City of Pittsfield, MA
Berkshire County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Former Ch. 3, §§ 3-1 through 3-3, which pertained to adoption of and amendments to the BOCA Basic Building Code, was repealed 10-14-1988 by Ord. No. 616, § 1. Former Ch. 3 was derived from Ord. No. 60, §§ 2 and 3, adopted 6-25-1968; Ord. No. 101, §§ 1 and 2, adopted 10-14-1969; Ord. No. 123, § 1, adopted 9-23-1970; and Ord. No. 169, §§ 2 and 3, adopted 4-28-1972.
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building Commissioner — See Ch. 2, Art. IV.
Historical Commission — See Ch. 2, Art. XXII.
Electricity — See Ch. 5.
Fire Prevention Code — See Ch. 7, Art. III.
Demolition of buildings — See Ch. 7, Art. IV.
Lumber storage — See Ch. 12.
Sewers and drains — See Ch. 19.
Water — See Ch. 22.
[Ord. No. 616, § 1, 10-14-1988; Ord. No. 1025, § I, 2-23-2009]
The City of Pittsfield adopts the 7th Edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code which is published in Section 780 CMR of the Massachusetts Regulations[1] as the Building Code of the City and repeals all other ordinances or parts of other ordinances in conflict therewith.
[1]
Editor’s Note: Order No. 13, adopted 4-13-2010, adopted the Stretch Energy Code, 780 CMR, Appendix 120 AA.
[Ord. No. 616, § 1, 10-14-1988]
Fire District No. 1 shall comprise the areas described as bounded by the B-C, B-G, B-D, CWS, IL, I-G and LDI zoning classes of districts as set forth in the Zoning Ordinance of the City.
[Ord. No. 621, § 1, 12-15-1988]
No person shall demolish any building within the City without first obtaining from the Building Inspector a written permit and without first filing with the Building Inspector a written agreement under seal, approved by the City Solicitor, to comply strictly with the terms of such permit, to indemnify the City against all loss, cost, or expense that it may suffer by reasons of such demolition, and evidence of liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 aggregate in which the City is named as an additional insured. The Building Inspector shall also require the applicant to file a bond in an amount sufficient to return any involved street, lane, alley, sidewalk, or public place to its previous condition and with such sureties as may be satisfactory to him, and in form approved by the City Solicitor. Said bond shall be conditioned upon full compliance with all terms, provisions, conditions, and requirements of such permit and upon the keeping, maintaining, and restoring of any involved street, lane, alley, sidewalk, or public place covered by such permit in the manner and condition required by this chapter. This section shall not apply to the City or any of its offices.
[Ord. No. 1005, § I, 9-26-2007; Ord. No. 1172, § I, 8-9-2016]
(a) 
Purpose and intent.
(1) 
This section is enacted for the purpose of preserving and protecting historically significant structures within the City of Pittsfield which reflect distinctive features of the architectural, cultural, economic, political or social history of the City, and to encourage owners of such buildings or others to seek out ways to preserve, rehabilitate or restore them rather than demolish or alter them in a detrimental way, thereby promoting the public welfare and preserving the heritage of the City.
(2) 
To achieve these purposes, the Pittsfield Historical Commission ("the Commission") is empowered to advise the Building Inspector with respect to the issuance of permits for the demolition of significant structures, as regulated within this chapter.
(b) 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
APPLICANT
Any person or entity who files an application for a demolition permit. If the applicant is not the owner of the premises upon which the structure is situated, the owner must indicate on the application his/her assent to the filing of the application.
APPLICATION
An application for the demolition of a structure.
BUILDING INSPECTOR
The person occupying the position of Building Commissioner or Inspector, or those otherwise authorized to issue demolition permits.
COMMISSION
The Pittsfield Historical Commission or its designee.
DEMOLITION
Any act of pulling down, destroying, removing, dismantling or razing a structure, or commencing the work of total or substantial destruction with the intent of completing the same. "Substantial" herein shall mean either half the volume of the structure or half its assessed value, as determined by the Building Inspector.
DEMOLITION PERMIT
The permit issued by the Building Inspector as required by the State Building Code for the demolition, partial demolition or removal of a structure, excluding a permit issued solely for the demolition of the interior of a structure.
HISTORIC RESOURCES LIST
A list of Pittsfield buildings which are on the National Register of Historic Places, the State Register of Historic Places or the Local Inventory of Historic Resources. Any structures on the Historic Resources List shall be considered to be a significant structure.
PREFERABLY PRESERVED
Any significant structure which the Commission determines by simple majority vote, following a public hearing, that it is in the public interest to be preserved, rehabilitated or restored rather than demolished. A preferably preserved structure is subject to the twelve-month demolition delay period of this section.
SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURE
Any structure within the City which is in whole or in part 75 years or more old, and which has been determined by the Commission to be significant based on one or more of the following criteria:
(1) 
The structure is listed on, or is within an area listed on, or eligible for, the State or National Register of Historic Places, the Inventory of the Historic and Prehistoric Assets of the Commonwealth or the Historic Resources List;
(2) 
The structure is importantly associated with one or more historic persons or events, or with the broad architectural, cultural, political, economic or social history of the City, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the United States of America; or
(3) 
The structure is historically important by reason of period, style, method of building construction or association with a particular architect or builder, either by itself or in the context of a group of buildings, structure or sites.
STRUCTURE
Any combination of materials assembled at a fixed location to give support or shelter for persons, animals, or property, such as a building, framework, or the like and/or walls, statues, monuments, bridges, or other combinations of building materials. The word "structure" shall be construed, where the context requires, as though followed by the words, "or part or parts thereof."
