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City of Melrose, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Aldermen of the City of Melrose as Rev. Ords. 1976, §§ 13-1, 13-2, 13-4 to 13-7, 13-10, 13-12 to 13-15, 13-18, 13-23 and 13-25 (Rev. Ords. 1989, §§ 11-1 to 11-14). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm devices — See Ch. 89.
Animals — See Ch. 93.
Noise — See Ch. 164.
Parks and playgrounds — See Ch. 173.
A. 
No person shall, within the limits of any street or highway, throw stones or other missiles or engage in any game or exercise which might interfere with the free, safe and convenient use of such street or highway by any person traveling or passing along the same. No person shall project by means of any air pipe, air gun, spring gun, sling or like instrument any missile or substance whatsoever in or into any public street, highway, court, square or place within the City.
B. 
No person shall operate or use any power-propelled model airplane in any public place within the City except with the approval of the board or officer having charge of such place.
No person shall drink or possess in any open or partially consumed container any alcoholic beverages as defined in MGL c. 138, § 1, while on, in or upon any public way or upon any way to which the public has a right of access or any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees or a park or playground or private land or place without consent of the owner or person in control thereof. All alcoholic beverages being used in violation of this section shall be seized and safely held until final adjudication of the charge against the person arrested or summoned before the court, at which time they shall be returned to the person entitled to lawful possession.
[Added 6-26-2008 by Ord. No. 08-35A]
A. 
Legislative intent. It is the purpose of this section to protect the public interest, welfare, health and safety within the City of Melrose by prohibiting the service to and consumption of alcoholic beverages and drugs by persons under the age of 21 at private premises located within the City. The City Council finds that the occurrence of social gatherings at private premises where alcoholic beverages or drugs are served to or consumed by persons under the age of 21 is harmful to such persons themselves and a threat to public welfare, health and safety. The City Council finds further that persons under the age of 21 often obtain alcoholic beverages or drugs at such gatherings and that persons who rent, own or otherwise control the premises at which such service and/or consumption is occurring will be more likely to ensure that alcoholic beverages and drugs are neither served to nor consumed by persons under the age of 21 at these gatherings.
B. 
Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE
Any liquor, wine, beer, spirits, cider or other liquid or solid, patented or not, composed of or containing alcohol or spirits, whether or not brewed, fermented or distilled, and capable of being consumed by a person.
CONTROL
The authority and ability to regulate, direct, or dominate.
DRUG
Any substances recognized as drugs in the official United States Pharmacopoeia, or official National Formulary, or any supplement to any of them; or any substances intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animals; or any substances, other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man and animals.
OPEN HOUSE PARTY
A social gathering at a residence or other private property with minors present.
PERSON
A human being and, where appropriate, a public or private corporation, an unincorporated association or a partnership.
PREMISES
A home, yard, apartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, or other dwelling unit, or a hall or meeting room, whether occupied as a dwelling, party or other social function, and whether owned, leased, rented, or used with or without compensation. The term "premises" shall also include private functions held at public facilities within the City of Melrose.
C. 
Prohibition. Any person who owns, rents or otherwise controls any premises shall be responsible when an open house party takes place at said premises where any alcoholic beverage or drug is being unlawfully possessed, served to or consumed by persons under the age of 21 at these gatherings at said premises.
[Amended 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]
D. 
Exception. The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
(1) 
The possession or consumption of a drug for which the individual has a current, valid prescription or as otherwise permitted by any other applicable law;
(2) 
The use of alcoholic beverages which occurs exclusively between a person under the age of 21 and his/her parent or legal guardian; and
(3) 
The practice of legally recognized religious observances.
E. 
Penalties. Failure to comply with Subsection C above shall constitute a violation of this section punishable by a fine as outlined below:
(1) 
A first violation of this section shall be punishable by a warning which shall be issued by the Chief of the Melrose Police Department.
(2) 
A second violation of this section at the same premises or by the same person within a twelve-month period shall be punishable by a fine of $150.
(3) 
A third or subsequent violation of this section at the same premises or by the same person within a twelve-month period shall be punishable by a fine of $300.
F. 
The fine schedule prescribed at Subsection E is based upon a rolling schedule, meaning that in calculating the fine payable, the Police Chief or City Solicitor shall count backward starting from the date of the most recent violation of this section to determine how many previous violations of said section have taken place at the premises or been committed by the same person during the statutory twelve-month period. A warning given pursuant to this section shall remain in effect for the premises until a full twelve-month period has elapsed during which there has been no response to the premises.
