Town of Watertown, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 71, passed 10-27-1998; amended Ord. 73, passed 10-9-2001]
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
COMPLIANCE STICKER
A sequentially numbered sticker issued by the Superintendent for placement on individual newsracks in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
CROSSWALK
That portion of a roadway ordinarily included within the prolongation or connection of curblines and property lines at intersections, or at any portion of a roadway clearly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines on the road surface or by other markings or signs.
CROSSWALK CURB RETURN
The point at which the crosswalk pavement markings meet the sidewalk.
FIRE LANE
That portion of a public or private parking lot, private driveway or private road which is designed to provide access for fire trucks.
NEWSRACK
Any unstaffed container, box, bin, vending machine, display, stand, rack or other device used for the purpose of dispensing printed matter with or without cost to the consumer.
PARKING METER
Any mechanical device placed or erected on any public way or municipal off-street parking area within the town for the regulation of parking.
PERSON
Any individual, corporation, society, association, partnership, organization or other entity circulating printed matter.
PRINTED MATTER
Any newspaper, directory, handbill, advertising matter, magazine, circular, flyer, book, pamphlet, catalogue or other publication.
PUBLIC WAY
The entire width between property lines of every street or highway that is open to the public for purposes of travel.
ROADWAY
That portion of a public way that is intended for the use of motor vehicles.
SIDEWALK
That portion of a public way that is set aside for pedestrian travel.
SUPERINTENDENT
The Superintendent of Public Works of the Town of Watertown or their designee.
TAXI STAND
An area in the roadway in which certain taxicabs are authorized and required to park while waiting to be engaged.
TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNAL
Any device using colored lights which conforms to the standards as prescribed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whether manually, electrically or mechanically operated, by which traffic may be alternately directed to stop and to proceed.
[Ord. 71, passed 10-27-1998; amended Ord. 73, passed 10-9-2001]
(A) 
Any person who placed a newsrack or caused a newsrack to be placed upon any sidewalk or public way in the town prior to the effective date of this chapter and who wishes to maintain said newsrack on and after said date shall, within 60 days after said date, apply for a permit from the Superintendent in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(B) 
Any person who, on or after the effective date of this chapter, intends to place a newsrack or cause a newsrack to be placed on a sidewalk or public way in the town, shall apply for a permit from the Superintendent in accordance with the provisions of this chapter prior to installing the newsrack.
(C) 
The Superintendent shall provide a permit application form which shall be completed by every person who places or maintains a newsrack on a public way in the town. The form shall require the applicant to provide the following information:
(1) 
A description and sketch sufficient to show the precise address and location of each newsrack; the height, width and depth of each newsrack; and the manner in which each newsrack will be held in place;
(2) 
The name, address and telephone number of the owner of each newsrack and the name, address and telephone number of a person responsible for the maintenance and operation of the newsrack who may be contacted in an emergency; and
(3) 
A statement that the specified location and the newsrack comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(D) 
Each applicant for a permit or renewal of a permit shall prepare a single application form upon which all newsracks owned by that person and located on a public way or sidewalk in the town shall be listed, together with the information required pursuant to division (C) of this section.
(E) 
Permits shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issue and, upon application, may be renewed by the Superintendent on an annual basis.
(F) 
Any person granted a permit or renewal seeking to alter the terms of the permit shall provide an amended application prior to making alterations.
(G) 
All permit applications, amendment applications, and renewal applications shall be accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Town of Watertown in the amount of the fee specified from time to time by the Town Manager for the permit, amendment application, or permit renewal.
(H) 
The Town Manager is authorized to establish reasonable fees for original permit applications, annual renewal applications, amendment applications, compliance stickers, and reinspection fees provided that such fees do not exceed the actual cost of administering this chapter.
(I) 
Within 14 days after receipt of an application for a permit or renewal of a permit under this chapter, the Superintendent shall either issue or renew the permit or deny the application by giving written notice and a statement of reasons to the applicant. A denial shall be based upon the failure of the applicant to satisfy the requirements set forth in this chapter. Proposed locations shall be approved on a first-come, first-served basis by the Superintendent. No preference shall be given to applicants who might have had newsracks in a particular location prior to the effective date of this chapter.
(J) 
If the Superintendent has not acted on a permit application within 14 days of receipt thereof, pursuant to division (I) of this section, the permit will be deemed issued or renewed subject, however, to all other applicable provisions of this chapter.