(c) 
Procedure.
(1) 
No demolition permit for a structure which is in whole or in part 75 years or more old shall be issued without following the provisions of this section. If a structure is of unknown age, it shall be assumed that the structure is over 75 years old for the purposes of this section.
(2) 
An applicant proposing to demolish a structure subject to this section shall file with the Historical Commission an application containing the following information:
a. 
The address and City Assessor's Map, block and lot designation of the structure to be demolished;
b. 
The owner's name, address and telephone number;
c. 
An historical survey, such as the format of a Massachusetts Historical Commission Form B, that includes a description of the structure containing items such as architectural elements, style and type of construction;
d. 
The date of structure establishment as determined by the Pittsfield Board of Assessors, deed or other documentation verifying year of construction;
e. 
The reason for requesting a demolition permit;
f. 
A brief description of the proposed reuse, reconstruction or replacement, if the applicant feels such will contribute to the justification for the demolition; and
g. 
A photograph or photograph(s) of the structure.
(3) 
Within 30 days after receipt of the application, the Commission shall determine whether the application is complete. If the application is complete, the Commission shall make a written determination of whether the structure is significant. No demolition permit shall be issued during this time. Should the Commission fail to notify the Building Inspector of its determination within 30 days of receipt of the application, the Building Inspector may issue a demolition permit.
(4) 
Should the Commission deem that the structure is not significant, the Building Inspector may issue the demolition permit upon receipt of the Commission's written determination.
(5) 
If the Commission determines that the structure is significant, it shall notify the Building Inspector and the applicant in writing that a demolition plan review must be made by the Commission prior to the issuance of a demolition permit.
(6) 
Within 60 days after the determination of significance by the Commission, the applicant shall submit 10 copies of a demolition plan to the Commission, which shall include the following information:
a. 
A map showing the location of any structure to be demolished, with reference to lot lines and abutting structures;
b. 
Photographs of any street facade elevations;
c. 
A description of the structure to be demolished;
d. 
The reason for the proposed demolition and data supporting said reason, including where applicable, data sufficient to establish any economic justification for demolition; and
e. 
A brief description of the proposed reuse and development of the property, if the applicant feels such will contribute to the justification for the demolition.
(7) 
Not later than 30 days of receipt of such plan, the Commission shall hold a public hearing with respect to the demolition plan. Public notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing shall be given by the Commission or its designee, at the expense of the applicant, not less than 14 days before the said hearing. Such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the City Hall, published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City and mailed to the applicant, the legal abutters and to such other persons as the Commission shall deem entitled. The Commission shall decide by a simple majority vote at the public hearing whether the structure should be preferably preserved upon finding that the structure is significant as defined above. If agreed to in writing by the applicant, the determination of the Commission may be postponed.
(8) 
If the Commission determines that the structure should not be preferably preserved, the Commission shall so notify the Building Inspector and applicant in writing, no later than 14 days after the decision. The Building Inspector may then issue the demolition permit.
(9) 
Should the Commission determine that the proposed demolition would be detrimental to the historical or architectural heritage or resources of the City, such structure shall be considered to be preferably preserved and the Commission shall file with the Building Inspector and the applicant within 14 days after the decision, a written report on the demolition plan which shall include the following:
a. 
A description of the age, architectural style, historic association and importance of the structure to be demolished;
b. 
The determination as to why the structure should be preferably preserved; and
c. 
An invitation to the owner of record of the structure to participate in an investigation of alternatives to demolition, including but not limited to incorporation of the structure into future development of the property, adaptive re-use, seeking a new owner willing to purchase and preserve, restore or rehabilitate the structure or moving the structure.
(10) 
The Commission shall also notify the Massachusetts Historical Commission and any other interested parties in an effort to obtain assistance in preservation funding or in finding an adaptive re-use of the structure which will result in its preservation.
(11) 
Once a structure has been designated to a preferably preserved status, the owner shall be responsible for properly securing the structure, if vacant, to the satisfaction of the Building Inspector. Should the owner fail to secure the structure at any time during the twelve-month demolition delay period, any subsequent destruction or loss of the structure through fire or other cause, which destruction could have been prevented by the required security measures, shall be considered a demolition in violation of this section and all noncompliance penalties shall pertain.
(12) 
No demolition permit shall be issued until 12 months after the date of such determination of significance unless otherwise agreed to by the Commission. All approvals necessary for the issuance of such demolition permit, including without limitation any necessary zoning variances or special permits, must be granted and all appeals from the granting of such approvals must be concluded, prior to the issuance of a demolition permit under this section.
(13) 
Prior to the expiration of the twelve-month delay, upon application by the owner, the Commission may, after following the same public hearing and recommendation process above for a demolition plan review, determine by a simple majority vote that:
a. 
The owner has made continuing bona fide and reasonable efforts to locate a purchaser willing and reasonably able to preserve, rehabilitate or restore the subject structure and that such efforts have been unsuccessful. For the purposes of this subsection, the term "continuing, bona fide and reasonable efforts to locate a purchaser" shall mean retaining a licensed broker to market the property in the usual manner over a substantial period, obtaining an appraisal from a reputable appraiser and providing evidence of good faith negotiations with potential buyers of the property. These efforts to sell the property shall be deemed unsuccessful only upon a finding that either there were no offers to purchase the property, that no offer from a willing and reasonably able buyer was for at least the reasonable appraised value of the property, or that no agreement to sell the property pursuant to an offer of at least the reasonable appraised value of the property could be reached despite good faith efforts to do so; and
b. 
