Town of Georgetown, MA
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Georgetown 3-6-1967 Annual Town Meeting, Art. 23. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 33.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 53.
Plumbing standards — See Ch. 109.
Wetlands protection — See Ch. 161.
Zoning — See Ch. 165.
Subdivision regulations — See Ch. 365.
Sewage disposal — See Ch. 462.
Building and occupancy permits — See Ch. 510.
The purpose of this code[1] is to provide for safety, health and public welfare through structural strength and stability, means of egress, adequate light and ventilation and protection to life and property from fire and hazards incident to the design, construction, alteration, removal or demolition of buildings and structures.
Editor's Note: References throughout this chapter to "this code" refer to the State Building Code. See MGL C. 23B, § 19.
The provisions of this code apply to the construction, alteration, equipment, use and occupancy, location and maintenance of buildings and structures and to appurtenances such as vaults, areaways and street encroachments hereafter erected and, where expressly stated, existing on land or over water and to buildings and structures and equipment for the operation thereof hereafter moved or demolished in the municipality. The provisions of this code based on occupancy also apply to existing buildings and structures or portions thereof converted from one occupancy classification to another.
Nothing in this code shall be construed to prevent the enforcement of other laws which prescribe more restrictive limitations.
It shall be unlawful to construct, alter, remove or demolish, or to commence the construction, alteration, removal or demolition of a building or structure or install equipment for the operation of a building or structure without first filing with the Building Official an application in writing and obtaining a formal permit. The Building Official may require a plan of the proposed work, together with a statement of the materials to be used.
The Building Official shall inspect all buildings or structures during construction to see that the provisions of law are complied with and that construction is prosecuted safely. Whenever in his opinion, by reason of defective or illegal work in violation of a provision of the code, the continuance of a building operation is contrary to public welfare, he may order all further work to be stopped and may require suspension of work until the condition in violation has been remedied.
In buildings, structures or portion thereof used for business, industrial, mercantile or storage occupancies, the live load for which each floor or part of a floor is designed and approved shall be conspicuously posted in that part of the story to which it applies.
All matters not covered by this code shall conform with generally accepted good practice. The 1955 Edition of the National Building Code recommended by the National Board of Fire Underwriters shall be deemed to be generally accepted good practice.
Removal or made safe. When a building or structure or any portion thereof is found unsafe upon inspection by the Building Official, he shall order such building or structure or any portion thereof to be made safe or taken down and removed. The term "unsafe building or structure or portion thereof" shall include buildings or structures or portions thereof structurally unsafe; unstable; unsanitary; inadequately provided with exit facilities; constituting a fire hazard; unsuitable or improper for the use or occupancy to which they are put; constituting a hazard to health or safety because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence of abandonment; or otherwise dangerous to life or property.
Restoration of unsafe building or structure. A building or structure or part thereof declared unsafe by the Building Official may be restored to safe condition, provided that if the damage or cost of reconstruction or restoration is in excess of 50% of the value of the building or structure, exclusive of foundations, such buildings or structures, if reconstructed or restored, shall be made to conform with respect to materials and type of construction to the requirements of this code, but no change of use or occupancy shall be compelled by reason of such reconstruction or restoration.
Notice of unsafe buildings or structures. Upon determining that a building or structure or portion thereon is unsafe, the Building Official shall serve or cause to be served on the owner, or some one of the owners, executors, administrators, agents, lessees or other persons who may have a vested or contingent interest in the same, a written notice containing a description of the building or structure or portion thereof deemed unsafe, a statement of the particulars in which the building or structure or portion thereof is unsafe and an order requiring the same to be made safe and secure or removed, as may be deemed necessary by him. If the person to whom such notice and order is addressed cannot be found after diligent search, then such notice and order shall be sent by registered mail to the last known address of such person; and a copy of such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises to which it relates. Such mailing and posting shall be deemed adequate service.
Disregard of unsafe notice. If the person served with a notice or order to remove or repair an unsafe building or structure or portion thereof should fail, within a reasonable time, to comply with the requirements thereof, the Building Official shall advise the corporation counsel of all the facts in the case, and shall institute an appropriate action in the courts to compel a compliance.
Emergency work. In case there shall be, in the opinion of the Building Official, actual and immediate danger of failure or collapse of a building or structure or portion thereof so as to endanger life or property, the Building Official shall obtain the necessary funds from the city treasury, purchase such material and employ such labor and cause the necessary work to be done to render said building or structure or portion thereof temporarily safe, whether the procedure prescribed in this section has been instituted or not.
