Cart Ordinances

Worcester, MA

Worcester, MA
Section 15. Abandoned Shopping Carts


(d) REMOVAL OF SHOPPING CARTS FROM PROPERTY OF OWNER PROHIBITED It shall be unlawful for any person to remove, for any purpose, a shopping cart, with identification markings as set forth in subsection (g) of this ordinance, from the interior of any establishment that does not contain a parking area or from the parking area of any establishment where a shopping cart was obtained.
The possession of a shopping cart so marked by a person, other than the owner or agent of the owner, in a place other than that from which the shopping cart was legally made available to the public shall constitute a presumption that such person did unlawfully remove such shopping cart from the premises of the owner. Whoever violates this subsection is subject to penalty as set forth in subsection (l)(1).



(e) CARTS IN PARKING LOTS AFTER BUSINESS HOURS
No establishment shall allow any shopping carts to remain unsecured in its parking lot after the establishment’s normal business hours. Any establishment that is found to have failed to secure all shopping carts in its parking lot after the establishment’s normal business hours shall be in violation of this section and is subject to penalty as set forth in subsection (l) (2).



(f) ABANDONING SHOPPING CARTS PROHIBITED
It shall be unlawful for any person who obtains possession of a shopping cart from an establishment to leave or abandon the shopping cart in any public place other than the property of the establishment. Any person found in violation of this subsection is subject to penalty as set forth in subsection (l)(3).



(g) IDENTIFICATION MARKINGS REQUIRED
Every establishment, regardless of its size or the number of shopping carts on its premises, shall mark or cause to be marked any and all shopping carts in a conspicuous and permanent manner with the name of and/or company logo, the address and telephone number of the establishment from which it was made available or permitted to be utilized. The markings required by this subsection shall be affixed within 90 days of the adoption of this ordinance. Such identification shall be in the form of a waterproof tag or imprint securely affixed to the frame of the shopping cart or in some other equally noticeable and permanent manner. Upon expiration of this ninety-day period, any establishment with shopping carts not affixed with the identifying markings required by this subsection while their shopping carts are still on their premises shall be in violation of this subsection and is subject to penalty as set forth in subsection (l)(4).



(h) POSTING OF SIGNS REQUIRED
Any person owning, making available or having control of a place where shopping carts are utilized, regardless of its size or the number of shopping carts on its premises, shall conspicuously post signs at said establishment, said signs to be posted in the interior of the establishments and in the parking lots of such establishments. The signs shall notify the public that the unauthorized removal of a shopping cart from the premises or parking area and/or the abandonment of a shopping cart is a violation of city ordinance. Such signs shall also list an address and telephone number for returning the shopping cart to the establishment. The signs required by this subsection shall be erected within 90 days of the adoption of this ordinance. The DPW&P, within 15 days of the adoption of this ordinance, shall provide the owner of each such establishment with the wording and form for the required signs, as well as indicate the number of signs that must be posted on each owner's property. The number of signs required will vary by store, depending on the number of entrances and exits and the number of shopping cart corrals in the parking lot. Upon the expiration of this ninety-day period, it shall be a violation of this Ordinance for any person to own, make available or permit shopping carts to be utilized in an establishment without first posting the signs required by this subsection. Whoever violates this subsection is subject to penalty as set forth in subsection (l)(5).



(i) REMOVAL OF SHOPPING CARTS
Abandoned shopping carts are declared to be a nuisance and a hazard. The commissioner of Public Works and Parks may, without notice, call for the removal, from time to time, of any abandoned shopping cart found in any public place. The impounded shopping carts will be transported to the DPW&P storage yard and recycling facility at 1065 Millbury Street or any other storage facility so designated by the Commissioner.



