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General Laws

Section 21. Towns may, for the purposes hereinafter named, make such ordinances and by-laws, not repugnant to law, as they may judge most conducive to their welfare, which shall be binding upon all inhabitants thereof and all persons within their limits. They may, except as herein provided, affix penalties for breaches thereof not exceeding three hundred dollars for each offense, which shall enure to the town or to such uses as it may direct. Notwithstanding the provisions of any special law to the contrary, fines shall be recovered by indictment or on complaint before a district court, or by noncriminal disposition in accordance with section twenty-one D.

(1) For directing and managing their prudential affairs, preserving peace and good order, and maintaining their internal police.

(2) For preventing the fall of snow and ice from roofs and securing the removal thereof in such portions of their limits and to such extent as they deem expedient. The penalty for violation of such by-laws shall apply to the owner of such building or to his agent having the care thereof.

(3) For providing for the removal of snow and ice from the sidewalks, within the limits of the public ways therein to such extent as they deem expedient. The penalty for the violation of such by-laws shall apply to the owner of abutting property or his agent having charge thereof.

(4) For requiring owners of buildings near the line of public ways to erect barriers, or to take other suitable measures to prevent the fall of snow and ice therefrom upon persons traveling on such ways, and to protect such persons from other dangers incident to the maintenance, occupation or use thereof.

(5) For declaring any sewer or drain laid in any land or way, public or private, opened or proposed to be opened for public travel, to be a common sewer, and that it shall not be laid or connected with any existing common sewer except by the board or officers authorized to lay and maintain common sewers.

(6) For regulating, under a penalty not exceeding fifty dollars for each offence, the use of the common sewers and the connections which may be made therewith.

(7) For regulating throughout the town or within a limited portion thereof, by any designated board or commission, the inspection, materials, construction, alteration or use of pipes and fixtures through which water is supplied by public water works; and to prohibit the use of such water by persons neglecting or refusing to comply with such by-laws.

(8) For regulating, under a penalty not exceeding fifty dollars for each offence, the use of reservoirs connected with its water supply and land and driveways appurtenant thereto.

(9) For regulating the width of tires of vehicles owned in such town and used on the highways thereof.

(10) For requiring and regulating the numbering of buildings on or near the line of public or private ways and prescribing by whom and the method in which it shall be done.

(11) For regulating the disposal by town boards, officers or departments of personal property belonging to the town.

(12) For regulating the making of annual reports by boards, officers or departments not required by law to make such reports.

(13) For requiring all town officers to pay all fees received by them by virtue of their office into the town treasury, or to report the amount thereof from time to time to the selectmen, who shall publish the same in the annual town report.

(14) For prohibiting or regulating the leaving of vehicles unattended within the limits of private ways furnishing means of access for fire apparatus to any building.

(15) For regulating the use, occupation and maintenance, by clubs or associations, whether or not incorporated, of dwelling houses used in common by any or all of their members. In addition to any other remedy provided by law for violation of any ordinance or by-law made under authority of this paragraph, the superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to restrain any such violation.

(16) For authorizing the superintendent of streets or other officer having charge of ways, for the purpose of removing or plowing snow, or removing ice, from any way, to remove, or cause to be removed, to some convenient place, including in such term a public garage, any vehicle interfering with such work, and for imposing liability for the cost of such removal, and of the storage charges, if any, resulting therefrom, upon the owner of such vehicle.

(16A) For authorizing the board or officer having charge of the collection of garbage and refuse, for the purpose of facilitating such collection, to remove, or cause to be removed, to some convenient place in the city or town, including in such term a public garage, from any portion of a public way therein or from any private way therein open to public use any vehicle parked contrary to a sign within one hundred feet banning parking at such time and place, and for imposing liability for the cost of such removal, and of the storage charges, if any, resulting therefrom, upon the owner of such vehicle.

(16B) For designating areas upon public streets to be used as bicycle lanes and for establishing a noncriminal ticketing procedure against violations of bicycle laws, and a schedule of fines for breaches thereof, not to exceed twenty dollars for each offense.

(17) For prohibiting or regulating the removal of soil, loam, sand or gravel from land not in public use in the whole or in specified districts of the town, and for requiring the erection of a fence or barrier around such area and the finished grading of the same. The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to compel compliance with any ordinance or by-law made hereunder. The penalty for violation of any ordinance or by-law made hereunder shall be as follows:—for the first offence, fifty dollars; for the second offence, one hundred dollars; and for each subsequent offence, two hundred dollars. Any order or by-law prohibiting such removal hereunder shall not apply to any soil, loam, sand or gravel which is the subject of a permit or license issued under the authority of the town or by the appropriate licensing board of such town or by the board of appeal, or which is to be removed in compliance with the requirements of a subdivision plan approved by the town planning board.

