If the enforcing agent shall be informed or have reason to believe that any provision of this article has been, is being, or is likely to be violated, he shall make or cause to be made an investigation of the facts, including an investigation of the property where the violation may exist. If he finds any violation he shall give immediate notice in writing to the owner and to the occupant of the premises of the violation and inform the owner and the occupants that the violation shall immediately cease and desist. In making such inspection, the enforcing agent shall have such right of access to premises that may be lawfully exercised by him under the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth or of the United States.
(b) 
Whoever violates any provision of this article or fails to obey any lawful order issued by the enforcing agent in enforcing this article shall be liable to noncriminal fines as provided in Section 1-13(b) of the General Ordinances the City of Waltham entitled "Noncriminal disposition." Each day that any such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. The enforcing agent may also issue a cease-and-desist order for any hazardous situation.
(c) 
If the enforcing agent determines that the condition is subject to the jurisdiction of the Board of Health or is a violation of the State Sanitary Code or any health regulation, in addition to enforcing this article, he/she shall refer the matter to the Public Health Director of the City of Waltham and/or appropriate state or city officials for action.
(d) 
If the enforcing agent determines that the condition is subject to the jurisdiction of the Fire Department or is a violation of the State Fire Code or any fire regulation, in addition to enforcing this article, he/she shall refer the matter to the Fire Chief and/or appropriate state or city officials for action.
(e) 
During investigation of the matter, the enforcing agent may consult, but is not required to do so, with any interested party in an attempt to obtain voluntary compliance with this article without the need to issue a notice of violation.
(f) 
Notice to complainant. In any matter in which a complaint has been made by a person other than the enforcing agent, the enforcing agent shall promptly notify the complainant in advance of all conferences or proceedings concerning resolution of the nuisance complaint or of any enforcement action, and the complainant shall be allowed to be present and to be heard.
(g) 
Voluntary compliance. The enforcing agent may grant the responsible party up to 120 days to correct a violation if the enforcing agent determines that the responsible party is cooperating and making a good faith effort to comply, except as provided for in Section 10-83.
If the responsible party fails to remedy the nuisance caused by a burnt or dangerous building, upon notice from the Inspector of Buildings or his/her designee to do so, said Inspector of Buildings or his/her designee may cause the nuisance to be removed as provided in MGL c. 139 at the owner's expense. Any such debt shall constitute a lien on the land upon which the nuisance was located as provided in MGL c. 139, § 3A.
Any decision by the Inspector of Buildings or any other designated enforcing agent that an activity may constitute a nuisance hereunder may be appealed to the Waltham City Council.
The Inspector of Buildings shall annually in January, and as may be requested, provide the City Council with a report that shall include all complaints of nuisance made to him during the prior month; all proceedings begun by him under this article; all pending complaints and all investigations and enforcement actions taken by the enforcing agent. The report shall state the location of the premises, a summary of the nature of the complaint, the name of the responsible party(ies), and the disposition or the status of the matter.