There is no reasonable likelihood that any person or group is willing to purchase, preserve, rehabilitate or restore such structure.
(14) 
Such finding shall be issued in writing by the Commission to the Building Inspector within seven days of the close of the hearing, at which time the Building Inspector may issue a demolition permit for the preferably preserved structure.
(15) 
Demolition approval by the Commission is valid for two years.
(d) 
Administration. The Commission may adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary to administer the terms of this section. The Commission is authorized to adopt a schedule of reasonable fees to cover the costs associated with the administration of this section. The Commission may delegate authority to make initial determinations of significance to one or more members of the Commission or to a municipal employee. The Commission may proactively develop a list of significant structures (to be known as the "Historic Resources List") that will be subject to this section.
(e) 
Emergency demolition. Notwithstanding the above provisions, the Building Inspector may issue a demolition permit at any time in the event of imminent and substantial danger to the health or safety of the public due to deteriorating conditions. The Building Inspector shall document in writing the findings and reasons requiring an emergency demolition and shall forward a copy immediately to the Commission. No provision of this section is intended to conflict with or abridge any obligations or rights conferred by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 143 regarding removal or demolition of dangerous or abandoned structures. In the event of a conflict, the applicable provisions of Chapter 143 shall control.
(f) 
Noncompliance. Anyone who demolishes a structure determined to be preferably preserved under this section without first obtaining, and complying fully with the provision of a demolition permit shall be subject to a fine of $300. Each day the violation exists shall constitute a separate offense until a faithful restoration of the demolished structure is completed or unless otherwise agreed to by simple majority vote of the Commission following the same public hearing and recommendation process as listed above for a demolition plan review. If a structure subject to this section is demolished without first obtaining a demolition permit, no building permit shall be issued for a period of two years from the date of the demolition on the subject parcel of land or any adjoining parcels of land under common ownership and control unless the building permit is for the faithful restoration of the structure, including but not limited to use of materials, design, dimensions, massing, arrangement of architectural features and execution of decorative details, or as otherwise agreed to by the Commission.
(g) 
Enforcement and remedies. The Commission and/or the Building Inspector are each specifically authorized to institute any and all actions and proceedings, in law or equity including injunctive relief, as they may deem necessary and appropriate to obtain compliance with the requirements of this section or to prevent a violation thereof.
(h) 
Historic District Act. Following a determination that the structure is significant and preferably preserved, the Commission may recommend to City Council that the structure be protected through the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40C, the Historic Districts Act. The steps required under MGL Chapter 40C shall be followed prior to the establishment of a local historic district. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to conflict with the provisions of the Historic Districts Act, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40C. If any of the provisions of this section do so conflict, that Act shall prevail.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
[Sections 3-4 through 3-4.15] shall be known as the property maintenance code of the City of Pittsfield.
[1]
Editor’s Note: Ord. No. 772, § 1, adopted 10-11-1994, provided for the deletion of former § 3-4, city nuisance bylaw, derived from Ord. No. 637, § 1, adopted 7-6-1989, Sec. 1 of Ord. No. 772 further enacted provisions designated as §§ 3-4—3-4.15.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
The purpose of the property maintenance code is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare in all existing structures, residential and nonresidential, and on all existing premises, by establishing minimum requirements and standards for premises, structures, equipment, and facilities for light, ventilation, space, sanitation, protection from elements, life safety, and for safe and sanitary maintenance; fixing the responsibility of owners, operators, and occupants; regulating the occupancy of existing structures and premises; and providing for administration, enforcement, and penalties.
(1) 
Intent. This code shall be construed to secure its expressed intent, which is to ensure public health, safety, and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued occupancy and maintenance of structures and premises. Existing structures and premises that do not comply with these provisions shall be altered or repaired to provide a minimum level of health and safety as required herein.
(2) 
Referenced standards. The standards referenced in this code and in the state building code, 780 Code of Massachusetts Regulations, shall be considered part of the requirements of this code to the prescribed extent of each such reference.
(3) 
Existing remedies. The provisions in this code shall not be construed to abolish or impair existing remedies relating to the removal or demolition of any structure which is dangerous, unsafe, or unsanitary.
(4) 
Workmanship. All repairs, maintenance work, alterations or installations which are caused directly or indirectly by the enforcement of this code shall be executed and installed in a workmanlike manner.
(5) 
Application of other codes. Any repairs, additions or alterations to a structure, or changes of occupancy, shall be done in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the building, plumbing, and mechanical codes in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations.
(6) 
Validity. If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, or phrase of this code shall be declared invalid for any reason whatsoever, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this code which shall continue in full force and effect, and to this end the provisions of this code are hereby declared to be severable. This code shall not affect violations of any other ordinance, code, or regulation existing prior to the effective date hereof, and any such violation shall be governed and shall continue to be punishable to the full extent of the law under provisions of those ordinances, codes, or regulations in effect at the time the violation was committed.
(7) 
Definitions. The interpretation and definition of terms in this section shall be consistent with the definitions contained within the 248, 527 and 780 Code of Massachusetts Regulations.
(8) 
Code enforcement officer. The provisions of this section shall be enforced by the enforcement officer, who shall be the inspector of buildings, the local inspectors, or any duly appointed alternate inspector who meets the qualifications set forth in 780 Code of Massachusetts Regulations, section 107.3.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
All equipment, systems, devices, and safeguards required by this code or a previous statute or code for the structure or premises when erected or altered shall be maintained in good working order. The requirements of this code are not intended to provide the basis for removal or abrogation of fire protection and safety systems and devices in existing structures.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
Approved materials and equipment. All materials, equipment, and devices approved by the code enforcement officer shall be constructed and installed in accordance with such approval.
