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Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Wakefield 4-7-2003 by Art. 19. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 175.
The purpose of the chapter is to protect the Town and its inhabitants from the unregulated installation, use or maintenance of newsracks on public streets, sidewalks and other public properties. The unregulated installation, use or maintenance of newsracks on public streets, sidewalks and other public properties will result in obstruction of sidewalks that will interfere with the public's right to unhampered passage thereon, will create traffic congestion or illegal parking or stopping by motorists in order to purchase newspapers, periodicals or other printed matter, will damage municipal property because of the chaining of newsracks to poles, traffic standards or other fixtures, will interfere with the performance of required municipal services, will create unsightly conditions and will endanger the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town.
For the purposes of the chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future; words in the plural include the singular; and words in the singular include the plural:
DISTRIBUTOR
Any person responsible for the installation, use or maintenance of a newsrack in or on a public street.
NEWSRACK
Any self-service or coin-operated box, container, storage unit or other dispenser installed, used or maintained for the display and sale of newspapers, periodicals or other printed matter.
PERSONS
Any individual, group of individuals, association, partnership, corporation, company, business organization, trust, estate or any other legal entity or its legal representatives, agents or assigns.
PUBLIC STREET
The entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel, and it includes any alley or other public property in the Town.
ROADWAY
That portion of a public street improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, including the curb or shoulder.
SIDEWALK
That portion of a public street between the curblines or lateral lines of a roadway and the adjacent property lines intended for use by pedestrians.
No person shall install, use or maintain any newsrack which projects onto, into or over any part of the roadway of any public street.
A. 
No person shall place, affix, erect, construct or maintain a newsrack in or on any part of a public way without first obtaining approval from the Town Council.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17]
B. 
No person shall install, use or maintain any newsrack which in whole or part rests upon, in or over any sidewalk or other public place when such installation, use or maintenance endangers the safety of persons or property, or when such site or location is used for public utility purposes, public transportation purposes or government use, or when such newsrack unreasonably interferes with or impedes the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, the ingress into or egress from any residence, place of business or any legally parked or stopped vehicle or the use of poles, posts, trees, traffic signs or signals, hydrants, mailboxes, refuse containers or other objects permitted at or near said location.
(1) 
No newsrack shall exceed four feet in height, 30 inches in width or two feet in depth.
(2) 
No newsrack shall be chained, bolted or otherwise attached to any property owned or maintained by the Town.
(3) 
No newsrack shall be placed, installed, used or maintained:
(a) 
Within five feet of any crosswalk or curb ramp.
(b) 
Within 20 feet of any fire hydrant.
(c) 
Within 600 feet of any other newsrack distributing the same newspaper.
(d) 
Within five feet of any fire or police call box, traffic control signal or other emergency facility.
(e) 
Within five feet of any driveway, public or private.
(f) 
Within five feet ahead or 15 feet to the rear of any designated bus stop, taxi stand or place marked for handicapped parking.
(g) 
Within three feet of any public bench, bus bench or shelter.
(h) 
At any location whereby the clear space for the passageway of pedestrians is reduced to less than five feet.
(i) 
Within three feet of any display window of any building abutting the sidewalk or other public place in such a manner as to impede or interfere with the reasonable use of such window for display purposes.
(4) 
No newsrack shall be used for advertising signs or publicity purposes other than that which is essential to identify the newspaper, periodical or other printed matter offered for sale therein. Advertising signs, promotional decorations, banners and moving signs shall not be permitted on the newsrack, except as otherwise provided in this subsection. Neither the newsrack nor any of the permitted lettering thereon shall employ reflectorized paint, day-glow, fluorescent or scotchlite reflective materials or materials of a like nature.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 22]
(5) 
Each newsrack shall be maintained in a clean and neat condition and in good repair at all times, including snow removal from on the newsrack and within one foot in all directions around the base or bottom of the newsrack.
(6) 
Every person who places or maintains a newsrack on the public streets of the Town shall have his name, address and telephone number affixed thereon in a place where such information may easily be seen.
(7) 
Every person who places or maintains a newsrack on the public streets of the Town shall give written notification of the location of any such newsrack to the Town Administrator and Director of Public Works.
(8) 
Newsracks shall be placed parallel to and not less than 18 inches nor more than 24 inches from the edge of the curb. 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.
(9) 
No group of newsracks shall extend for a distance of more than 10 feet along a curb or wall and a space of not less than five feet shall separate each group of newsracks.
(10) 
A newsrack will be deemed abandoned if no printed material is found in the newsrack for a period of more than 15 consecutive days. Any newsrack deemed abandoned will be removed.
(11) 
Each newsrack shall display a newsrack sticker issued by the Department of Public Works.
