Sidewalk Obstruction Ordinance
THE CITY OF PORTSMOUTH ORDAINS
That Chapter 9, Article V, - NEWSRACKS, PLACEMENT AND REGISTRATION
of the Ordinances of the City of Portsmouth be deleted in its entirety and
replaced with the following:
ARTICLE V: PUBLIC WAY OBSTRUCTIONS, PLACEMENT AND REGISTRATION
Section 9.501 DEFINITIONS
As used in this ordinance, the following terms shall have the following
meanings, unless the context clearly indicates that a different meaning is
- "City": The City of Portsmouth
- "Newspaper or news periodical" a daily or weekly publication
containing all of the following: current news, editorials, feature
articles and advertising.
- "Newsrack": Any self-service or coin-operated box,
container, storage unit or other dispenser installed, used, or
maintained for the display and sale of newspapers or news periodicals.
- "Public Way Obstruction": Any object which in any way
obstructs the free passage of pedestrians, wheelchairs or vehicles on
the streets, sidewalks, or roadways.
Section 9.502: CERTAIN PUBLIC WAY OBSTRUCTIONS PROHIBITED
- No person shall install, use, attach or maintain any public way
obstruction which projects onto, into or over any part of the roadway of
any public street.
- No person shall install, use, attach or maintain any public way
obstruction which in whole or in part rests upon, in or over any public
sidewalk, when such installation, use or maintenance endangers the safety
of persons or property, or when such site or location is used for public
utility purposes, public transportation purposes or other governmental
use, or when such public way obstruction unreasonably interferes with or
impedes the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, including any legally
parked or stopped vehicle, the ingress into or egress from any residence
or place of business, or the use of poles, posts, traffic signs or
signals, hydrants, mailboxes, or other objects permitted at or near said
Section 9.503 LICENSING OF LOCATION - NEWSRACK LIMITED EXCEPTION
- No person shall install or maintain any public way obstruction which in
whole or in part rests upon, in or over any public sidewalk, except
newsracks, without first applying for and being granted a license from the
City Council. The license application shall include the following:
- The physical dimensions of the public way obstruction.
- The name, address and telephone number of the person or company
responsible for the obstruction.
- A diagram showing the location of the obstruction and the dimensions
of the sidewalk upon which it is to be located.
Newsracks shall require the submission of license application, but
the license shall be granted by the City Clerk on a ministerial basis
without the requirement of City Council approval. Newsracks must comply
with the remaining provisions of this ordinance.
Section 9.504 STANDARDS FOR INSTALLATION, MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION
Any public way obstruction which in whole or in part rests upon, in or
over any public sidewalk or parkway shall comply with the following
- No public way obstruction shall be placed, installed, used or
maintained in any location whereby the clear space for the
passageway of pedestrians is reduced to less than forty-eight
inches; or would otherwise interfere with the free passage of a
- Each public way obstruction shall be maintained in compliance with
any conditions attached to the issuance of its license.
Section 9.505 PUBLIC WAY OBSTRUCTION IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED
Within thirty days after this ordinance becomes effective, every person
or other entity which places or maintains a public way obstruction on the
streets of the City shall have his/her, or its name, address and telephone
number affixed thereto in a place where such information may be easily seen.
- Public way obstructions must be licensed individually by location.
- The City shall issue a proof of license in the form of a sticker or
decal which must be attached to the obstruction at all times.
- Fee for license will be $50.00 for each public way obstruction except
- There shall be no fee for a newsrack license.
- The fee for each restaurant table shall be $50.00.
- The fee for each restaurant chair shall be $5.00.
- All licenses must be renewed annually prior to March 1st.
- Unlicensed newsracks or public way obstructions will be considered
abandoned and subject to removal without notice.
- All licenses are non-transferable.
Section 9.506 HOLD HARMLESS AND INSURANCE
Every person or other entity which places or maintains a public way
obstruction on a public sidewalk, parkway, roadway or street in the City
shall file a written statement with the City Clerk satisfactory to the City
Attorney, whereby he/she, or it agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the
City, its officers, City Council Members and employees, from any loss or
liability or damage, including expenses and costs, for bodily or personal
injury, and for property damage sustained by any person as a result of the
installation, use, or maintenance of the public way obstruction within the
City. A Certificate of Insurance in a form approved by the City Attorney
indicating no less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) in general
liability insurance coverage and naming the City as an additional insured
shall be maintained on file with the City Clerk by each such person or
Section 9.507 REMOVAL OF NEWSRACK OR PUBLIC WAY OBSTRUCTION
The City Manager or his/her designee shall remove any public way
obstruction placed on any street, sidewalk, parkway or roadway in violation
of this ordinance.
Section 9.508 SEVERABILITY
The provisions of this ordinance are severable. If any provision of this
ordinance or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid,
such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this
ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or
Section 9.509 INJUNCTION
Any violation of this ordinance is hereby declared to be a nuisance. In
addition to any other relief provided by this ordinance, the City Attorney
may apply to a Court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction to prohibit
the continuation of any violation of this ordinance. Such application for
relief may include seeking a temporary restraining order, preliminary
injunction and permanent injunction.
Section 9.510 DAMAGE TO PUBLIC WAY OBSTRUCTIONS
Any damage to public way obstructions, whether or not properly licensed,
by any cause whatsoever, including snowplowing and removal, will be at the
sole expense of the owner.
Section 9.511 PENALTY
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this ordinance
shall be fined $100.00 for each offense, and a separate offense shall be
deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or
The City Clerk shall properly alphabetize and/or re-number the ordinance
as necessary in accordance with this amendment.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby
This ordinance shall take effect upon its passage.
Evelyn Sirrell, Mayor
ADOPTED BY COUNCIL: