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Good Neighbor Handbook

Springfield Community Policing Partnership
Good Neighbor Handbook

An abbreviated guide to quality of life regulations in Springfield

  • This Good Neighbor Handbook outlines ordinances and other laws dealing with quality of life issues in the City of Springfield. It should be an invaluable tool to police, neighborhood groups, business associations and concerned citizens.

  • Ordinances have been summarized as simply as possible and are not the exact language of each ordinance. General Ordinance or Zoning Ordinance citations have been referenced for those wishing to read the exact text. The agency charged with enforcement of each ordinance has also been listed. In most cases, non-emergency complaints to the Police Department will be directed to the non-emergency phone (787-6302).

  • Together we can make our city a better place in which to live and work.

Mission Statement: Springfield Massachusetts Police
To provide public safety and to contribute to the quality of life for the citizens of the City of Springfield by protecting, serving and working with the community to develop philosophies which promote equity and establish partnership between citizens and police to enhance law enforcement, aid in the prevention of crime, and preserve the public peace.

Business Licenses & Regulations

Charitable Solicitations (5.36)

Public solicitation for charitable purposes requires a license from the City Clerk. 787-6094
Exempt are religious groups, schools, colleges, political parties.
Enforcement: Police Department, 787-6352 - $50 ticket

Hawkers and Peddlers (5.12)

Going from place to place selling fruit, vegetables, or fish requires a license from the Police Commission.
Enforcement: Police Department, 787-6352 - $50 ticket

Handbills (7.16.120)

Handbills must not be placed on trees, fences, unoccupied vehicles or buildings.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Sale of Spray Paint Cans (8.32)

Stores cannot sell spray paint cans or indelible markers to persons under 18 years old. Such merchandise must be kept so it is accessible only to employees in an area continuously observable by employees.
Enforcement: Police Department

Shopping Carts (7.16.135)

Carts must carry their owner's name, address, and telephone number. Any cart on public property must be immediately removed by the cart owner upon notification.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Tag Sales (8.20.060)

Tag sales require a permit from the City Clerk. 787-6094 No one can hold more than two tag sales per year.
Enforcement: Police Department 787-6302 - $50 ticket

Transient Vendors (5.56)

Sale of goods by a temporary or transient business requires a local transient vendors license from the City Clerk (787-6094) as well as any necessary state licenses.
Enforcement: Police Department, 787-6352 - $50 ticket


Control of Female Dogs (6.04)

A female dog in heat must be confined in a building or enclosure so as not to come in contact with a male dog except for planned breeding.
Enforcement: Hampden County Animal Control, 781-1484 - $50 ticket

Control of Nuisance Animals (6.08.060)

Unrestrained dogs and nuisance animals may be impounded by officials until their owners claim them and pay the required fee. Nuisances include molesting pedestrians or vehicles, attacking other animals, being on school grounds, damaging property, or disturbing the peace by barking or whining.
Enforcement: Animal Control, 781-1484 - $50 ticket

Keeping of Domestic Animals (ZO III, 301;7d)

Domestic animals may be kept only as household pets. Exceptions are horses, provided the lot is at least three acres. Four or more dogs is considered a Kennel and you need a license from the City Clerk. 787-6094
Enforcement: Housing Code Enforcement, 787-6730 - $50 ticket $100 per day court fine

Licensing Dogs (6.08.020)

Persons owning or keeping a dog more than six months old must obtain a license from the City Clerk. 787-6094
Enforcement: Police Department 787- 6302 - $50 ticket

Removing Dog Wastes (6.04)

Dog owners or handlers must immediately remove any feces deposited by the dog(s) off the owner's property.
Enforcement: Police Department 7876302 - $50 ticket

Restraining Dogs (6.08.050)

Any dog outside fenced areas or pens must be restrained with a leash not more than six feet long or be under the voice control of its owner who is carrying such a leash.
Enforcement: Police Department 787-6302 - $50 ticket

Vicious or Potentially Vicious Dogs (6.04)

A potentially vicious dog is a dog that when unprovoked: inflicts a bite on a human or domestic animal; chases or approaches a person upon any public way in an apparent attitude of attack; or has a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack. To consider declaring a dog vicious or potentially vicious a special hearing before a special hearing committee shall be held. (Request hearing in writing to Police Department)

Waste Collections

For all municipal collection services listed below, items should be placed at curbside no earlier than sunset of the day prior to collection but no later than 7 am of the collection day. Containers and uncollected wastes must be removed from curbside no later than midnight of the collection day.


