[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Buena 1-24-2011 by Ord. No. 576. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 218.
The following words and terms used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- ABANDONED VEHICLE
- Any vehicle that is abandoned on or along any highway, other than a limited access highway, or other public property or on any private property without the consent of the owner or other person in charge of the property. A vehicle which has remained on or along any highway or other public property or on any private property without such consent for a period of more than 24 hours or for any period without current license plates shall be presumed to be an abandoned motor vehicle.
- AUTO REPAIR FACILITY
- Any public garage where motor vehicles are painted and/or repaired.
- CLEANUP AND REMOVAL COSTS
- All costs incurred by the Borough or its agents in the removal or attempted removal of hazardous substances and disposal thereof; or costs for the taking of reasonable measures to prevent or mitigate damage, whether actual or threatened to the public health, safety or welfare.
- Any intentional or unintentional action or omission resulting in the releasing, spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping or hazardous substances into the water, lands or air of the State of New Jersey.
- DISPATCH FACILITY
- A place established to transmit requests for towing services (i.e., Buena Borough Dispatch Center, Gloucester County Dispatch Communications Center).
- HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES
- The list of hazardous substances adopted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to Section 101 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, P.L. 96-510 (42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq.), and amendments thereto, and those substances listed by the NJDEP as environmental hazardous substances pursuant to Section 4 of P.L. 1983, Ordinance 315 (N.J.S.A. 34:5A-4), and amendments thereto.
- HEAVY-DUTY TOW
- A tow truck with dual wheels, capable of towing large trucks, and shall meet the following minimum requirements: GVW 30,000 pounds/GCWR 80,000 pounds/boom rating 50,000 pounds/winch rating 50,000 pounds/cable size and length 5/8 inch and 200 feet.
- INSIDE BUILDINGS
- Any portion of a towing facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls for storage and removal of vehicles, and is secured by a locking device on each opening.
- Any area, lot, land, parcel, building or structure or part thereof used for the storage, collection, processing, purchase, sale or abandonment of scrap metal or other scrap or discarded goods, materials, machinery, or two or more unregistered/uninspected, inoperable vehicles or other type of junk. For purposes of this chapter, an auto repair facility or a towing facility shall not be considered a junkyard.
- LICENSES AND INSPECTIONS
- The State of New Jersey Licenses and Inspections Agency.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- All vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, excepting such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks.
- MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
- An occurrence in which a motor vehicle comes in contact with any other object, including pedestrians, for which the motor vehicle must be towed or removed from the scene thereof.
- NIGHT HOURS
- At the closing time of normal business hours, anytime between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, including weekends and holidays.
- OUTSIDE SECURED
- Any portion of a towing facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier that is eight feet high or as otherwise required by the Borough of Buena Land Use Ordinance and is installed with a passive alarm system (e.g., bell ringer located in the gate area to the enclosed facility) or a similar on-site security measure. Fences which are less than eight feet in height which existed prior to the adoption of this chapter shall be permitted; however, if such fences are replaced, the new fence shall be eight feet in height or as otherwise required by the Borough of Buena Land Use Ordinance.
- PETROLEUM or PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
- Oil or petroleum of any kind and in any form, including but not limited to oil petroleum, gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, oil sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with other wastes.
- POLICE HOLD VEHICLES
- Motor vehicles which are alleged to have been involved in illegal activity, involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision, or any vehicles designated by a Buena Borough police officer, or any duly authorized law enforcement officer.
- PUBLIC GARAGE
- Any building, structure, or property designed and used for equipping, adjusting, greasing, washing, polishing, servicing, or storing of motor vehicles, other than at a junkyard, operated for profit and for service to the public. For purposes of this chapter, a public garage means any general repair garage, specialized repair garage, car wash, auto repair facility, or towing facility.
- RESPONSE TIME
- Not more than 15 minutes from the time of the initial request by the Communications Center to the tow vehicle's arrival at the site of the incident requiring tow services, all traffic regulations observed.
- STORAGE CHARGES FOR TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR PERIOD
- The maximum allowable amount charged by a towing facility for the storage of motor vehicles for any twenty-four-hour period or fraction thereof.
- STORAGE FACILITY
- A place for the storing of motor vehicles.
- TOWING FACILITY
- Any public garage that offers towing services.
- TOWING OPERATOR
- Any entity that operates a towing business or tow vehicle.
