Article 72A


Section 1         Purpose and criteria

The purpose of this by-law is to promote the public health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of Natick through the regulation of placement, type, appearance and servicing of newsracks on public property and in public ways so as to:

  1. Provide for pedestrian and vehicular safety and convenience;
  2. Minimize to the greatest extent possible interference with the safe and efficient movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic, including ingress into or egress from any building situated along a public way, or movement along any public sidewalk or between a public way and a public sidewalk;
  3. Provide for safe and adequate access to poles, posts, traffic signs and signals, hydrants, mailboxes and areas used for public transportation services;
  4. Relocate and/or replace newsracks which result in a visual blight and/or excessive space allocation on public property and public ways, or which unreasonably detract from surrounding aesthetics, including adjacent properties, landscaping and other improvements, as well as to have abandoned or unused newsracks removed;
  5. To regulate in a fair and equal manner all newsracks and their contents.

Section 2         Definitions

As used in this by-law, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

  1. Newsrack - Any type of unmanned device or enclosure intended for the vending or free distribution of newspapers, periodicals, magazines or other literature.
  2. Public property - Any municipally owned land or building located in the Town of Natick.
  3. Public way - Any public street, highway, sidewalk, parkway or alley located in the Town of Natick.

Section 3         General placement of newsracks

Subject to the specifications and prohibitions set forth in this by-law, newsracks may be installed on public property and in public ways, however, such newsracks shall be placed parallel to and no closer than eighteen (18) inches from the curb, or near the wall of a building parallel to and not more than six (6) inches from the wall.

Section 4         Newsrack specifications

  1. Newsracks shall be maintained in good working order at all times, freshly painted and with unbroken handles. There shall be no sharp or jagged edges or protrusions on any newsrack which could cause injury or damage to persons or vehicles;
  2. The name, address and telephone number of a responsible person who may be contacted at any time shall be displayed on the newsrack in such manner as to be readily visible and readable;
  3. Newsracks shall be either freestanding or shall be bolted in place through four (4) standard holes in the newsrack base to pavement or a pad.  No newsrack may be chained, wired, cabled, attached or fixed to any pole, post, tree, fence, bench, trash receptacle or any other structure on public property or in a public way unless such anchor has been provided specifically for such purpose. If a bolted newsrack is removed, the bolts shall be likewise removed entirely and the holes shall be filled with suitable material;
  4. Newsracks shall carry no cardholders or advertising except the name of the newspaper or material being dispensed limited to two (2) square feet per side and six (6) square feet in total, and/or a copy of the latest edition of such material behind a clear panel in the door of the newsrack;
  5. Except for the clear panel, all surfaces of a newsrack shall be either green, beige, brown, black, yellow, blue or gray in color with a flat finish. Brilliant or flourescent-type finish is not permitted.

Section 5         Newsrack prohibitions

No newsrack shall be placed, installed, used or maintained:

  1. Within ten (10) feet of any marked crosswalk;
  2. Within ten (10) feet of any fire hydrant, fire or police call box, or other emergency facility or device; 
  3. Within ten (10) feet of any driveway; 
  4. Within ten (10) feet ahead of and ten (10) feet to the rear of any sign marking a designated bus stop, as measured along the edge of the pavement or curb line; 
  5. At any location where the clear space for passage of pedestrians would be reduced to less than six (6) feet; 
  6. Within five (5) feet of any display window of any building abutting any sidewalk or in such a manner as to impede or interfere with the use of such window display purpose, or within six (6) feet of any building entrance; 
  7. Facing another newsrack, separated only by the width of a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway;
  8. Within five (5) feet of any sign, street light pole, traffic signal pole, utility poles or parking meters;
  9. Within five (5) feet of any stairway, ramp or handicap access device;
  10. Within twenty (20) feet of any fixed flagpole, commemorative monument, school or school ground, playground or athletic field, cemetery, funeral home or building or site of regular secular or religious ceremony and observance. 

Section 6         Enforcement

This by-law shall be enforced by the Building Commissioner, subject to the following:

  1. Nonconforming newsracks. Within one hundred (100) days after the effective date of this by-law, and at any time thereafter, any newsrack in violation or nonconformance with any provision of this by-law shall be subject to remedy as provided by law, including but not limited to the imposition of fines, and removal by the Town; 
  2. Abandonment. In the event that any newsrack installed pursuant to this by-law does not contain the publication specified therefor within a period of forty-eight (48) hours after release of the current issue or when no publication is in the newsrack for a period of more than seven (7) consecutive days, the newsrack shall be considered abandoned and the Town shall thereafter remove such newsrack. In the event that a newspaper publishing company or its distributor desires to voluntarily abandon or discontinue a newsrack location, said newsrack shall be completely removed, and the public property or public way shall be promptly restored to a safe condition, leaving no holes or projections in any surface.

Section 7         Severability

If any subsection, paragraph, term or provision of this article of this by-law is determined to be illegal, invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such determination shall have no effect on any other paragraph, term or provision hereof, all of which shall remain in full force and effect.