(18) For regulating the inspection, materials, construction, installation, alteration or use of pipes, fittings and fixtures through which gas is supplied within buildings and other structures.

(19) For requiring any person excavating land or any person in charge of such excavation and for requiring any owner of land which has been excavated to erect barriers or take other suitable measures within two days after such person has been notified in writing by the mayor or city manager and the city council, the selectmen or the building inspector, of the city or town in which the land is located that in their opinion such excavation constitutes a hazard to public safety. The penalty for violation of any ordinance or by-law made hereunder shall not exceed two hundred dollars per day for every day such person is in violation of such notice commencing with the fourth day thereof. The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to compel compliance with any ordinance or by-law made under the provisions of this clause. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no person shall be found guilty of a violation of such an ordinance or by-law, nor shall a person be compelled in equity to comply therewith unless, in the opinion of the court, such excavation constitutes a hazard.

(20) For requiring owners of land whereon is located an abandoned well or a well in use, to either provide a covering for such well capable of sustaining a weight of three hundred pounds or to fill same to the level of the ground. The penalty for violation of any ordinance or by-law made hereunder shall be a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

(21) For prohibiting or regulating the parking of any motor vehicle in front of any dwelling house except by the occupants of said dwelling house, provided that notice of said prohibition or regulation is given by the use of portable or permanent signs.

(22) For controlling and abating noise from whatever source, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the right to restrict or limit the use of automobile horns and the operation of motor vehicles in such a manner as to cause excessive noise.

(23) For requiring that designated parking spaces for vehicles either owned and operated by disabled veterans or by handicapped persons and bearing the distinctive number plates authorized by section two of chapter ninety, or for vehicles transporting handicapped persons and displaying the special parking identification plate authorized by said section two of said chapter ninety, or for vehicles bearing the official identification of a handicapped person issued by any other state, or any Canadian Province, be provided in public and private off-street parking areas.

(a) Any ordinance or by-law made hereunder shall require any person or body that has lawful control of a public or private way or of improved or enclosed property used as off-street parking areas for businesses, shopping malls, theaters, auditoriums, sporting or recreational facilities, cultural centers, residential dwellings, or for any other place where the public has a right of access as invitees or licensees, to reserve parking spaces in said off-street parking areas for any vehicle owned and operated by a disabled veteran or handicapped person whose vehicle bears the distinguishing license plate authorized by said section two of said chapter ninety or for any vehicle transporting a handicapped person and displaying the special identification plate authorized by section two of chapter ninety or for any vehicle bearing the official identification of a handicapped person issued by any other state, or any Canadian Province, according to the following formula:—

If the number of parking spaces in any such area is more than fifteen but not more than twenty-five, one parking space; more than twenty-five but not more than forty, five per cent of such spaces but not less than two; more than forty but not more than one hundred, four per cent of such spaces but not less than three; more than one hundred but not more than two hundred, three per cent of such spaces but not less than four; more than two hundred but not more than five hundred, two per cent of such spaces but not less than six; more than five hundred but not more than one thousand, one and one-half per cent of such spaces but not less than ten; more than one thousand but not more than two thousand, one per cent of such spaces but not less than fifteen; more than two thousand but less than five thousand, three-fourths of one per cent of such spaces but not less than twenty; and more than five thousand, one-half of one per cent of such spaces but not less than thirty.

(b) Parking spaces designated as reserved under paragraph (a) shall be identified by the use of above-grade signs with white lettering against a blue background and shall bear the words “Handicapped Parking: Special Plate Required. Unauthorized Vehicles May be Removed at Owner’s Expense”. The spaces shall be as near as possible to a building entrance or walkway, shall be adjacent to curb ramps or other unobstructed methods permitting sidewalk access to a handicapped person and shall be at least 8 feet wide, not including the cross hatch access aisle as defined by the architectural access board established in section 13A of chapter 22. The cross hatch access aisle abutting a handicapped parking space shall be considered part of the handicapped parking space to which it abuts to provide individuals who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids with sufficient space to enter and exit their vehicles. No person shall park in the cross hatched access aisle.

(24) For prohibiting or regulating the standing or leaving of vehicles unattended within parking spaces designated as reserved for vehicles owned and operated by disabled veterans or handicapped persons and within certain other areas.

An ordinance or by-law made under this section shall prohibit or regulate the leaving of unauthorized vehicles within parking spaces, including the cross hatch areas, designated for use by disabled veterans or handicapped persons as authorized by clause (23) or in such a manner as to obstruct a curb ramp designed for use by a handicapped person as a means of egress to a street or public way.

The penalty for a violation of an ordinance or by-law made under this section shall be not less than $100 nor more than $300 and shall provide for the removal of the vehicle in accordance with section 22D. This penalty shall not be a surchargeable offense under section 113B of chapter 175.

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