- TOWING SERVICE
- The removal and transportation of a motor vehicle from a highway, street, other public or private road, parking area, storage facility and from other off-road locations such as fields, lakes, rivers and streams. This includes other services such as roadside assistance.
- TOW VEHICLE
- Those vehicles equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by the vehicle manufacturer for the transport of motor vehicles.
- TOW VEHICLE'S BASE OF SERVICE
- The tow operator's principal place of business where the tow vehicle is stationed when not in use.
License required. Prospective Tow List operators must have a duly licensed towing facility or auto repair facility meeting the requirements set forth in this chapter.
License application data required: An application for license shall be in writing, upon a license application form furnished by the Borough of Buena, signed by the applicant and filed with the Borough Clerk. Said application shall contain the following information:
The name, business address, business name and telephone number of the towing operator.
The location of the towing operator's towing facility.
The name of the towing operator's insurance company and insurance policy number. Proof of insurance must be provided as required under the terms and conditions stated herein.
The type, condition, and design of tow vehicle(s) and equipment available for service.
Communication availability, including radio communications, and the location and availability of the dispatch center.
The name, address and driver's license number of each driver or operator of the tow vehicle(s).
Proof that each vehicle to be licensed is duly registered and inspected by the State of New Jersey, Division of Motor Vehicles, as a tow vehicle.
If a corporation applies, the application shall be signed in the name of the corporation by the president and attested by the secretary.
Said application shall be duly verified by the applicant before a notary public or some other person duly authorized to administer oaths.
Each such application shall be accompanied by the full amount of the license fee hereafter prescribed.
No license shall be issued to a towing operator unless the applicant's towing facility is located within a zoning district where such use is permitted in accordance with the Borough of Buena's Municipal Land Use Ordinance or unless a use variance has been obtained therefore, and any and all Land Use, Planning Board or Zoning Board approvals and/or permits have been obtained therefor, or unless sufficient proofs are provided by the applicant that said facility was operated at its present location prior to adoption of the Land Use Ordinance of the Borough of Buena.
The tow vehicle(s) shall comply with any and all state, federal and local laws, regulations and ordinances pertaining to safety, lighting and towing equipment and shall be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or a designee at any time.
An application shall not be deemed complete unless accompanied by:
A letter from the Buena Borough Chief of Police verifying that the towing operator has:
Provided proof of a current and valid driver's license for each driver/operator.
Compliance with the zoning regulations for the facilities of the tow operator's base of service, dispatch and/or storage area that such facilities are not in violation of applicable land use ordinances. This also applies to any tow facility not within the Borough of Buena.
That such property is not in violation of applicable property maintenance and health codes. This requirement shall include the dispatch facility and storage facility if not one and the same.
All municipal taxes paid in full.
The Borough of Buena shall have the right to verify the accuracy of the information supplied in the application by interviewing, investigating and inspecting all personnel, vehicles, equipment and storage areas proposed for utilization by the applicant, and to determine compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and standards of performance required by this chapter.
Upon receipt of a completed application form, the Borough Clerk or a designee shall furnish a copy of the application to the Chief of Police.
The Chief of Police of the Borough of Buena, or a designee, upon receipt of a completed application, shall conduct a background investigation on the towing operator. This investigation may include an inspection of the towing facility, the tow vehicle(s) and the towing operation, and inquiry into all relevant matters, to determine if the towing operator meets the requirements of all applicable laws, regulations, standards of performance and security of vehicles towed or stored as mandated by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49(1)(b).
The towing operator shall at no time transfer or assign a license or any part thereof for any purpose whatsoever.
No individual shall operate a tow vehicle unless the State of New Jersey duly licenses that individual. Any change in licensure of vehicle operators during the period of the license must be reported to the Police Department within 15 days of such change. Failure to do so shall be basis for revocation of license.
All tow operators' driver's licenses shall be checked yearly in order to confirm their validity.
Upon completion of the aforesaid investigation, the Chief of Police shall file a written report as to the findings and issue a recommendation of approval or disapproval with the Clerk of the Borough of Buena.
If the Chief of Police recommends that the towing operator not be approved, a written report shall be filed with the Clerk of the Borough of Buena specifying the findings and the reasons for the recommendation of rejection. The Borough Clerk will furnish a copy of the report to the towing operator by certified mail.