G. 
Appeal. Any person upon whom is imposed a fine/penalty pursuant to this section shall have the right to appeal the imposition of such fine/penalty in a noncriminal proceeding by making a written request within 21 days to the Clerk Magistrate for the Malden District Court.
H. 
Inconsistency with other laws.
(1) 
If any part or provision of this section is inconsistent with any federal or state statute, law, rule or regulation, then such statute, law, rule or regulation shall prevail.
(2) 
If any part or provision of this section or the applicability thereof to any person or circumstance be adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall be confined in its operation to the part or provision of or application directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered and shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of this section, or the application thereof to other persons or circumstances.
A. 
No person shall place or maintain any awning or shade over any part of a street or sidewalk unless the same is securely fastened and so located as in nowise to inconvenience passengers, the lowest part to be at least seven feet above the sidewalk and in no case to extend beyond the line thereof.
B. 
No such awning or shade projecting six inches or more into or over the way shall be placed or maintained without written permission from the City Engineer, which permission shall be revocable, and all persons receiving such permission shall conform to any direction in relation to location, materials, construction and other matters relating thereto as shall be given by the Building Commissioner.
[Amended 5-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-158]
C. 
The provisions of this section shall likewise apply to any sign, flag, article of merchandise or other thing over or upon any sidewalk or street in the City. In no case shall any permit be granted to place or maintain any swinging sign so as to project six inches or more over any sidewalk or street in the City.
State law reference — Municipal authority to require permission for projecting awnings and shades, MGL c. 85, § 8.
A. 
No person shall coast or slide along or upon any street or portion thereof in the City, unless such street or portion thereof shall be designated for such purpose by the City Engineer and proper precautions for the public safety are taken by the Chief of Police.
[Amended 5-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-158]
B. 
The City Engineer may prescribe the hours during which coasting shall be permitted on such streets as may be designated by him/her for coasting under this section.
[Amended 5-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-158]
C. 
No person shall park a vehicle on any street or portion thereof designated for coasting or sliding during the hours prescribed therefor.
State law reference — Municipal authority to regulate coasting on ways, MGL c. 85, § 10A.
No person shall behave in a rude and/or disorderly manner or use any indecent, profane or insulting language, gestures or objectionable sounds or remain upon any sidewalk; in any public way, lane, alley or other public place; in or near any dwelling house, building or any place to which the public has a right of access as invitees; or upon any doorstep, portico or other projection from any house or building. The violation of this section shall be deemed a misdemeanor for which the violator may be arrested without a warrant by any police officer of the City.
No person shall discharge any firearms within the City unless permission is granted by the City Council, provided that this section shall not apply to any person in defense of himself/herself, family or property or in the performance of any duty required by law.
No person shall stand or loiter on any sidewalk or public way in such manner as to obstruct free passage for pedestrians or vehicles. The violation of this section shall be deemed a misdemeanor for which the violator may be arrested without a warrant by any police officer of the City.
No person shall remain upon the steps of any church, hotel, hall or public building, or in any space or way leading thereto, so as to obstruct the passage to and from such church, hall, hotel or building, and any person so remaining shall, when ordered by a police officer, owner or other person having charge, immediately depart therefrom.
State law reference — Disturbing public meetings, MGL. c. 272, §§ 38 to 42.
No person, except an officer of the law in performance of his/her duties, shall enter upon the premises of another or upon any public property with the intention of peeping into the windows of a house or other building or of spying in any manner upon any persons therein.
No person shall wantonly injure, mar, deface or destroy any fence, guidepost, signboard, awning or light in any street, square or public place in the City, neither shall any person cut down, remove, injure or destroy any tree or shrub in any public street or grounds in the City without the permission of the officer in charge thereof.
State law reference — Property damage generally, MGL c. 266, § 104 et seq.
No person shall use any amplifying device or radio operated from any building, vehicle or store within the City for advertising purposes. This shall not prohibit the use of such devices for civic purposes, provided that a permit is issued therefor by the Chief of Police.
[Amended 2-22-1994 by Ord. No. 94-179; 2-5-1996 by Ord. No. 96-146; 1-22-2008 by Ord. No. 08-103]
A. 
Generally. No owner, tenant or occupant of land or a building, or any agent thereof, in this City shall cause any snow or ice from said land or building to be placed in the sidewalk, road, or other public way in the City.
B. 