Housing Code



Dept of Public Works


$50 ticket

Biweekly Recycling Collection (7.16.040)

Rinse and place in approved recycling receptacles: aluminum foil and trays; unbroken glass bottles and jars; tin cans and lids; uncapped plastic bottles coded 1 through 7; plastic tubs, cups, jars; and flattened milk and juice containers. Clean newspapers, magazines, catalogues, brown paper bags, white paper, computer paper, telephone books, junk mail, paperback books, and flattened corrugated cardboard must be bound or placed in paper bags. If you need a Blue Bin go to DPW, 70 Tapley Street.

City Bulk Collection (7.16.050)

The city collects large items from residents such as furniture and appliances. Doors must be removed from refrigerators prior to being placed at curbside. You must call the Department of Public Works at 787-6260 for an appointment. There is a limit of five items per appointment. (Call for an appointment today!) You must affix a sticker(s) that can be purchased at City Hall or DPW on Tapley Street.

Leaves and Yard Waste Collection (7.16.041)

Place leaves, grass, hedge clippings, garden wastes, and small twigs loosely in barrels or in approved paper leaf bags (no plastic bags). Other trash must not be mixed in. Yard waste collections occur on your recycling day from April through December. Call DPW for exact pick up date

Licensing of Private Bulk and Waste Hauling Services (7.17)

Garbage, rubbish, and hazardous waste shall be transported only by collectors authorized by the Director of Public Works. Such waste items shall be deposited only at approved disposal sites.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Weekly Rubbish Collection (7.16.060)

Rubbish must be placed in automated collection containers. Leaves or yard waste must be recycled.

Public Peace and Welfare

Alcoholic Beverages (8.04.020)

Open containers of alcohol on any public street or public property are prohibited. Exempt are events and festivals licensed by the License Commission.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Darts and Knives (8.12.040 & 8.12.050)

No steel-pointed darts, pointed missiles, steel knives, machetes, or swords with blades longer than seventeen inches shall be sold to anyone under age sixteen.
Enforcement: Police Department

False Alarm Regulations (7.18.110)

Security alarm systems must be registered with the City Police Department. More than two false alarms in a calendar year shall result in a fine . Third alarm $25, Forth alarm $50, Fifth alarm $100, Six + $200.

Littering (7.16.120a)

It is illegal to throw litter on streets, sidewalks, and public property.
Enforcement: Police Department - $300 ticket

Loitering (8.24)

No one should stand on a street, sidewalk, bridge, or crossing so as to obstruct the way or prevent or hinder anyone from passing.
Enforcement: Police Department, 787-6302 - $50 ticket

Noise (7.20 as amended)

Prohibited is unreasonably or excessive noise that is plainly audible at a distance of one hundred feet or, in the case of loud amplification devices or other similar equipment, noise plainly audible at a distance of fifty feet from its source by a person of normal hearing. Noise is any sound which

(a) endangers or injures the safety or health of humans or animals, or

(b) annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities, or

(c) endangers or injures person or real property.

A noise measurement devise (dBa meter) may be used. Noise is unreasonable in residential areas if measured in excess of 50 dBa between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or in excess of 65 dBa at all other hours (please refer to complete ordinance text for additional requirements).
Enforcement: Police Department, $100 ticket First Offense, $200 ticket Second Offense, $300 ticket Third Offense, $300 ticket for Fourth and subsequent offense within 12 months.

Paint Ball Guns and Others (8.12.030)

No person shall project by means of any paint ball gun, so-called BB gun, or any air powered weapon, any missile or substance whatsoever in or into any street or other public place.
Enforcement: Police Department, 787-6302 - $50 ticket

Motor Vehicles

Abandoned Motor Vehicle in the Street (9.24.010)

A motor vehicle may be removed from any street seventy-two hours after a police officer deems it to have been abandoned.
Enforcement: Police Department -$50 ticket

Abandoned Motor Vehicle on Private Property (MGL 90 Ch 22b)

A motor vehicle may be removed from private property seventy-two hours after a code enforcement inspector has tagged it as abandoned.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement, 787-6730

Crossing Property to Avoid Traffic Signals (9.24.011)