(12) 
A newsrack removed pursuant to this section may be retrieved by the owner at any time within 30 days of its removal upon payment of a five-dollar per day storage fee. Any newsrack not retrieved within 30 days will be deemed "abandoned property" and become the property of the Town of Wakefield.
A. 
If it should appear that any distributor is violating any provisions of this chapter, it shall be the duty of the Town Administrator or his designees to determine whether or not such a violation has occurred and thereafter to notify the distributor to correct the violation.
(1) 
Such notification and direction shall be in writing; it shall specify the nature of the violation and whether or not it warrants removal of the newsrack if not corrected, and it shall direct correction; it shall be served upon the distributor in hand, or it shall be telephoned to the distributor at the telephone number designated by the distributor as provided in § 148-4B(6) above and confirmed in a written notice, mailed by certified mail with return receipt requested to the address designated by the distributor as provided in § 148-4B(6) above. During such period, the distributor shall have a right to a hearing before the Town Administrator or his duly designated representative to determine whether or not such violation has occurred and whether or not the nature of such claimed violation warrants removal prior to final determination. At such hearing, the distributor shall have the right to examine the evidence upon which the Town Administrator or his designee acted, to cross-examine any witnesses who may have appeared before him and to offer any evidence which may tend to show that the subject newsrack does not violate any provision of the chapter, and that the claimed violation is not of a nature which warrants removal prior to final determination.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 22]
(2) 
The hearing officer shall promptly review such evidence, notify the distributor of his decision with respect thereto and, if necessary, afford the distributor a reasonable opportunity to comply with such determination. If said violation is not corrected within such period or such further reasonable period as may be contained in a superseding notice by the hearing officer, the Town Administrator shall remove such newsrack and place it in storage in a secure place. The cost of removal and storage shall be billed to the distributor, and in the event of nonpayment, a civil suit for money damages may be brought by the Town Counsel. If such newsrack is not claimed within 30 days it shall be treated as abandoned property and disposed of as provided by law.
B. 
Any distributor who, having been notified and directed as provided herein to correct a violation of the provisions of the chapter, fails to correct such violation as provided in such notice shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter, and shall be subject to punishment as provided in §§ 1-6 and 1-8 of the Code of the Town. Each day the violation remains uncorrected shall be considered a separate offense and violation of the chapter.
C. 
Any distributor or other person aggrieved by a finding, determination, notice or action taken under the provisions of the chapter may appeal to the Town Council. An appeal shall be made in writing, and it must be filed within three Town business days, as that term is defined in § 7-3(d) of the Charter, after the receipt of written notice of any protested decision or action with the Town Clerk by a letter of appeal briefly stating therein the basis for such appeal. The Town Clerk shall forward such notice of appeal to the Town Council.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 17; 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 22]
(1) 
A hearing thereon shall be scheduled by the Town Council to be held on a date no more than 30 days after receipt of such letter. The appellant shall be given at least five Town business days’, as that term is defined in § 7-3(d) of the Charter, notice of the time and place of the hearing.
(2) 
The Town Council shall give the appellant or any other interested person a reasonable opportunity to be heard in order to show cause why the determination or action appealed from should not be upheld. The Town Council shall make a final determination at the conclusion of the hearing or as soon thereafter as is practicable. In the event that a distributor is successful in reversing a determination that the claimed violation was of a nature which warranted removal pending a final determination, no fee shall be imposed for the removal and storage of the newsrack which was the subject of the appeal, and failure to comply with such determination shall not serve as a basis for prosecution under Subsection B.
D. 
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be interpreted to limit or impair the exercise by the Town of its police power in the event of an emergency to remove any newsrack which presents a clear and present danger of imminent personal injury or property damage to users of the public streets of the Town. Further, nothing contained in the chapter shall be interpreted to limit or impair the ability of the Town to temporarily remove or relocate any newsrack in order to allow the Town to perform municipal work or other services in the location or immediate vicinity of such newsrack, in the event such newsrack has not been temporarily removed or relocated by the distributor within 24 hours of telephone or written notice from the Town of its intention to perform municipal work or services in the location or immediate vicinity of such newsrack.
Any distributor placing newsracks on sidewalks or other public place within the Town shall provide liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 for each occurrence for bodily injury and in the amount of $500,000 for each occurrence for property damage naming the Town as an insured. Any such distributor shall further agree to hold the Town, its official bodies, other committees and their employees, agents and assigns, harmless in any suit brought against the Town or any of its official bodies, other committees and their employees, agents and assigns arising out of the use, operation or maintenance of the newsracks. Any distributor placing newsracks on sidewalks or other public places within the Town shall further indemnify and hold the Town, its official bodies other committees and their employees, agents and assigns harmless from any damage caused to any newsrack by virtue of the Town performing snow removal or other municipal services on the Town's public streets, roadways and sidewalks.
There shall be an annual fee of $50 per newsrack.