Removal required on sidewalks. The owner, tenant or occupant of any estate in those sections of the City containing commercial, office and manufacturing facilities shall cause all snow and ice to be removed from the sidewalks adjoining such estate within six daylight hours after snow has ceased to fall or has drifted thereon from a building.
[Amended 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]
C. 
Removal required on certain buildings. The tenant or occupant of any building of which any part overhangs the sidewalk of any street in any part of the City shall cause all snow and ice to be removed from such building within six daylight hours after the snow has ceased to fall or has drifted thereon or after the ice has formed. The owner of such estate or building and his/her agent having charge thereof shall also be required to cause the removal of such snow and ice as herein provided. The penalty for violation of this section shall apply to the tenant, occupant, owner or agent.
D. 
Clearing sidewalks. The sidewalks adjoining public buildings or grounds shall be cleared under the direction of the Director of Public Works.
[Amended 5-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-158]
E. 
Enforcement.
(1) 
The Director of Public Works and his/her designee shall have the authority to enforce all provisions of this section. The Melrose Police Department is authorized to assist in the enforcement of this section.
[Amended 5-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-158]
(2) 
Whoever violates any of the provisions of Subsections A through D of this section shall be fined $50.
(3) 
Owners shall be liable for any violation of Subsections A through D of this section.
(4) 
Upon neglect of or violation of the duties imposed by the provisions of Subsections A through D of this section, such duties may be performed by the Director of Public Works or his/her agent at the expense of the person(s) or entities liable to perform those duties. Assessment of costs under this subsection shall not preclude any party from being fined under Subsection E(1).
[Amended 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]
(5) 
The City Solicitor with the approval of the Mayor may in civil actions prosecute and adjust claims inuring to the City under the provisions of this section.
State law references — Municipal authority to require removal of snow and ice, MGL c. 40, § 21, cls. (2) and (3); removal of snow and ice generally, MGL c. 85, § 5; appropriations for removal of snow and ice from private ways, MGL c. 40, § 6C.
No person shall swim or bathe in any of the waters surrounding or within the City, except when wearing trunks or tights or other suitable bathing suit.
No person shall deface walls, fences or sidewalks by writing, marking or printing any language or caricatures thereon.
State law reference — Malicious injury to fences, MGL c. 266, § 114.
[Added 4-19-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-139]
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CITY
The Mayor or his or her authorized designee.
POLICE RESPONSE
Any and all police action deemed appropriate by the Police Chief to protect the health, safety and welfare of inhabitants of a property, location, or immediate area where valid complaints have been documented, including the posting of police personnel at or near the property.
PROBLEM PROPERTY
A residential or commercial property for which there have been no fewer than six valid complaints in the preceding 12 months for any misdemeanor or felony under Massachusetts law that occurred in a dwelling unit within the property, on the property, or on an immediate sidewalk or street or abutting property, involving tenants, occupants, residents, or persons allowed on the property by the owner, owner's agent or by a resident or guest of a resident, including offenses involving the disturbance of the peace. In designating a property as a "problem property," the City shall take into consideration the nature of the activity, the number of dwelling units on the property, the nature of the use of the property, and the history of police complaints at the subject property and at properties owned by the same property owner or managed by the same management company. Once designated a problem property, a property shall remain so designated until the Police Department confirms that the property has not been the subject of a valid complaint for a period of no less than 12 months.
VALID COMPLAINT
Refers to an investigated finding, documented by Police Department personnel dispatched or caused to respond to an incident, that a misdemeanor or felony under Massachusetts law has taken place in a dwelling unit within a property, on a property, or on an immediate sidewalk or street or abutting property, involving tenants, occupants, residents, or persons so allowed on the property by the owner, owner's agent or by a resident or guest of a resident. A complaint need not result in an arrest or a formal criminal charge to be deemed a valid complaint. A "valid complaint," as used in this chapter, shall not include a police response based on a complaint by an occupant of the property who is a victim or a family member of a victim of the reported offense. This term shall not include incidents involving an occupant of the premises who is the victim of domestic violence and who reported the incident of domestic violence to the police.
B. 
Notification.
(1) 
After a property has accumulated three valid complaints, the City shall provide notice, in writing, to the property owner by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to the property owner's residence or usual place of business that is on record at the Assessor's office. This notice shall state:
(a) 
The property owner and list the specific address that has accumulated three valid complaints.
(b) 
The number and nature of the valid complaints that have occurred on said property in the preceding 12 months.
(c) 
The number of additional incidents after which the property could be deemed a problem property.
(d) 
That if the property is deemed a problem property, the cost of future police response may be assessed against the property owner and responsible tenant.