(b) 
Modifications. Where there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out structural or mechanical provisions of this code, the code enforcement officer shall have the right to vary or modify such provisions upon application of the owner or the owner’s representative, provided that the spirit and intent of the law is observed and that the public health, safety, and welfare is assured.
(c) 
Materials and equipment reuse. Materials, equipment, and devices shall not be reused unless such elements have been reconditioned, tested, and placed in good and proper working condition and approved.
(d) 
Alternative materials and equipment. The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material or method of construction shall be approved when the code enforcement officer finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method of work offered is for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality and strength, effectiveness, durability, and safety.
(e) 
Research and investigations. Sufficient technical data shall be submitted to substantiate the proposed installation of any material or assembly. If it is determined that the evidence submitted is satisfactory proof of performance for the proposed installation, the code enforcement officer shall approve such alternative subject to the requirements of this code. The cost of all tests, reports and investigations required under these provisions shall be paid by the applicant.
(f) 
Right of entry. The code enforcement officer is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect. Prior to entering into a space not otherwise open to the general public, the code enforcement officer shall make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the structure or premises, present proper identification, and request entry. If requested entry is refused or not obtained, the code enforcement officer shall pursue recourse as provided by law.
(g) 
Access by owner or operator. Every occupant of a structure or premises shall give the owner or operator thereof, or agent or employee, access to any part of such structure or its premises at reasonable times for the purpose of making such inspection, maintenance, repairs, or alterations as are necessary to comply with the provisions of this code.
(h) 
Identification. The code enforcement officer shall carry proper identification when inspecting structures or premises in the performance of duties under this code.
(i) 
Coordination of enforcement. Inspection of premises, the issuance of notices and orders, and the enforcement thereof shall be the responsibility of the code enforcement officer. Whenever inspections are necessary by any other department, the code enforcement officer shall make reasonable effort to arrange for the coordination of such inspections so as to minimize the number of visits by inspectors, and to confer with the other departments for the purpose of eliminating conflicting orders before any are issued. A department shall not, however, delay the issuance of any emergency orders.
(j) 
Rule-making authority. The code enforcement officer shall have power as necessary in the interest of public health, safety, and general welfare, to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to interpret and implement the provisions of this code, to secure the intent thereof, and to designate requirements applicable because of local climatic or other conditions. Such rules shall not have the effect of waiving structural or fire performance requirements specifically provided for in this code or the Code of Massachusetts Regulations or of violating accepted engineering practice involving public safety.
(k) 
Official records. An official record shall be kept of all business and activities of the department specified in the provisions of this code, and all such records shall be open to public inspection at all appropriate times and according to reasonable rules to maintain the integrity and security of such records.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
Unlawful acts. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to erect, construct, alter, extend, repair, remove, demolish, maintain, fail to maintain, provide, fail to provide, occupy, let to another, occupy, or permit another person to occupy any structure or equipment regulated by this code, or cause same to be done, contrary to, in conflict with, or in violation of any of the provisions of this code, or to fail to obey a lawful order of the code enforcement officer, or to remove or deface a placard or notice posted under the provisions of this code.
(b) 
Violations of this section shall be subject to the criminal and noncriminal enforcement provisions of Chapter 4 1/2 of this Code. Also, the code enforcement officer may ask the city solicitor to proceed at law or in equity against the person responsible for the violation for the purpose of ordering that person:
(1) 
To restrain, correct, or remove the violation or refrain from any further execution of work;
(2) 
To restrain or correct the erection, installation, maintenance, repair, or alteration of such structure;
(3) 
To require the removal of work in violation; or
(4) 
To prevent the occupancy of the structure that is not in compliance with the provisions of this code.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994; Ord. No. 793, § 1, 9-12-1995]
(a) 
General. When a structure or equipment is found by the code enforcement officer to be unsafe, or when a structure is found unfit for human occupancy, or is found unlawful, such structure shall be condemned pursuant to the provisions of this code and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 143.
(b) 
Unsafe structures. An unsafe structure is one that is found to be dangerous to the life, health, property, or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure by not providing minimum safeguards to protect or warn occupants in the event of a fire, or because such structure contains unsafe equipment, or is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe, or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation, that partial or complete collapse is likely.
(c) 
Unsafe equipment. Unsafe equipment includes any boiler, heating equipment, elevator, moving stairway, electrical wiring or device, flammable liquid containers, or other equipment on the premises or within the structure which is in such disrepair or condition that such equipment is a hazard to life, health, property, or safety of the public or occupants of the premises or structure.
(d) 
Structure unfit for human occupancy. A structure is unfit for human occupancy whenever the code enforcement officer finds that such structure is unsafe, unlawful or, because of the degree to which the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is unsanitary, vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by this code, or because the location of the structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants of the structure or to the public.
(e) 
Unlawful structure. An unlawful structure is one found in whole or in part to be occupied by more persons than permitted under this code, or was erected, altered or occupied contrary to law.