Any towing operator who is denied a license based upon the findings and recommendations of the Chief of Police may, after receipt of notification, file an appeal in writing within 10 days with the Borough Clerk. The Borough Clerk shall then schedule a hearing before the Director of Public Safety. After the hearing, the Director may then remove the towing operator from the Police Department Towing List if it is determined that the performance of the towing operator is unreliable and/or inadequate.
In order to be included on the Borough of Buena Police Department's Tow List, a towing operator shall submit proof of insurance to the Borough Clerk and a copy thereof to the Chief of Police each year on or before April 1 that its towing facility is insured by a reputable insurance company licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey with a standard general liability insurance policy designed to cover garage operations. Said insurance policy shall provide for minimum monetary limits for any single occurrence as follows:
Automobile liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 for light and medium tow trucks and $1,000,000 for heavy-duty trucks.
Workers' compensation as required by statute.
Garage keepers' legal liability in an amount not less than $100,000 per location.
Garage liability, including cargo insurance, in an amount not less than $250,000 combined single limit.
A certificate of insurance shall be provided naming the Borough of Buena as a certified holder for a one-year term with a thirty-day notice of cancellation or renewal.
The insurance company must be an approved carrier licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey. The aforesaid insurance policy shall also be written as to include coverage for the property owned by others which is in the care, custody or control of the licensed towing operator, including the perils of transportation for any motor vehicle in the possession or control of the towing operator. The garage keepers' legal liability shall include comprehensive and collision coverage. Said insurance policy shall provide that the insurance company will pay on behalf of the Borough for any and all claims against the Borough resulting from the operations of the towing operator including any and all attorney fees.
The insurance coverage shall provide that the insurance policy may not be canceled or materially changed without 30 days' prior written notice to the Borough Clerk and the Chief of Police of the Borough of Buena Police Department.
The towing operator shall agree in writing to assume the defense of and indemnify and hold harmless the Borough, its elected officials, boards, commissions, officers, employees and agents, from all suits, actions, damages or claims to which the Borough may be subjected, of any kind and nature whatsoever, resulting from, caused by, arising out of or as a consequence of the provision of towing, storage and/or emergency services provided by the towing operator pursuant to this chapter. Tow operators shall enter into a hold-harmless agreement in a form to be approved by the Borough Solicitor prior to being included on the towing list.
Upon the receipt and review by the Borough Clerk of a completed application, and upon the filing by the Chief of Police of a written report of findings resulting from the investigation of the applicant and a recommendation of approval, the application shall thereupon be referred to the Council of the Borough of Buena for consideration, and when the Borough Council has determined to approve the granting of such license, it shall do so by resolution. Upon the adoption of such resolution, the Borough Clerk shall issue a license certificate, which shall state the purpose for which the license is granted, the name, business name and the base of service address of the licensee, the number of the license and the date of its expiration, which license certificate shall be signed by the Director of the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
All licenses issued under this chapter shall be effective for a period of two years. The license shall begin on the first day of January and end December 31 two years later. All licenses shall expire automatically; applications for renewal thereof shall be submitted not less than six weeks prior to date of expiration.
The Borough of Buena is authorized to collect an application fee of $500. Thereafter, a nonrefundable fee of $250 shall be submitted simultaneously with all renewal applications.
A license may be revoked or suspended at any time for just cause by the Borough of Buena, for violations of any provisions of this chapter or for violations of New Jersey state law. Once the licensee is notified of the suspension or revocation, he has the opportunity to be heard by the Director of Public Safety after filing a written appeal within 10 days. Such license, when so suspended or revoked, shall not be reinstated except for good and sufficient cause.
All towing operators, in order to provide services for motor vehicle accidents or for the removal of motor vehicles from private or public property, as may be authorized by the Police Department, must be licensed by the Borough of Buena in accordance with this chapter.
Towing operators must meet the fifteen-minute response time to be eligible for inclusion on the Borough of Buena Police Department Tow List.
The list of licensed towing operators shall be maintained by the Police Department and shall be utilized on a rotation basis. The rotation shall be on a weekly basis beginning 12:00 midnight Saturday night and ending one week later at 12:00 midnight Saturday night, unless otherwise specified by the Police Department or in the event of emergency conditions. The towing and storage services shall be rotated among operators on an equal basis by the week.
There will be a maximum number of regular-duty tow operators of four, and of four for heavy-duty tow operators permitted to perform work within the Borough of Buena (as defined in this chapter). Replacement of tow operators on the current list may only occur when there is a vacancy, provided that the replacement tow operators meet all the requirements set forth within the application process of this chapter.