Vacating unsafe buildings or structures; closing streets. When a building or structure or portion thereof is in an unsafe condition so that life is endangered thereby, the Building Official shall order and require the inmates and occupants to vacate the same forthwith. He shall, when necessary for the public safety, temporarily close sidewalks, streets, buildings, structures and places adjacent to such building or structure and prohibit the same from being used.
Recovery of costs. The corporation counsel shall institute proper actions against the owner of premises for the recovery of costs incurred by the Building Official in the performance of emergency work.
Noncompliance. A person who shall violate a provision of this code or fails to comply therewith or with any of the requirements thereof or who shall erect, construct, alter or repair or has erected, constructed, altered or repaired a building or structure or portion thereof, in violation of a detailed statement or plan submitted and approved thereunder, or of a permit or certificate issued thereunder, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $100. Also, the owner of a building or structure or portion thereof, or of the premises where anything in violation of this code shall be placed or shall exist, and an architect, engineer, builder, contractor, agent, person or corporation employed in connection therewith and who may have assisted in the commission of such violation shall each be guilty of a separate offense and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $100.
Abatement. The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the corporation counsel from instituting an appropriate action or proceeding to prevent an unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion, maintenance or use, or to restrain, correct or abate a violation, or to prevent the occupancy of a building or structure or portion thereof, or of the premises, or to prevent an illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about any premises.
Word usage.
Words used in the present tense include the future; the singular number includes the plural and the plural the singular.
Where terms are not defined in this section, they shall have their ordinarily accepted meanings or such as the context may imply.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this code, have the meanings indicated in this section.
Any public thoroughfare less than 21 feet in width which has been legally dedicated or devoted to public use.
As applied to a building or structure, a change or rearrangement in the structural parts or in the exit facilities; or an enlargement, whether by extending on a side or by increasing in height; including work, other than repairs, that would affect safety or a vital element of an elevator, plumbing, gas piping, wiring, ventilating or heating installation; the term "alter" in its various moods and tenses and its participial forms refers to the making of an alteration.
A mechanically operated device which is used to convey persons in an unusual manner as a form of entertainment.
See "dwelling unit."
As applied to a material, device or mode of construction, approved by the Building Official in accordance with the provisions of this code or by other authority designated by law to give approval in the matter in question.
The maximum horizontal projected area of the building or structure at or above grade.
See Section 9.2.[1]
The Board of Selectmen.
The Town of Georgetown.
Editor's Note: This reference is to a section which has been omitted. Sections 9 through 49 were omitted when the bylaws were compiled in 1973.
[Added 3-3-1970 ATM, Art. 52]
The operator of every swimming pool which contains water having a depth of two feet or more and which has a side rising less than three feet above the level of the ground shall provide and maintain an adequate enclosure to prevent animals and unauthorized persons from entering the pool area. This section shall not apply to pools containing less than 260 square feet of surface water. A fence not less than four feet high with a self-closing gate shall be deemed to be an adequate enclosure. If a permit is required under the plumbing or electrical code in connection with a pool, a building permit shall be obtained from the Building Inspector, and such pool shall comply with Chapter 165, Zoning.
The Selectmen shall annually in March appoint a Building Inspector, referred to in §§ 29-1 through 29-8 as the "Building Official," for the enforcement of this chapter and the applicable provisions of Chapter 143 of the General Laws. The Selectmen may remove him for cause at any time after a hearing. He shall receive such compensation, subject to the annual appropriation therefor, as shall be determined by the Selectmen. The Selectmen may establish and revise from time to time a schedule of charges and fees for permits and inspections by the Building Inspector. The Selectmen may in like manner appoint an Acting Building Inspector.
Appointment. There is hereby established in the municipality a board to be called the "Board of Appeal," consisting of five members who are qualified by experience and training to pass upon matters pertaining to building construction and who shall be appointed by the chief appointing authority. The chief appointing authority shall designate one of the members to serve as Chairman.
Term of office; vacancies. The chief appointing authority of the municipality shall appoint one member of the Board of Appeal for a term of one year, one member for a term of two years, one member for a term of three years, one member for a term of four years and one member for a term of five years. Upon expiration of the term of office of a member of the Board, his successor shall be appointed for a term of five years. Vacancies shall be filled for an unexpired term in the manner in which original appointments are required to be made. Continued absence of any member from regular meetings of the Board shall, at the discretion of the chief appointing authority of the municipality, render any such member liable to immediate removal from office by such chief appointing officer.
