[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Dedham 11-21-2018 ATM by Art. 16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to the Town's Home Rule powers under the Massachusetts Constitution, and the specific powers granted by M.G.L. c.139, §§ 1-3A, this by-law is adopted for the prevention of future nuisances and the removal of existing nuisances within the Town that constitute a hazard or blight, or adversely affect property values.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any condition that seriously impairs the value, condition, strength, durability, or appearance of real property, whether occupied or vacant.
- A condition of decay or partial ruin by reason of neglect, misuse, or deterioration. The term includes, but is not limited to: property with deteriorated roofs, foundations, or floors; broken or inadequately secured windows or doors; and personal property that is broken, rusted, worn, partially or wholly dismantled or otherwise due to deterioration is unsuitable for the purpose for which designed.
- Any substantial interference with the common interest of the general public in maintaining decent, safe, non-dilapidated and sanitary Structures and neighborhoods, when such interference results from the hazardous or Blighted condition of private property, land, or buildings. Any substantial interference with any public place, street or private way to include the placement of snow, ice, and any other debris that interferes with safe passage on any public roadway or sidewalk. The fact that a particular Structure or use may be permitted under the Zoning Bylaw does not create an exemption from the application of this bylaw. The term includes but is not limited to:
- A. Burned structures not otherwise lawfully habitable or usable;
- B. Dangerous or unsafe Structures or personal property;
- C. Dilapidated Structures or property;
- D. Overgrown vegetation which may harbor rats and vermin, conceal pools of stagnant water or other threats to the public health, or which is otherwise detrimental to neighboring properties or property values;
- E. Dead, decayed, diseased, or hazardous trees, debris or trash;
- F. Signs that block or obscure the line of sight for vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic;
- G. Personal property that is exposed to the elements without protection against deterioration, rust, or Dilapidation;
- H. Vehicles, machinery, or mechanical equipment or parts thereof that are located on soil, grass, or other porous surfaces that may result in the destruction of vegetation or contamination of soil.
- A person who occupies real property with the consent of the owner as a lessee, tenant at will, licensee, or otherwise.
- Every person who alone or jointly or severally with others:
- A. Has legal title to any building, Structure, or property subject to this Bylaw; or
- B. Has care, custody, or control of any such building, Structure or property in any capacity including but not limited to agent, executrix, administratrix, trustee, or guardian of the estate of the holder of legal title; or
- C. Is a mortgagee in possession of such property; or
- D. Is an agent, trustee, or other person appointed by the courts and vested with control of such property; or
- E. Is an officer or trustee of the association of unit owners of a condominium.
- 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 of a height at any point of six feet or greater above grade, parking area sign, flagpole, mast for an antenna, or the like.
All property in the Town of Dedham, whether occupied or vacant, shall be maintained in good repair and in a safe and sanitary condition. No owner, or in the case of real property, Occupant, of property shall create, permit, or maintain a condition or activity on their property that creates Blight or a Nuisance as those terms are defined herein.
This bylaw may be enforced in accordance with Section 1-6 of the General Bylaws, and the election of one remedy shall not preclude enforcement through any other lawful means. Nothing herein shall preclude the enforcing person from providing a warning or seeking to resolve any violation informally.
Except in the case of an emergency posing an immediate threat to the public health and safety or as otherwise provided herein, the enforcing person shall seek to provide immediate notice in writing to the Owner and Occupant of a property being maintained in violation of this Bylaw, outlining such violation in general terms and providing a reasonable deadline for taking corrective action ("Enforcement Order"). The enforcing person may, if the Owner or Occupant fails to comply with such Enforcement Order, seek to enforce such order as set forth herein.
If the Owner or Occupant fails to timely remedy the violation in accordance with an Enforcement Order, the Town may cause the Nuisance to be removed in accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 139, §§ 1-3A or otherwise in accordance with a court order for such purposes.
Persons who own or occupy property directly or diagonally across the street, or who are abutters to abutters within 300 feet of the property line, of a property being maintained in violation of this Bylaw may submit a complaint to the enforcement person, and, if so submitted, shall be provided with copies of any notices or written orders provided to the Owner or Occupant of such property and of any pleadings filed in court with respect thereto.
The Building Inspector or other official specified by the Town Manager shall file with the Town Manager every six months, or at such other longer interval as the Town Manager shall require, a report that shall include all complaints of Nuisance or enforcement actions initiated under this bylaw during that period. Said report shall include the location of the premises at issue, summary of the nature of the complaint, the name(s) of the Owner and Occupant, and any action taken.
This Bylaw is intended to further the objectives of and to act in concert with any existing federal, state, or local laws concerning the maintenance of property and the abatement of Nuisances, and nothing herein shall be deemed to limit or restrict Town officials whatsoever from acting in accordance with such laws.
The invalidity of any section, provision, paragraph, sentence, or clause of this bylaw shall not invalidate any other section, provision, paragraph, sentence, or clause thereof, nor shall it invalidate any permit or determination that previously has been issued.