No motor vehicle shall cross public or private property within 200 feet of an intersection with a traffic signal or stop sign.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Emergency Parking Bans (9.16.020)

During snowstorms, the City can declare parking bans on public streets. During bans there is no parking on even side of streets from 7pm to 7am and on odd side from 9am to 4pm. Cars can be ticketed and towed if improperly parked.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Motor Vehicle Repairs on Sidewalks or Streets (10.16.085)

No one should repair a motor vehicle-except for emergency repairs such a flat tire--on any public sidewalk, street, tree belt, terrace, or public space.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Permit Parking (9.21)

No one may park a motor vehicle on a restricted parking street without a parking permit or a visitor pass. Currently, only Mattoon Street is so designated.
Enforcement: Police Department, 787-6302 - $50 ticket

Sales from Motor Vehicles (10.16.140)

When stopped on public streets to sell frozen desserts and soft drinks, motor vehicles shall use front and rear amber blinker lights visible for 500 feet.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Unregistered Motor Vehicles on Lots (7.16.130)

Unregistered motor vehicles, or substantial parts of such, must not remain on a property more than twelve days.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6730 - $50 ticket

Vehicles Crossing Curbs (10.16.090)

No motor vehicle may cross a curb unless permitted by the Public Works Director.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Streets, Sidewalks & Public Places

Bicycles on the Sidewalk (10.16.080)

No one, except children under the age of twelve years old, should ride a bicycle on the sidewalk.
Enforcement: Police Department

Cutting Trees on Public Property (10.12.030)

No one can cut or trim trees on tree belts or public property without a permit from
the Park Commission.
Enforcement: Park Department, 787-6440 - $50 ticket

Gates or Doors (10.16.200)

No gate or door should swing into a public sidewalk or street.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Handbills and Signs (12.12.130)

It is illegal to paint or post a handbill or sign on public property, public trees, or public fixtures such as light posts, street signs, and traffic signs. The person responsible for the posting is liable for the costs of removal. Excepted are temporary signs which the Director of Public Works permitted.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Maintenance of Sidewalks, Catch Basins, Gutters (7.16.120)

Persons owning or occupying property shall keep the abutting sidewalk, tree belt, catch basin, and three feet of street closest to the curb free of litter. Litter collected shall be placed in proper receptacles for collection as normal household rubbish. Litter must not be swept into the street.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6730 - $50 ticket

Maintenance of Tree Belts (7.16.120)

Occupants of single-family homes and owners of other types of property must keep the
tree belt free from litter, debris, brush, ragweed, or other noxious weed.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787 - 6730 - $50 ticket
Criminal complaint-up to $300 per day court fine

Motorized Scooters 9.28.020

Prohibited on any city owned or controlled property. Can only be permitted on private property with express written permission of owner. No motorized vehicle shall be operated by a person under 16 or without a valid learners permit or drivers license, without braking system, without rider wearing a helmet or in a careless or reckless manner. The City ordinance defines a "motorized scooter" as any two wheeled device, including but not limited to, the so-called mini-bikes, mini choppers, gas scooters or electric scooters, that have handlebars, are designed to be stood upon or seated upon, and powered by a gas or electric motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion, but is not defined as a motor vehicle under the laws of Massachusetts.
First Offense: $100.00 Second Offense: $200.00 Third Offense: $300.00
The police officer has the right to impound the motorized scooter.

Playing in Streets (10.16.220)

No one should play in a street so as to interfere with its use by others.
Enforcement: Police Department - $50 ticket

Reporting Non-working Street Lights

Most street lights ("cobra heads") are maintained by Northeast Utilities. If one is not working, call to report it. Describe its location accurately as possible.
Maintenance: Northeast Utilities, 785-5871

Sales in Streets (10.16.130)

No one should sell any items on any street or to anyone on a sidewalk without
a permit from the Chief of Police.
Enforcement: Police Department, 787-6352 - $50 ticket

Signs on Sidewalk or Tree Belt (10.16.240)

No advertising or directional sign shall be placed on a public sidewalk or tree belt without a license from the Director of Public Works and without posting a bond approved by the Mayor.
Enforcement: Police Department

Snow and Ice Removal (7.24)

Occupants of single-family homes and owners of other types of property must remove snow from abutting public sidewalks, fire hydrants, and handicapped curb cuts within twenty-four hours after a storm ends. Ice must be removed or sanded within twenty-four hours of being formed. Snow and ice must not be thrown into any street which has already been cleared.
Enforcement: Police Department, Fire Department, 787-6410 - $50 ticket