Quorum; voting; conflicts of interest. Four members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. In varying the application of any provision of this code or in modifying an order of the Building Official, affirmative votes of three members shall be required. No member of the Board shall pass upon any question in which he, or any corporation in which he is a shareholder, is interested.
Meetings and records. Meetings of the Board shall be held at the call of the Chairman and at such other times as the Board may determine. All hearings before the Board shall be open to the public. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon every question, or if absent or failing to vote, indicating such facts, and shall also keep records of its examinations and other official action. Such minutes and such records shall be public records.
Procedure. The Board shall establish rules and regulations for its own procedure not inconsistent with the provisions of this code.
Any person aggrieved or the head of any agency of the municipality may take an appeal to the Board of Appeal from any decision of the Building Official.
An appeal may be taken within 30 days from the date of the decision appealed by filing with the Building Official and with the Board of Appeal a notice of appeal, specifying the grounds thereof, except that in the case of a building or structure, which in the opinion of the Building Official is unsafe or dangerous, the Building Official may in his order limit the time for such appeal to a shorter period. The Building Official shall forthwith transmit to the Board of Appeal all the papers upon which the action appealed from was taken.
Modifications and variations by the Board of Appeal.
The Board of Appeal, when so appealed to and after a public hearing, may vary the application of any provision of this code to any particular case when, in its opinion, the enforcement thereof would do manifest injustice and would be contrary to the spirit and purpose of this code or public interest, or when, in its opinion, the interpretation of the Building Official should be modified or reversed.
A decision of the Board of Appeal to vary the application of any provision of this code or to modify an order of the Building Official shall specify in what manner such variation or modification is made, the conditions upon which it is made and the reasons therefor.
Decisions of the Board of Appeal.
The Board of Appeal shall in every case reach a decision without unreasonable or unnecessary delay. Every decision of the Board of Appeal shall be in writing and shall indicate the vote upon the decision. Every decision shall be promptly filed in the office of the Building Official and shall be open to public inspection. A certified copy shall be sent by mail or otherwise to the appellant, and a copy shall be kept publicly posted in the office of the Building Official for two weeks after filing.
If a decision of the Board of Appeal reverses or modifies a refusal, order or disallowance of the Building Official or varies the application of any provision of this code, the Building Official shall take action immediately in accordance with such decision.
Appeals from decisions of the Board of Appeal. A person aggrieved by a decision of said Board, whether previously a party to the proceeding or not, or an officer or board may, within 15 days after the filing of such decision in the office of the Building Official, apply to the appropriate court to correct errors of law in such decisions.
The fire limits of the Town of Georgetown are hereby established as follows: none.
The provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be severable and the invalidity of any section or provision of this chapter shall not invalidate other sections or provisions thereof.
This chapter shall take effect 60 days after the date of its approval by the Attorney General.[1]
Editor's Note: Approved 4-3-1967.
This code shall not apply to single-dwelling homes standing on March 6, 1967, unless modifications are planned to change from a single to a multiple dwelling.
[Added 5-6-2019 ATM, Art. 20]
Purpose. The purpose of 780 CMR 115.AA is to provide a more energy efficient alternative to the Base Energy Code applicable to the relevant sections of the building code for new buildings.
Applicability. This code applies to residential and commercial buildings. Buildings not included in this scope shall comply with 780 CMR 115.AA, as indicated.
Stretch Code.
The Stretch Code, as codified by the Board of Building Regulations and Standards as 780 CMR 115.AA, including any future additions, amendments or modifications, is herein incorporated by reference into the Town of Georgetown General Bylaws, Chapter 29, Building Construction.
The Stretch Energy Code is enforceable by the Building Commissioner and is effective as of July 1, 2019.
The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is a building energy code created by the International Code Council. It is a model code adopted by many state and municipal governments in the United States for the establishment of minimum design and construction requirements for energy efficiency, and is updated on a three-year cycle. The baseline energy conservation requirements of the Massachusetts State Building Code are the IECC with Massachusetts amendments, as approved by the Board of Building Regulations and Standards.
Codified by the Board of Building Regulations and Standards as 780 CMR Appendix 115.AA of the Massachusetts Building Code, the Stretch Energy Code is an appendix to the Massachusetts Building Code, based on further amendments to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to improve the energy efficiency of buildings built to this Code.