(f) 
Public nuisance. Pursuant to the powers granted by Chapter 139 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the code enforcement officer shall, upon determination of the existence of a public nuisance, make a written report to the city council of such condition, together with a petition for remedial action, and shall file a copy of the petition with the city clerk. Upon receipt of such petition and report, the city council shall set a date for hearing before the council, not more than 45 days after the date of filing of the petition with the city clerk. Notice of said hearing shall be posted, published, and sent to interested parties not less than 14 days before the date of said hearing. Upon termination of the hearing, the city council shall by vote of the majority determine whether the condition constitutes a nuisance to the public and shall issue an order to the owner to abate such nuisance within 24 hours after service of the order or within such other time as it considers reasonable. A public nuisance shall include the following:
(1) 
The physical condition or occupancy of any premises regarded as a public nuisance at common law; or
(2) 
Any physical condition or occupancy of any premises or its appurtenances considered an attractive nuisance to children, including, but not limited to, abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations, and unsafe fences or structures; or
(3) 
Any premises that has unsanitary sewerage or plumbing facilities; or
(4) 
Any premises designated as unsafe for human habitation; or
(5) 
Any premises that is manifestly capable of being a fire hazard, or is manifestly unsafe or insecure so as to endanger life, limb, or property; or
(6) 
Any premises from which the plumbing, heating, or facilities required by this code have been removed, or from which utilities have been disconnected, destroyed, removed, or rendered ineffective, or the required precautions against trespassers have not been provided; or
(7) 
Any premises that is unsanitary, or that is littered with rubbish or garbage, or that has an uncontrolled growth of weeds; or
(8) 
Any structure that is in a state of dilapidation, deterioration, or decay; faulty construction; overcrowded; open, vacant, or abandoned; damaged by fire to the extent so as not to provide shelter; in danger of collapse or failure; and dangerous to anyone on or near the premises.
(g) 
Closing of vacant structures. If the structure is vacant and unfit for human habitation and occupancy, and is not in danger of structural collapse, the code enforcement officer is authorized to post a placard of condemnation on the premises and order the structure closed up so as not to be an attractive nuisance. Upon failure of the owner to close up the premises within the time specified in the order, the code enforcement officer shall cause the premises to be closed through any available public agency or by contract or arrangement by private persons, and the cost thereof shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
(h) 
Notice. Whenever the code enforcement officer has condemned a structure or equipment under the provisions of this section, notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure affected by such notice and served on the owner and the person responsible for the structure or equipment in accordance with Chapter 4 1/2.
(i) 
Placarding. Upon failure of the owner or person responsible to comply with the notice provisions within the time given, the code enforcement officer shall post on the premises or on defective equipment, a placard bearing the word “Condemned”, and a statement of penalties provided for occupying the premises, operating the equipment or removing the placard.
(j) 
Prohibited occupancy. Any person who shall occupy a placarded premises or shall operate placarded equipment, and any owner or any person responsible for the premises who shall let anyone occupy a placarded premises or operate placarded equipment shall be liable for the penalties provided by this code.
(k) 
Removal of placard. The code enforcement officer shall remove the condemnation placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placarding action were based have been eliminated. Any person who defaces or removes a condemnation placard without the approval of the code enforcement officer shall be subject to the penalties provided by this code.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994; Ord. No. 794, § 1, 9-12-1995]
(a) 
Imminent danger. When, in the opinion of the code enforcement officer, there is imminent danger of failure or collapse of a building or structure which endangers life, or when any structure or part of a structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the structure, or when there is actual or potential danger to the building occupants or those in the proximity of any structure because of explosives, explosive fumes, or vapors or the presence of toxic fumes, gases, or material, or operation of defective or dangerous equipment, the code enforcement officer is hereby authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the premises forthwith. The code enforcement officer shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such structure a notice reading as follows:
“This Structure is Unsafe and its Occupancy has been Prohibited.”
It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such structure except for the purpose of securing the structure, making the required repairs, removing the hazardous condition, or of demolishing the same.
(b) 
Temporary safeguards. Notwithstanding other provisions of this code, whenever, in the opinion of the code enforcement officer, there is imminent danger due to an unsafe condition, the code enforcement officer shall order the necessary work to be done, including the boarding-up of openings, to render such structure temporarily safe whether or not the legal procedure herein described has been instituted; and shall cause such action to be taken as the code enforcement officer deems necessary to meet such emergency.
(c) 
Closing streets. When necessary for the public safety, the code enforcement officer shall temporarily close structures and close, or order the authority having jurisdiction to close, sidewalks, streets, public ways and places adjacent to unsafe structures, and prohibit the same from being utilized.
(d) 
Emergency repairs. For the purpose of this section, the code enforcement officer shall employ the necessary labor and materials to perform the required work as expeditiously as possible.
(e) 
Costs of emergency repairs. Costs incurred in the performance of emergency work shall be paid from the treasury of the jurisdiction on approval of the code enforcement officer. The city solicitor shall institute appropriate action against the owner of the premises where the unsafe structure is or was located for the recovery of such costs.
(f) 
Application for appeal. Any person affected by a decision of the code enforcement officer or a notice or order issued under paragraph (a) of this section shall have the right to appeal to the board of appeals, provided that a written application for appeal is filed within 10 days after the day the decision, notice or order was served. An application for appeal shall be based on a claim that the true intent of this code or the rules legally adopted thereunder have been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of this code do not fully apply, or the requirements of this code are adequately satisfied by other means.
(g) 
Membership of the board. There shall be a board of appeals consisting of five members who shall be citizens of Pittsfield. The mayor, subject to approval of the city council, shall appoint the members of the board. Their terms shall be as follows: one for five years, one for four years, one for three years, one for two years, and one for one year. Thereafter, each new member shall serve for five years or until a successor has been appointed. The board shall annually elect one of its members to serve as chairperson.