(K) 
Within 30 days of issuing a permit, the Superintendent shall determine the compliance of the newsrack(s) with all provisions of this chapter. Based upon such determination, the Superintendent shall issue or decline to issue a compliance sticker for each newsrack. Compliance stickers shall be issued annually for each approved newsrack, which shall forthwith be affixed by the Superintendent to each newsrack.
(L) 
If the Superintendent denies an application, in whole or in part, or denies a compliance sticker, the applicant may appeal the Superintendent's decision to the Town Manager by giving written notice to the Manager within 10 days after receipt of notice of the Superintendent's decision.
(M) 
The Town Manager or designee shall hold a public hearing on the appeal no later than 30 days after receipt of said notice by the Manager and shall, within 14 days after a public hearing, issue an order affirming, reversing or modifying the Superintendent's decision. If an order has not been issued by the Town Manager within 14 days after hearing, the Superintendent's decision shall be deemed affirmed.
(N) 
During the pendency of an appeal, the newsrack(s) may remain in place subject to the removal provisions of § 4.05.
(O) 
To be in compliance with this chapter, a newsrack must have an approved permit and a compliance sticker affixed to it.
[Ord. 71, passed 10-27-1998; amended Ord. 73, passed 10-9-2001]
(A) 
No persons shall place, cause to be placed or maintain a newsrack on any public way or sidewalk:
(1) 
Within 10 feet of a handicapped access ramp;
(2) 
Within or overhanging the roadway;
(3) 
Within six inches of a curb;
(4) 
Within 15 feet of the curb return or any marked crosswalk;
(5) 
Within five feet of any fire hydrant or fire hose connection;
(6) 
Within five feet of any manhole, service gate, valve cover, sewer grate or other access panel or cover located in a public way or sidewalk;
(7) 
Within five feet of a driveway;
(8) 
Immediately adjacent to a designated loading zone, a handicapped parking space, a zone reserved for emergency vehicles;
(9) 
So as to reduce the width of a sidewalk to less than four feet for the passage of travelers unless the width of the sidewalk is otherwise reduced to less than four feet, as determined by the Superintendent, in which case the newsrack may be installed so as to avoid further reducing the width of the sidewalk;
(10) 
So as to impede ingress to and egress from legally parked motor vehicles, buses or other modes of transportation;
(11) 
So as to impede the operation of standard sidewalk snow plows in use by the Town of Watertown except where said sidewalk snow plows would be otherwise impeded, as determined by the Superintendent;
(12) 
Within a rectangular area 10 feet in front of any door of any building and three feet to either side of the door;
(13) 
So as to create an imminent danger of harm to persons or property as demonstrated by specific facts;
(14) 
Directly abutting a public flower bed, tree pit, memorial or sculpture, or on or within a memorial traffic island, circle or square designated on a list to be maintained and available during regular business hours at the Department of Public Works;
(15) 
So that it is attached to town-owned property, including a town-owned tree, traffic control signal device, police or fire call box, fire hydrant, sign or parking meter;
(16) 
Directly in front of and on the same side of the street as any parcel zoned solely for residential use as defined in the town zoning code, except at designated bus stops, MBTA crossings and parking lots. This restriction shall not apply to parcels zoned for a mixed residential and business use;
(17) 
In a manner that violates any provision of state or federal law.
(B) 
In addition to the restrictions listed in division (A) of this section, all newsracks shall meet the following standards:
(1) 
Newsracks may be secured to one another provided that they are no more than six inches apart and provided that the newsracks are aligned in a row that is parallel to the nearest curb line and no longer than 10 feet in length. Individual newsracks shall be installed parallel to the nearest curb line. Newsracks may not be clustered back-to-back to form two rows as the open area between them can become a repository of rubbish. Newsracks must be placed side by side parallel to and not less that six inches from the edge of the curb. Newsracks so placed shall face the sidewalk, not the street. Newsracks placed near the wall of a building or other structure must be placed parallel to and not more than six inches away from the wall.
(2) 
Newsracks shall not exceed the dimensional requirements of a height of 4-1/2 feet from the ground, width of two feet, and a length of two feet. Newsracks shall be constructed and maintained so that they do not constitute a hazard or safety problem for travelers and others using the sidewalks and public ways. They shall be maintained in good repair and clean and safe condition and shall be removed if their use is discontinued for a period of 20 days or longer.