(j) RETRIEVAL OF SHOPPING CARTS
For those establishments that have implemented a theft deterrent system, per subsection (k) herein, there will be no impound fee and its carts will be returned to the owner free of charge. The owner shall be responsible for retrieving any and all impounded carts from the DPW&P storage facility.
If a cart does not have an identification marking then the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks may attempt to identify the owner of the cart and store it with other carts, if any, belonging to that owner. Any cart that does not have the identification marking attached pursuant to subsection (g) herein and which is impounded pursuant to these subsections is deemed to be abandoned property and the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks may sell any such cart at public auction and the proceeds shall inure to the City of Worcester, or may destroy or otherwise dispose of any such cart.
For those establishments that have not implemented a theft deterrent system for their shopping carts or are not required to, per subsection (k) of this Ordinance, impounded shopping carts may be retrieved by the establishment upon payment of a $20 impound fee per cart. Such payments shall be in the form of a store check in the amount of $20 times the number of carts being retrieved and made payable to the “Department of Public Works and Parks”.
All establishments, whether their carts are subject to impound fees or not, shall contact the DPW&P storage facility on a regular basis to determine if any of their shopping carts have been impounded and if so, how many and to schedule a retrieval appointment.
Any shopping cart that has not been retrieved by an owner within forty-five (45) days of the date it was impounded shall be deemed to be permanently abandoned and the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks may, in said Commissioner’s sole discretion: (i) continue to release such carts to the owner in accordance with this Section, (ii) sell such carts at public auction and the proceeds shall inure to the City of Worcester, or (iii) destroy or otherwise dispose of such carts.



(k) MITIGATION REQUIREMENTS
1. Beginning 180 days after the adoption of this ordinance, all establishments that own, make available or have utilized more than 50 shopping carts shall be required to install a system that causes a wheel of the shopping cart to lock when the conveyance is moved near or across an antenna located at the perimeter of the establishment's parking area or other system deemed acceptable by the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks that would prevent the removal of shopping carts from the premises.
2. Establishments that own, make available or have utilized between 20 and 50 shopping carts shall have the option of installing the system described above or a shopping cart handle lock system deactivated through the introduction of a coin or coins that may be redeemed by the user upon return of the shopping cart or other system deemed acceptable by the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks that would prevent the removal of the shopping carts from the premises.
3. Establishments that own, make available or have utilized less than 20 shopping carts are not subject to the requirements of (1) or (2) above.
4. Establishments, owners or persons that fail to comply with this Section are subject to penalty as set forth in subsection (l)(6) of this ordinance.



(l) PENALTIES FOR OFFENSES
This ordinance may be enforced by civil process, criminal process or by non-criminal disposition as provided in General laws, Chapter 40, §21D. Each day on which any violation exists shall be deemed to be a separate offense. Any fines and/or fees that remain unpaid by an owner for more than twelve (12) months may become liens against the real estate of the establishment. The penalty for each violation of this ordinance shall be as follows:
1. Removal of a shopping cart from the property of the owner: $25.00
2. Establishment allowing any shopping carts to remain unsecured in its parking lot after business hours: $100.00 each occurrence
3. Abandoning a shopping cart in any public place other than the property of the establishment: $25.00
4. Establishment failing to mark its shopping carts as per subsection (g) of this Ordinance: $100 each occurrence
5. Establishment failing to post signs as per subsection (h) of this ordinance: $100 each occurrence
6. Establishment failing to implement a shopping cart theft deterrent system within 180 days of the adoption of this ordinance per subsection (k): $300 each occurrence



(m) APPEAL
1. An owner who has incurred a shopping cart-related fee under these Sections may obtain a hearing regarding the propriety of the fee by making a written petition to the commissioner of Public Works and Parks for a hearing within fifteen (15) calendar days after retrieval of the impounded carts and payment of the impound fee pursuant to subsection (i). The Commissioner of Public Works and Parks shall provide written notice to the owner of the date, time and location of the hearing, and the hearing shall be held within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the hearing request.
2. The Commissioner of Public Works and Parks or his or her designee shall act as the Hearing Officer and the decision resulting there from shall be final and subject only to judicial review allowed by law.
3. The Commissioner of Public Works and Parks shall notify the owner of the decision in writing within thirty (30) calendar days of the hearing.
4. Proceedings for review of the decision of the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks may be instituted in any court of competent jurisdiction within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as allowed by law from the date of notice of decision of said Commissioner. The commencement of an action shall not operate as a stay of enforcement of said commissioner’s decision, but the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks, at his or her discretion, may stay enforcement pending the outcome of any appeal as allowed by law.

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