Associate members. The mayor may also appoint, subject to approval of the city council, two associate members of the board of appeals. The associate members shall be citizens of Pittsfield and shall each serve a term of five years. An associate member shall act as a member of the board in the consideration and determination of any matter when requested by the chairperson or acting chairperson of the board, and in the event that a member is ill, absent, has a conflict of interest, or some other incapacity.
Definition. The words “board of appeals” and “the board” when used in this section, and in this section, particularly, shall refer to the board of appeals herein established.
(h) 
Hearings and procedures. All hearings before the board shall be open to the public unless requested by either party to be private. The appellant, the appellant’s representative, the code enforcement officer, and any person whose interests are affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard. The board shall adopt and make available to the public, through the secretary, procedures under which a hearing will be conducted. The procedures shall not require compliance with strict rules of evidence but shall direct that only relevant information, as determined by the chairperson, be received. When five members are not present to hear an appeal, either the appellant or the appellant’s representative shall have the right to request a postponement of the hearing. The board shall affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the code enforcement officer by a concurring vote of three members. The decision of the board shall be furnished in writing to the appellant and to the code enforcement officer within a reasonable time period.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
General. The code enforcement officer shall order the owner of any premises upon which is located any structure, which in the code enforcement officer’s judgement is so old, dilapidated, or has become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy, and such that it is unreasonable to repair the structure, to raze and remove such structure; or if such structure is capable of being made safe by repairs, to repair and make safe and sanitary or to raze and remove at the owner’s option; or where there has been a cessation of normal construction of any structure for a period of more than two years, to raze and remove such structure.
(b) 
Failure to comply. If the owner of a premises fails to comply with a demolition order within the time prescribed, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause the structure to be razed and removed, either through an available public agency or by contract or arrangement with private persons, and the cost of such razing and removal shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
(c) 
Salvage materials. When any structure has been ordered razed and removed, the governing body or other designated officer under said contract or arrangement aforesaid shall have the right to sell the salvage and valuable materials at the highest price obtainable. The net proceeds of such sale, after deducting the expenses of such razing and removal, shall be promptly remitted with report of such sale or transaction, including the items of expense and the amounts deducted, for the person who is entitled thereto, subject to any order of a court. If such a surplus does not remain to be turned over, the report shall so state.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994; Ord. No. 871, § I, 3-28-2000]
(a) 
Scope. The provisions of §§ 3-4 through 3-4.15 shall govern the minimum conditions and the responsibilities of persons for maintenance of structures, equipment and exterior property.
(b) 
Responsibility. The owner of the premises shall maintain the structures and exterior property in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy premises which do not comply with the requirements of §§ 3-4 through 3-4.15.
(c) 
Vacant structures and land. All vacant structures and premises thereof or vacant land shall be maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition as provided herein so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.
(d) 
Vacant commercial buildings; filing requirements.
(1) 
General. An owner of a vacant commercial building shall file with the Fire Chief of the Fire Department copies of blueprints, floor plans, utilities plans and pictures of the interior and exterior of said building.
[Ord. No. 1143, § I, 9-29-2015]
(2) 
Vacant commercial building defined. For the purpose of this subsection, the term “vacant commercial building” shall mean a commercial building with no occupancy for at least three months and which is not, in its current deteriorated condition, likely to be rentable or saleable.
(3) 
Penalties. Any person found to be in violation of this subsection shall be subject to criminal and noncriminal penalties as provided for by §§ 4 1/2-1 and 4 1/2-2 of Chapter 4 1/2 of the Code of Laws of the City of Pittsfield. The Fire Chief of the Fire Department shall be the enforcement officer for this subsection.
[Ord. No. 1143, § II, 9-29-2015]
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994; Ord. No. 792, § 1, 9-12-1995; Ord. No. 955, §§ I, II, 4-13-2005]
(a) 
Sanitation. All exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.
(b) 
Grading and drainage. With the exception of water retention areas and reservoirs approved by the Code Enforcement Officer, all premises shall be graded and maintained to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water thereon, or within any structure located thereon.
(c) 
Sidewalks and driveways. All sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas shall be kept in a proper state of repair and maintained free from hazardous conditions.
(d) 
Weeds. All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds in excess of 10 inches (254 mm). Weeds shall be defined as grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees, shrubs, cultivated flowers, or gardens. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited.
(e) 
Rat harborage. All structures and exterior property shall be kept free from rat infestation. Where rats are found, they shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes which will not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken to prevent reinfestation.
(f) 
Exhaust vents. Pipes, ducts, conductors, fans or blowers shall not discharge gases, steam, vapor, hot air, grease, smoke, odors and other gaseous or particulate wastes directly upon abutting or adjacent public or private property or that of another tenant.
(g) 
Accessory structures. All accessory structures, including detached garages, fences and walls, shall be maintained structurally sound and in good repair.
(h) 
Motor vehicles. Except as provided for in other regulations, no abandoned, wrecked, junked, dilapidated, nonoperating, unregistered or unlawfully inspected motor vehicles shall be parked, kept or stored on any premises for a period exceeding 10 days, and no vehicle shall at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. Exception: A vehicle of any type is permitted to undergo major overhaul, including body work, provided that such work is performed inside a structure or similarly enclosed area designed and approved for such purposes.
[Ord. No. 1192, § II, 9-12-2017]
(i) 
Garbage removal. Garbage and trash shall not be placed on the curb for removal prior to 24 hours before scheduled pickup.