Licensed tow operators shall be subject to the minimum standards of the performance rules and regulations of the Buena Borough Police Department, including safety, availability, and compliance with the procedures established by this chapter.
If the Chief of Police determines at any time that a towing operator is unable or unwilling to fulfill the requirements of this chapter or the statutes and regulations of the State of New Jersey, the Chief of Police shall file a written report with the Borough Clerk. The Chief of Police shall then notify the towing operator that he/she has been recommended for removal from the Police Department Towing List. The tow operator has 10 days to file a written appeal with the Borough Clerk if in disagreement with recommendation of removal by the Chief of Police. The Borough Clerk shall then schedule a hearing before the Director of Public Safety. After the hearing, the Public Safety Director may then remove the towing operator from the Police Department Towing List if it is determined that the performance of the towing operator is unreliable and/or inadequate.
The tow operator shall cease the towing of vehicles on behalf of the Borough of Buena Police Department upon notification by the Chief of Police that the tow operator is to be removed from the list as recommended by the Chief of Police. During this interim period between notification and the decision of the Director of Public Safety, the tow operator shall be suspended from list eligibility.
Licensed towing operators agree to provide the following services on a twenty-four-hour basis:
Removal and transporting of motor vehicles involved in a motor vehicle accident where the owner or operator of the motor vehicle, when appropriate, has not made a preference for the towing of the vehicle.
Removal and transporting of a motor vehicle from private or public property as may be authorized by the Police Department or Code Enforcement Official of the Borough of Buena.
Removal and disposal from the Borough or private property motor vehicles which, pursuant to state law and regulations, would be subject to the jurisdiction of the Buena Borough Police Department. Such vehicles shall be moved to such location as specified by the Buena Borough Police Department.
The storage of a motor vehicle removed and transported from the scene of a motor vehicle accident.
A towing operator responding to a tow shall be responsible for all site cleanup related to a motor vehicle accident, including the pickup and removal of all debris from the scene of the accident and containment of any hazardous fluids from the vehicle prior to tow, in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey, and all services as defined by state regulations and Article I herein. It is understood that the responsibility of the tow operator as established above in no way relieves the vehicle owner of his responsibility for the cleanup and removal of any debris or spilled fluids coming from his vehicle.
A towing operator shall provide either one boom tow truck with a wheel lift or winch rollback or one-boom tow truck with a wheel lift capable of transporting the vehicle to be removed without additional damage. The transported vehicle shall not exceed the carry weight or capacity of the carrying vehicle.
The towing operator shall ensure the proper utilization and deployment of safety devices as more particularly defined herein.
If a licensed towing operator is unable to handle a particular situation for whatever reason, the Borough shall have the right to use whatever means necessary to accomplish the removal, transporting and storage of motor vehicles.
No towing operator shall subcontract any work to be performed pursuant to this chapter without having first obtained prior written approval from the Borough of Buena Police Department. Subcontractors must be licensed and on the current Tow List. Any towing operator to whom approval to subcontract work has been given shall be responsible for the services performed by and the acts and omissions of the subcontractor, and shall remain liable for any violation of this chapter by the subcontractor.
The towing operator shall provide a towing facility of sufficient size to accommodate not less than 25 passenger vehicles and one tractor and trailer, and not less than 800 square feet of inside storage facilities to hold and protect "police hold" vehicles. At no time shall any automobile towed by a towing operator be stored at any other location, except where a vehicle is towed at the request of the owner to a specific location.
The towing facility shall be staffed by the licensed towing operator during normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and include twenty-four-hour telephone service, seven days per week, during the week in which the licensed facility is on call.
The towing operator shall provide tow vehicles capable of handling the transporting of motor vehicles as defined in § 223-1 of this chapter, and equipped to provide regular towing service; 14,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds gross vehicular weight is regular towing service; 15,000 pounds gross vehicular weight and above is heavy towing service. Carry weight shall not be less than 4,000 pounds or less than that needed to carry the transported vehicle safely.
Each tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle shall be equipped with towing and safety equipment, warning devices such as lights, flares and flags to warn other automobile operators of the presence of a disabled automobile, and mechanics tools to perform complete emergency work, including but not limited to the following. All tow operators shall be required to wear a reflective jacket or vest when towing vehicles on the roadway and at all times shall exercise extreme caution and due safety.