Building Maintenance

Emergency Notification (7.12.035 & State Sanitary Code 410.481)

All non-owner occupied housing units shall have posted in lobbies or similar publicly accessible locations the telephone number of its owner or agent for twenty-four hour emergency notification.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6730 - $50 ticket

Graffiti (8.32)

Graffiti is a public nuisance and destructive of the rights and values of property owners as well as the entire community, therefore every effort must be made to remove graffiti as quickly as possible whenever and where ever it occurs. It is unlawful for any person who is the owner or who has primary responsibility for control of property to permit property that is defaced with graffiti to remain defaced for 10 days after service by first class mail of notice of defacement.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement 787-6030
It is unlawful for any person to apply graffiti. To report graffiti application in progress call 911.
Non-criminal disposition (fine $200 first offense)
Criminal MGL S71 C 266 I26B

Home Occupations (ZO III;307.13)

The only occupations/professional offices allowed in residential zones are architect, artist, dentist, doctor, electrologist, hairdresser, lawyer, manicurist, musician, practitioner of acupuncture and teacher provided that the office or room is located in a dwelling in which the practitioner permanently resides, does not occupy more than 1/3 of the total floor area and there shall be no outside employees who are not members of the household except architect, dentist, doctor, lawyer and acupuncture are allowed no more than (1) employee who is not a member of the household.

Home Office (ZO III; 301;7)

An office is allowed in a residential zone in person's permanent home only if all on-site business is conducted exclusively by telephone, mail, or computer; if no customers come to the home; if there is no commercial pick up or delivery of products; and if there is no hired help from outside the home.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031

Home Offices (ZO III;307.12)

Operator must reside in the dwelling and can only be assisted at that location by other resident family members. All on-site business must be conducted exclusively by phone, mail, or computer. The operator can not receive customers at home. No commercial vehicles associated with the business are permitted on or near the property, If a vehicle is used by the operator for the business, it shall contain no advertising and no accessory or non-accessory signs are permitted.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031 - $50 ticket

Litter in Common Areas (7.16.120)

Halls, cellars, garages, sheds, porches, and other common areas of multi-family residences must be kept free of litter.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6730 - $50 ticket

Litter on Private Property (7.16.120r & s)

It is illegal to throw litter on occupied or vacant private property. Owner must maintain property free from litter at all times.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement, 787-6730 - $300 ticket

Lodgers (ZO III;301;7a)

Up to three lodgers can be rented rooms in a dwelling. More than three lodgers requires a lodging house permit from the City Council and can be issued only in Residence C and various nonresidential zones.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6030 $100 per day court fine

Numbers on Buildings (12.16.030)

Street numbers, as assigned by the Director of Public Works, must be placed on buildings and maintained by their owners.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6730 $50 ticket

Smoke Detectors (7.12150)

All buildings containing three or more dwelling units shall be equipped with approved smoke detectors.
Enforcement: Fire Department 787-6410

Land Maintenance

Commercial Vehicles (ZO III;301;7f)

Commercial vehicles over one and a half tons cannot be kept on residentially zoned land.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031 - $50 ticket $100 per day court fine

Commercial vehicles exceeding 12,000 lbs or 24 ft (excluding recreational vehicles) may not
park on city streets for more than one hour. - $100 ticket

Unattached trailers can not be parked on city streets $75.00 ticket

Conservation Land

These city owned parcels under the stewardship of the Conservation Commission protect and preserve our natural resources and open space. Only passive recreation is allowed: hiking, fishing, cross country skiing, picnicking, wildlife observation and nature study etc. Not allowed: motorized vehicles, including snow mobiles, dirt bikes and other types of all-terrain vehicles; fires; tree cutting; hunting; trapping; harassing wildlife; removing or damaging plant life; and drinking of alcoholic beverages.
Information: Conservation Commission, 787-6234

Dumping (Massachusetts General Law MGL 270-16)

It is illegal to "dump" on any public or private property. If a vehicle is used, it may be seized. If convicted, the operator may have licensed suspended. To enforce, file a criminal complaint.
Enforcement: Police Department 787-6302 - First Offense: $5,000 ticket - Subsequent Offense: $15,000 ticket

Fences (ZO XV; 1506)