(j) 
Gutters. Gutters shall be kept free and clear from all types of obstruction. At no time shall any property owner be allowed to rake and/or pile leaves and/or other debris in gutters.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
General. The exterior of a structure shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary so as not to pose a threat to the public health, safety, or welfare.
(b) 
Street numbers. Each structure to which a street number has been assigned shall have such a number displayed in a position easily observed and readable from the public right-of-way. All numbers shall be in arabic numerals at least three inches (76 mm) high and one-half-inch (13 mm) stroke.
(c) 
Structural members. All structural members shall be maintained free from deterioration and shall be capable of safely supporting the imposed dead and live loads.
(d) 
Foundation walls. All foundation walls shall be maintained plumb and free from open cracks and breaks and shall be kept in such a condition so as to prevent the entry of rats.
(e) 
Exterior walls. All exterior walls shall be free from holes, breaks and loose or rotting materials and shall be maintained weatherproof and properly surface-coated where required to prevent deterioration.
(f) 
Roofs and drainage. The roof and flashing shall be sound, tight and free from defects that admit rain. Roof drainage shall be adequate to prevent dampness or deterioration in the walls or interior portion of the structure. Roof water shall not be discharged in a manner that creates a public nuisance.
(g) 
Decorative features. All cornices, belt courses, corbels, terra cotta trim, wall facings and similar decorative features shall be maintained in good repair, with proper anchorage, and in a safe condition.
(h) 
Overhang extensions. All canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, stairways, fire escapes, standpipes, exhaust ducts and similar overhang extensions shall be maintained in good repair and be properly anchored so as to be kept in a safe and sound condition. When required, all exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.
(i) 
Chimneys and towers. All chimneys, cooling towers, smoke stacks and similar appurtenances shall be maintained structurally safe and sound and in good repair. All exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials, such as paint or similar surface treatment.
(j) 
Handrails and guards. Every handrail and guard shall be firmly fastened and capable of supporting normally imposed loads and shall be maintained in good condition.
(k) 
Window and door frames. Every window, door, and frame shall be kept in good condition, good repair, and weather-tight.
(l) 
Glazing. All glazing materials shall be maintained free from cracks and holes.
(m) 
Openable windows. Every window, other than a fixed window, shall be easily openable and capable of being held in position by window hardware.
(n) 
Doors. All exterior doors and hardware shall be maintained in good condition. Locks at all entrances to dwelling units, rooming units, and guestrooms shall tightly secure the door.
(o) 
Basement hatchways. Every basement hatchway shall be maintained to prevent the entrance of rats, rain, and surface drainage water.
(p) 
Guards for basement windows. Every basement window that is openable shall be supplied with ratproof shields, storm windows, or other approved protection against the entry of rats.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
General. The interior of a structure and equipment therein shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound, and in a sanitary condition. Every occupant shall keep that part of the structure which such occupant occupies or controls in a clean and sanitary condition. Every owner of a structure containing a rooming house, a hotel, a dormitory, two or more dwelling units or two or more nonresidential occupancies, shall maintain, in a clean and sanitary condition, the shared or public areas of the structure and exterior property.
(b) 
Structural members. The supporting structural members of every structure shall be maintained structurally sound, and be capable of supporting the imposed loads.
(c) 
Interior surfaces. All interior surfaces, including windows and doors, shall be maintained in good, clean, and sanitary condition. Peeling paint, cracked or loose plaster, decayed wood, and other defective surface conditions shall be corrected.
(d) 
Lead-based paint. Interior and exterior painted surfaces of dwellings and child care facilities, including fences and outbuildings, which contain in excess of 0.06% lead by weight shall be removed or covered in an approved manner. Any surface to be covered shall first be marked with warnings as to the lead content of such surface.
(e) 
Stairs and railings. All interior stairs and railings shall be maintained in sound condition and good repair.
(f) 
Handrails and guards. Every handrail and guard shall be firmly fastened and capable of supporting normally imposed loads and shall be maintained in good condition.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
Infestation. All structures shall be kept free from insect and rat infestation. All structures in which insects or rats are found shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes that will not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken to prevent reinfestation.
(b) 
Owner. The owner of any structure shall be responsible for extermination within the structure prior to renting or leasing the structure.
(c) 
Single occupancy. The occupant of a structure containing a single dwelling unit or of a single nonresidential structure shall be responsible for extermination on the premises.
(d) 
Multiple occupancy. The owner of a structure containing two or more dwelling units, a multiple occupancy, a rooming house, or a nonresidential structure shall be responsible for extermination in the public or shared areas of the structure and exterior property. If infestation is caused by failure of an occupant to prevent such infestation in the area occupied, the occupants shall be responsible for extermination.
(e) 
Occupant. The occupant of any structure shall be responsible for the continued ratproof condition of the structure, and, if the occupant fails to maintain the ratproof condition, the cost of extermination shall be the responsibility of the occupant.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
Scope. The provisions of sections 3-4.12 through 3-4.15 shall govern the minimum conditions and standards for light, ventilation, and space for the occupancy of a structure.
(b) 
Responsibility. The owner of the structure shall provide and maintain light, ventilation, and space conditions in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy any premises that do not comply with these requirements.