At least one amber rotating beacon or strobe light mounted on the highest practical location of the vehicle, which when in use shall be visible from 360° at a distance of not less than 500 feet during daylight hours.
One snatch block per winch.
Safety tow lights or magnetic tow lights for towing vehicles at night. Safety tow lights, red in color, shall be mounted in the rear of the vehicle being towed.
Ample chains and cables for pulling or securing a towed vehicle. The working limit of cable shall be noted to include a minimum pulling capacity of 2,500 pounds (three-eighths-inch cable).
At least one broom, shovel, crowbar or pry bar, jumper cables, flashlight, fire extinguisher or dry chemical type having capacity of not less than two pounds, one dozen flares or similar warning devices for placement at the scene of an accident or behind a disabled vehicle, not less than 10 pounds of dry sand or a drying compound for gasoline and oil spilled onto the roadway, and tools sufficient to enable the tow vehicle operator to perform proper and adequate emergency repair services for the tow.
Backup alarms on all tow trucks.
All tow trucks must be in compliance with all safety equipment requirements as listed in N.J.S.A. 39:3-1 et seq., and 49 CFR 393.
No changes may be made to tow vehicles or equipment without prior written approval of the Borough of Buena Police Department.
If issued at the discretion of the Borough in accordance with this chapter, each tow vehicle shall display any licensure stickers issued by the Borough Clerk on the upper-left and right side of the driver's door panel and shall have the name and number of the licensed tow operator displayed on the vehicle in such manner and of such lettering as to conform to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-46.
Towing operators and their employees shall provide all services required by this chapter at all times and shall be subject to the following requirements:
Possess sufficient knowledge, skill and ability to provide minimum road services for disabled vehicles and to adequately remove a vehicle from an accident scene without causing additional damage to the vehicle.
Not be mentally or physically impaired.
Obey all traffic laws, statutes, regulations and ordinances promulgated by the State of New Jersey and the Borough of Buena.
Be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or a designee and shall be approved by the Chief of Police prior to rendering any services pursuant to this article.
The tow vehicles provided by the towing operator shall be of such type and design to properly and safely perform all towing services required by this chapter and shall at all times comply with New Jersey Statutes and Regulations and be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or designee.
All drivers of tow vehicles shall possess at all times a valid New Jersey driver's license and a commercial driver's license where applicable, which shall be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police. Said operator shall obey all traffic laws and shall comply with all statutes and regulations of the State of New Jersey and of the Borough of Buena.
The tow vehicles provided by the towing operator shall be geographically located so as to permit a response time within 20 minutes.
The towing fees and storage fees established by the towing operator shall be conspicuously posted at the towing facility owned or operated by the towing operator, which fees shall not exceed the fees set forth in this chapter.
At all times the towing operator shall maintain the towing facility in a clean and orderly fashion. Reasonable measures shall be taken by the towing operator to prevent vandalism, theft or damage to automobiles stored therein.
In the event that automobiles, which are towed and stored by the towing operator, are abandoned or unclaimed by the owners thereof, the towing operator shall make no claim against the Township, its agents or employees. Only those vehicles towed from private property or public right-of-way under authorization of either the Code Enforcement Official or the Police Department, not including accident vehicles, shall be disposed of by the Borough pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 or other appropriate state statutes or state regulations.
The towing operator operating pursuant to this chapter is an independent contractor and in no part, an agent, servant or employee of the Borough. Said operator shall at all times maintain direct supervision, management and control over all of its employees and personnel engaged in the operation or services performed pursuant to this chapter.
The Borough shall not be responsible for the acts of the towing operator in performing the services contemplated by this chapter. The towing operator agrees to save and hold harmless the Borough from all manner of liability as a result of its actions or omission, whether of a negligent or intentional nature.
Towing operators approved for Tow List eligibility shall be required to fulfill tow requests of the Zoning Officer or Code Enforcement Officer and/or the Police Department of the Borough of Buena. Failure or refusal to remove a vehicle pursuant to directive of the Borough of Buena shall be cause for removal from the approved Tow List.
The tow operator shall be responsible for ensuring the proper, safe and secure storage of all vehicles towed. The tow operator shall be liable for any and all damage incurred by such vehicles while in transit to or while stored in or at the facilities of the operator.
Every tow operator on the Police Department Tow List shall maintain an inside building and outside secured storage area meeting the following requirements:
The storage area shall be capable of storing not less than 25 passenger vehicles and one tractor and trailer. The area shall have not less than 800 square feet of inside storage facilities to hold and protect "police hold" vehicles.