Fences in residential zones cannot be higher than eight feet without a permit from the Board of Appeals. The same restriction applies to fences in nonresidential zones within ten feet of the property line of a residence.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031 - $50 ticket $100 per day court fine

Front yard fences in residential zones cannot be higher than three feet if they are more than twenty-five percent solid.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031 - $50 ticket $100 per day court fine

For corner lots in residential zones, no planting or fencing higher than two and one-half feet shall be maintained along either property line within twenty-five feet of the intersection so as to cause a visual obstruction.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031 - $50 ticket $100 per day court fine

Front Yards (ZO III;302;3a & IV;402;3a & V;502;3a & VI;602;3a)

Seventy-five percent of front yards in Residence A-1, A, and B zones and fifty percent of front yards in Residence C zones shall be planted with grass or landscaped and shall not be parked upon.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031
$50 ticket $100 per day court fine

Overgrowth (7.16.120 V)

Property must be kept free of grass, grass clippings, weeds, leaves, branches, or yard waste more than six inches high.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6730 $50 ticket

Refrigerators and Stoves (7.16.120)

No refrigerator or stove should be stored or discarded outside.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6730 $50 ticket

Significant Trees (8.20.070)

No tree which is 75 years old and over or which is three feet in diameter and over can be trimmed or cut without written approval of the City Forester.
Enforcement: Police Department 787-6302 - $50 ticket
Information: Park Department, 787-6440

Signs (ZO XVIII; 1803)

Signs for professional and home occupations in residential zones shall not exceed one square foot.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031 - $50 ticket $100 per day court fine

Signs may not be placed in the public way without a permit from Code Enforcement.

Swimming Pools (ZO XV; 1514)

In-ground swimming pools shall be enclosed by a fence at least four feet high. Above-ground swimming pools shall be enclosed by a fence at least four feet high or shall have a ladder which is removed when the pool is not in use.
Enforcement: Code Enforcement Department, 787-6031 - $50 ticket $100 per day court fine.

Springfield is fortunate to have many active Civic associations and neighborhood councils.
Find your local neighborhood council for information or to become involved.

Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services 787-6500

Neighborhood Councils and Associations

Revised Oct 2007, K. Brown

Handbook Table of Contents

Business Licenses & Regulations

Charitable Solicitation

Hawkers & Peddlers


Sale of Spray Paint Cans

Shopping Carts

Tag Sales

Transient Vendors


Control of Female Dogs

Control of Nuisance Animals

Keeping of Domestic Animals

Licensing Dogs

Removing Dog Waste

Restraining Dogs

Vicious Dogs

Waste Collections

Biweekly Recycling Collection

City Bulk Collection Service

Leaves & Yard Waste Collection

Licensing of Private Bulk & Waste Hauling

Weekly Rubbish Collection

Public Peace & Welfare

Alcoholic Beverages

Darts and Knives

False Alarm Regulations




Paint Ball Guns, Knives and Others

Motor Vehicles

Abandoned Motor Vehicle in the Street

Abandoned Motor Vehicle on Private Property

Crossing Property to Avoid Traffic Signal

Emergency Parking Bans

Motor Vehicle Repair on Sidewalks or Streets

Permit Parking

Sales from Vehicles

Unregistered Motor Vehicles on Lots

Vehicles Crossing Curbs

Streets, Sidewalks, & Public Places

Bicycles on Sidewalks

Cutting Trees on Public Property

Gates & Doors Swinging into Sidewalk

Handbills & Signs on Public Property

Maintenance of Sidewalk, Catch Basins, Gutters

Maintenance of Tree Belts

Motorized Scooters

Playing in Streets

Reporting Non-working Street Lights

Sales in Streets

Signs on Sidewalk & Tree Belt

Snow & Ice Removal

Building Maintenance

Emergency Notification


Home Occupations

Home Office

Home Offices

Litter in Common Areas

Litter on Private Property

Lodgers in Houses

Numbers on Buildings

Smoke Detectors

Land Maintenance

Commercial Vehicles in Residential Zones

Conservation Land


Fences in Residential Zones

Front Yard Landscaping in Residential Zones

Overgrowth on Lots

Refrigerators & Stoves

Significant Trees

Signs in Residential Zones

Swimming Pools

Neighborhood Organizations

Community Policing Contact Numbers & Map

Page last updated:  Thursday, October 30, 2014 07:12 am