(c) 
Alternative devices. In lieu of the means for natural light and ventilation herein prescribed, artificial light or mechanical ventilation complying with the state building code shall be permitted.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
Habitable spaces. Every habitable space shall have at least one window of approved size facing directly to the outdoors or to a court. The minimum total window area, measured between stops, for every habitable space shall be 8% of the floor area of such room, except in kitchens where artificial light is provided in accordance with the provisions of the state building code. Wherever walls or other portions of a structure face a window of any room and such obstructions are located less than three feet (914 mm) from the window and extend to a level above that of the ceiling of the room, such window shall not be deemed to face directly to the outdoors nor to a court and shall not be included as contributing to the required minimum total window area for the room.
(b) 
Common halls and stairways. Every common hall and stairway, other than in one- and two-family dwellings, shall be lighted at all times with at least a sixty-watt standard incandescent light bulb or equivalent for each 200 square feet of floor area, provided that the spacing between lights shall not be greater than 30 feet (9,144 mm). Every exterior stairway shall be illuminated with a minimum of one footcandle (11 lux) at floors, landings and treads.
(c) 
Other spaces. All other spaces shall be provided with natural or artificial light sufficient to permit the maintenance of sanitary conditions and the safe occupancy of the space and utilization of the appliances, equipment, and fixtures.
[Ord. No. 772, § 1, 10-13-1994]
(a) 
Habitable spaces. Every habitable space shall have at least one openable window. The total openable area of the window in every room shall be equal to at least 45% of the minimum glazed area required in section 3-4.13(a).
(b) 
Bathroom and toilet rooms. Every bathroom and toilet room shall comply with the ventilation requirements for habitable spaces, except that a window shall not be required in spaces equipped with a mechanical ventilation system that complies with the following:
(1) 
Air exhausted by a mechanical ventilation system from a bathroom within a dwelling unit shall be exhausted to the exterior and shall not be recirculated to any space, including the space from which air is withdrawn; and
(2) 
Air exhausted by a mechanical ventilation system from all other bathrooms or toilet rooms shall be exhausted to the exterior without recirculation to any space, or not more than 85% of the exhaust air shall be recirculated where the system is provided with effective absorption and filtering equipment.
(c) 
Cooking facilities. Unless approved through the certificate of occupancy, cooking shall not be permitted in any rooming unit or dormitory unit, and a cooking facility or appliance shall not be permitted to be present in a rooming unit or dormitory unit.
(d) 
Process ventilation. Where injurious, toxic, irritating or noxious fumes, gases, dusts, or mists are generated, a local exhaust ventilation system shall be provided to remove the contaminating agent at the source. Air shall be exhausted to the exterior and not be recirculated to any space.
(e) 
Clothes dryer exhaust. Clothes dryer venting systems shall be independent of all other systems and shall be vented in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
(a) 
Privacy. Dwelling units, hotel units, rooming units, and dormitory units shall be arranged to provide privacy and be separate from other adjoining spaces.
(b) 
Access from sleeping rooms. With the exception of dwelling units that contain fewer than two bedrooms, sleeping rooms shall not constitute the only means of access to other sleeping rooms or habitable spaces.
(c) 
Area for sleeping purposes. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant thereof.
(d) 
Water closet accessibility. Every bedroom shall have access to at least one water closet and one lavatory without passing through another bedroom.
(e) 
Overcrowding. Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the minimum occupancy area requirements of Table A.
Table A
Minimum Occupancy Area Requirements
(in square feet)
Space
1 – 2 Occupants
3 – 5 Occupants
6 or More
Living room
No requirements
120
150
Dining room
No requirements
80
100
Kitchen
50
50
60
Bedrooms
Shall comply with section 3-4.15(3)
(f) 
Combined spaces. Combined living room and dining room spaces shall comply with the requirements of Table A if the total area is equal to that required for separate rooms and if the space is located so as to function as a combination living room/dining room.
(g) 
Prohibited occupancy. Kitchens, nonhabitable spaces, and interior public areas shall not be occupied for sleeping purposes.
(h) 
Minimum ceiling heights. Habitable spaces, other than kitchens, shall have a clear ceiling height of not less than seven feet, three inches. Hallways, corridors, laundry areas, bathrooms, toilet rooms and kitchens shall have a clear ceiling height of not less than seven feet.
Exceptions:
(1) 
Beams or girders spaced not less than four feet (1219 mm) on center and projecting not more than six inches (152 mm) below the required ceiling height, provided that the minimum clear height is not less than six feet, eight inches (2033 mm).
(2) 
Dropped or furred ceilings over not more than 1/2 of the minimum floor area required by this code, provided that no part of such dropped or furred ceiling is less than seven feet (2,134 mm) in height.
(3) 
Rooms occupied exclusively for sleeping, study, or similar purposes and having a sloped ceiling over all or part of the room, with a clear ceiling height of at least seven feet (2,134 mm) over not less than 1/3 of the required minimum floor area. In calculating the floor area of such rooms, only those portions of the floor area with a clear ceiling height of five feet (1524 mm) or more shall be included.
(4) 
Basement rooms in one- and two-family dwellings occupied exclusively for laundry, study or recreational purposes, having a ceiling height of not less than six feet, eight inches (2033 mm) with not less than six feet, four inches (1932 mm) of clear height under beams, girders, ducts, and similar obstructions.
(i) 
Minimum room widths. A habitable room, other than a kitchen, shall not be less than seven feet (2,134 mm) in any plan dimension. Kitchens shall have a clear passageway of not less than three feet (914 mm) between counterfronts and appliances or counterfronts and walls.
(j) 
Food preparation. All spaces to be occupied for food preparation purposes shall contain suitable space and equipment to store, prepare and serve foods in a sanitary manner. There shall be adequate facilities and services for the sanitary disposal of food wastes and refuse, including facilities for temporary storage.