Cart Ordinances


Chelsea, MA
Section 2-22: Abandoned Shopping Carts Prohibited

a) Required Signs On Carts. Every cart owned or provided by any business establishment in the city must have a sign permanently affixed to it that contains the following information:
1) Identifies the owner of the cart or the name of the business establishment, or both;
2) Notifies the public of the procedure to be utilized for authorized removal of the cart from the business premises;
3) Notifies the public that the unauthorized removal of the cart from the premises of parking area of the business establishment is a violation of municipal ordinance;
4) Lists a telephone number and contact person to report the location of the abandoned cart;
5) Lists an address for returning the cart to the owner or business establishment;
6) Lists an identification number for the cart.
b) Prohibiting Removal or Possession of Abandoned Cart. It shall be unlawful to either temporarily or permanently remove a cart from the premises or parking area of a business establishment without the express prior written approval of the owner or on-duty manager of the business establishment. Written permission shall be valid for a period not to exceed seventy-two (72) hours. It shall be unlawful to be in possession of a cart that has been removed from the premises or parking area of a business establishment unless it is in the process of being immediately returned to the owner or business establishment. This section shall not apply to carts that are removed for the purposes of repair or maintenance.
c) Mandatory Plan to Prevent Cart Removal Evaluation Report. Every owner shall develop and implement a specific plan to prevent customers from removing carts from the business premises. The plan must include the following elements:
1) Notice to Customers. Written notification shall be provided to customers that removal of carts from the premises and parking lots are prohibited and a violation of the municipal ordinance. This notice may be provided in the form of flyers, warnings on shopping bags, or any other form of written notification that will notify customers of the prohibition.
2) Signs. Signs shall be placed in pertinent places near door exits and near parking lot exits that warn customers that cart removal is prohibited and constitutes a violation of a municipal ordinance.
3) Physical Measures. Specific physical measures shall be implemented to prevent cart removal from the business premises. These measures may include, but are not limited to, disabling devices on all carts, posting of a security guard to deter and stop customers who attempt to remove carts from the business premises, bollards and chains around business premises to prevent cart removal, security deposits required for use of carts, or the rental or sale of carts that can be temporarily or permanently used for transport of purchases.
4) Evaluation Report. If a prevention plan was in place the previous year, a report shall be submitted to the city evaluating the measures that were used and approved in the prior year. The report shall include, but not be limited to, the inventory of carts owned, leased or used by the business establishment and the number of carts that had to be replaced due to loss, theft or abandonment.
d) Prevention Plan. Evaluation Report Timelines and Approval Process. The proposed plan for preventing cart removal and the evaluation report shall be submitted for approval to the city within sixty (60) days after adoption of this ordinance and by September 1st of each year thereafter. If a new plan is submitted, the proposed measures shall be implemented by no later than thirty (30) days after city approval is given. If the proposed plan is the same as the previous year, the prevention measures shall be continued until and unless the city indicates that a measure(s) needs to be modified. Unless otherwise agreed, any modifications to the plan imposed by the city shall be implemented within thirty days after the city notifies the owner of the needed modifications.
e) Penalties for Failing to Submit a Prevention Plan or Evaluation Report or to Implement Prevention Measures. Any owner that fails to submit a plan, implement the proposed plan measures, or implement any required modifications to the plan by the city within the time frame specified in this ordinance shall be required to place disabling devices on all carts owned, leased or used by the business to prevent removal of carts from the business premises and parking lots. Any owner that fails to submit an evaluation report as outlined in subsection (f) of this section by September 1st of each year or fails to place a disabling device on all carts, if applicable, shall be subject to a one thousand dollar ($1,000.00) civil penalty, plus an additional penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each day of noncompliance.
f) Notification for Retrieval of Abandoned Carts. The city shall notify the owner of any abandoned carts owned or used by the business establishment that have been located within the city. The owner shall have two calendar days from the date the notification is given, to retrieve the carts from the city.
g) Administrative Costs and Fines. Any owner that fails to retrieve its abandoned cart(s) within forty-eight (48) hours after receiving notice by the city shall pay the citys administrative costs for retrieving the cart(s) and providing the notification to the owner. Any owner who fails to retrieve abandoned carts in accordance with this ordinance in excess of three times during a six-month period, shall be subject to a fifty dollar ($50.00) fine for each occurrence. An occurrence includes all carts owned by the owner that are impounded by the city in a one-day period.
h) Disposition of Carts After Thirty Days. Any cart not reclaimed from the city within thirty (30) days after notification to the owner shall be sold or otherwise disposed of by the city. The owner shall be responsible for the cost of such disposition.
i) Exemption. Any owner that owns, leases or uses less than a total of twenty-five (25) shopping carts shall be exempt from the provisions of this ordinance. Any owner that has installed disabling devices on all carts owned, leased or used shall be exempt from the provisions of this ordinance.
j) Severability and Validity. If any section, subsection paragraph or sentence of this ordinance, or any part thereof, is for any reason found to be unconstitutional, invalid or beyond the authority of the city of Chelsea by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity or effectiveness of the remaining portions of this ordinance. (Added 11-23-98)

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