(3) 
No newsrack shall bear any advertising other than that directly relating to the printed matter dispensed by the newsrack. A newsrack may dispense more than one publication (printed matter) if it is published by the owner of the newsrack or an affiliate thereof and the newsrack may bear advertising directly related to each publication dispensed by the newsrack.
(4) 
Each newsrack shall clearly display the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the machine and the person to contact in connection with the maintenance and operation thereof.
[Ord. 71, passed 10-27-1998; amended Ord. 73, passed 10-9-2001]
(A) 
No person shall place, cause to be placed or maintain a newsrack upon any sidewalk or public way in the town in violation of the provisions of this chapter.
(B) 
In the event that a newsrack is determined to be in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, including the failure to pay in a timely manner when due any fee imposed in connection with the location and maintenance of such newsracks, the Superintendent shall provide written notice to the owner or the owner's agent that the newsrack is in violation of this chapter. Such notice shall state the substance of the violation, shall set a date for compliance which shall not be less than 10 business days after the date notice is issued, shall state that the owner is subject to a penalty as specified in § 94.99 of this chapter, and shall state the right of the Superintendent to initiate removal proceedings pursuant to § 94.05.
(C) 
If the Superintendent determines that the violation has not been corrected on or after the date for compliance, the Superintendent may initiate removal proceedings in accordance with the provisions of § 94.05 and may assess a penalty in accordance with the provisions of § 94.99.
[Ord. 71, passed 10-27-1998; amended Ord. 73, passed 10-9-2001]
(A) 
Except as provided in divisions (C) and (D) of this section, the Superintendent may remove and store at the owner's expense any newsrack that remains in violation for more than 30 days after the date for compliance specified in § 94.04 provided that the Superintendent shall give written notice of removal to the owner stating the date the newsrack was removed, the reasons for removal, the storage location, and the procedure for claiming the machine. Newsracks removed pursuant to this chapter may be retrieved by the owner at any time within 30 days of its removal upon payment of a removal fee and storage fee as set by the Town Manager.
(B) 
Except as provided in division (C) and (D) of this section, the owner of any newsrack may avoid removal of the newsrack by:
(1) 
Correcting the violation and so information the Superintendent; or
(2) 
By making a written request for a hearing on the violation before the Superintendent prior to the date set for compliance in which case the newsrack may remain in place pending the Superintendent's decision on the matter. Said hearing shall be held no later than 10 days after receipt of a written request for a hearing and a decision shall be rendered within 10 days thereafter.
(C) 
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, if the Superintendent or a public safety official determines that a newsrack constitutes an imminent danger of harm to persons or property, the Superintendent or a public safety official may remove the newsrack provided that the owner of the newsrack shall be notified of such removal and provided that the newsrack shall be stored for a reasonable period of time so that the owner can retrieve it.
(D) 
If maintenance, repair, or construction of a public way, sidewalk or public or private property in or adjacent to the public way cannot be safely accomplished, in the opinion of the Superintendent, without the removal of a newsrack, the Superintendent shall give written and/or telephone notice to the newsracks's owner ordering the removal of the newsrack provided that said notice shall specify the reason for the removal and the date for compliance which shall not be less than 10 days after the date of notice. If the Superintendent determines that delay would cause an unreasonable risk of harm to persons or property or would cause a delay in the maintenance, repair or construction work, the Superintendent may remove the newsrack, provided that the owner of the newsrack shall be notified of the removal; that the newsrack shall be stored for a reasonable period of time so that the owner can retrieve it and further provided that the owner may replace the newsrack when said maintenance, repair or construction is completed.
(E) 
The Superintendent, with the approval of the Town Manager, is authorized to establish fees for the removal and storage of newsracks that are removed at the direction of the Superintendent or public safety officials in accordance with the provisions of this chapter provided that said fees do not exceed the actual cost of removal and storage.
(F) 
If a newsrack remains unclaimed for more than 60 days after notice of removal is sent to the owner or for more than 60 days after the newsrack is removed if the owner is unknown, then possession of the newsrack shall be transferred to the Watertown Police Department and the newsrack shall be disposed of as unclaimed property in accordance with law.
[Ord. 71, passed 10-27-1998; amended Ord. 73, passed 10-9-2001]
In the event that a newsrack is not in compliance with any of the provisions of this chapter as of the date set for compliance under § 94.04(B) of this chapter, then the owner of the newsrack shall be subject to a fine of $25 per day for each day of non-compliance until the date the violations are corrected or the newsrack is removed.