(2) 
For each property deemed by the City to be a problem property, the City shall provide notice, in writing, to the property owner and by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to the property owner's residence or usual place of business that is on record at the Assessor's office. This notice shall state:
(a) 
The property owner and list the specific address that has been designated a problem property;
(b) 
The number of valid complaints that have occurred on said property in the preceding 12 months;
(c) 
The cost of the police response to the property;
(d) 
To whom the property owner must address a letter of appeal of the problem property designation; and
(e) 
That the costs of future police response may be assessed against the property owner.
C. 
Cost of police assigned to problem properties.
(1) 
The Police Chief shall keep an accurate record of the actual cost of police response to a dwelling unit within a property, a particular property or a specific location, and such record shall include the number of officers who are part of the determined response, the amount of time each officer worked on the response, and the actual cost of each officer's participation in the response based on that officer's actual rate of pay.
(2) 
The Police Chief shall forward such record to the Collector-Treasurer.
(3) 
After a dwelling unit within a property or the entire property has been determined to be a problem property, the Police Chief, at his or her discretion, may assess the cost of any future police response to the property owner, including the posting of police personnel at the property, and:
(a) 
The City shall notify the property owner of the Police Department's assessment of costs by:
[1] 
Delivering such notification by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to the property owner's residence and usual place of business that is on record at the Assessor's office.
[2] 
Identifying the number of valid complaints that have occurred since the property's designation as a problem property.
[3] 
Informing the property owner of the costs assessed under this section.
[4] 
Indicating where and to whom the property owner must address a letter of appeal of police response costs assigned to him or her.
[5] 
Informing the property owner that he or she has 14 business days to file an appeal and 30 business days to pay the assessment.
(b) 
The Police Chief, or his/her designee, shall have the authority to consider the nature of the incident(s) underlying the valid complaints in making his/her decision to assess costs. The Police Chief, or his/her designee, shall consider the following factors in making the decision to assess costs:
[1] 
The nature of the incident(s) underlying the valid complaints.
[2] 
Whether the incident(s) resulted in an arrest.
[3] 
The effect of the activity on the quality of life in the neighborhood.
[4] 
The property owner's and occupant's willingness to cooperate with police.
[5] 
The history of criminal activity taking place at the property or location.
D. 
Payments.
(1) 
The property owner is responsible for payment of the bill in full within 30 business days of receiving the notification. All amounts collected by the Collector-Treasurer shall be deposited into a revolving fund under the control of the Police Department. If not paid, the Collector-Treasurer is hereby authorized and empowered to bill the property owner for the cost the City incurred for its police response.
(2) 
Any unpaid bill for police response, including interest and/or collection costs, shall be added to the real estate tax on the property and collected as part of that tax. Failure to pay real estate taxes will render the property owner delinquent, and the Collector-Treasurer shall commence foreclosure proceedings.
(3) 
All charges to recover costs imposed in this section shall constitute a municipal charges lien on the property so charged in accordance with MGL c. 40, § 58.
E. 
Appeal of designation or cost assessment.
(1) 
The property owner may, within 14 business days of receipt of the problem property designation or cost assessment, appeal the decision by requesting, in writing, a hearing before the City Council.
(2) 
The City Council shall determine whether, in light of the factors specified in Subsection C(3)(b) above, the Police Chief's decision to assess the costs of a police response at a problem property was reasonable. The City Council may uphold or reduce the costs assessed by the Police Department, but it may not increase them. The City Council's decision must be in writing. If the City Council finds in favor of the property owner, the cost of the penalty shall be abated; if the assessment is upheld or reduced, it shall be due and payable within 30 business days.
F. 
Eviction. In the event the property owner has, in good faith, commenced eviction proceedings against the tenant(s) responsible for the incident at the property that results in the assessment of costs, the assessment of costs shall be reduced to $0 for that particular incident. The Police Chief may continue police response at the particular property or location, at his or her discretion, at all times after the eviction proceeding has been completed; provided, however, that such costs shall not be assessed to the property owner.
G. 
Prevention. A landlord may request in writing that the City provide the landlord with a list of any valid complaints involving a prospective tenant occurring within one year prior to the date of the written request. To the extent permitted by law, the City shall provide the information to the landlord pursuant to Massachusetts public records law(s). Failure of the City to provide such information that is found to have existed at the time of the written request and legally could have been provided to the landlord shall cause this section to be invalid against the landlord for any valid complaints involving the prospective tenant for whom the written request was made.