The storage area shall be located either within the limits of the Borough or at such location outside of the Borough as to facilitate a response time of not more than 20 minutes.
Outside storage areas shall be fully enclosed by a fence of sufficient security to prevent trespassing, having a height of eight feet or as otherwise required by the Borough of Buena Land Use Ordinance, with at least one lockable gate for ingress and egress, and shall be lighted from dusk to dawn. (If the storage facility included more than one access point, then all access points must be secured with appropriate gate and lock.) Fences that existed prior to adoption of this chapter shall be permitted; however, if such fences are replaced, the new fence shall be eight feet in height or as otherwise required by the Borough of Buena Land Use Ordinance.
The storage facility shall be available to the Buena Borough Police Department 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, and shall be open to the public on weekdays during normal business hours and for limited but reasonable hours on Saturday. The operator shall specify the hours on which the facility will be open to the public on weekends. The storage facility shall release a stored vehicle to the owner thereof on such date as shall have been requested by said owner during normal business hours, after receiving the tow release from the Buena Borough Police Department; storage charges shall not accrue beyond the requested date of release.
The tow operator shall have an employee on duty during all hours in which the storage facility is open.
The tow operator shall not charge a release fee or other charge for releasing vehicles to their owners after normal business hours or on weekends.
The Borough of Buena shall not be responsible for processing of licensure, titular and other documents required by the State of New Jersey with regard to vehicles left abandoned at a towing facility. The Police Department will not automatically initiate the procedural requirements concerning abandoned vehicles at tow facilities. However, the Chief of Police or designee, when possible, will provide assistance in confirming the vehicle is not stolen, identifying and notifying any owner(s), lienholder(s) or those with a pecuniary interest in the vehicle, as well as give ancillary assistance with filing said documents. The Chief of Police may suspend or discontinue this service if the pressure of Police Department business prevents a law enforcement officer from being detailed to this function. Though it is the policy of the Police Department to cooperate with the licensed tow operators, limited budgetary and manpower concerns necessitate the efficient assignment of officers to the most important of tasks. Vehicles that were not towed at the behest of a Police Officer of the Buena Borough Police Department and left abandoned at a towing facility, including those involved in accidents, are the sole responsibility of the towing facility, per N.J.S.A. 39:10A-8.
When performing services under the Police Tow List to tow and/or store a motor vehicle, the towing charge and storage charge shall not exceed those charges as set forth in this chapter. These are maximum fees that may be charged.
The fee schedule effective at the time of adoption of this chapter is as follows:
The fees set forth on the schedules for towing rates are the maximum charges that shall apply to a motor vehicle for basic towing services.
The towing rates shall be calculated based on the total distance traveled from the tow vehicle's base of service to the job site and return by way of the shortest available route. Fractions shall be rounded up to the nearest whole mile.
Tow vehicles transporting multiple motor vehicles at one time may charge the applicable fee for each such vehicle transported.
When towing services are otherwise required, the day rate shall apply when the vehicle is transported (pickup and delivery) entirely between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except New Jersey state holidays. The night, weekend and holiday rate shall otherwise apply.
The Chief of Police shall post fees, available to the public, during normal business hours along with a copy of this chapter and the fee schedules of licensed towing operators.
Payment from the public shall include credit cards.
The Code Enforcement Officer, Zoning Officer and/or Police Department shall be responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
The Borough of Buena Police Department may authorize the towing and storage of motor vehicles located on public streets or public property which are unregistered, abandoned, illegally parked, or which are permitted to be towed and stored pursuant to state statute or state regulations. Abandoned or unlicensed motor vehicles that are in violation of the Borough's Property Maintenance Code shall be subject to enforcement procedures as established in the aforesaid municipal code.
A tow operator shall not tow motor vehicles located in the public right-of-way or on private property unless authorized to do so by the owner of the vehicle or by the Police Department. This chapter, however, does not preclude a towing operator licensed by the Borough or state from towing motor vehicles located on private property in accordance with state licensure privileges.
Motor vehicles which remain unclaimed by the owner or other person having legal right thereto shall be disposed of pursuant to the applicable provisions of Title 39 of the New Jersey Statutes. The last known owner of an abandoned vehicle, or the owner of the property from which an abandoned vehicle is removed, shall be responsible for all towing fees or charges, storage fees or charges, road service fees or charges, and any other fees permitted by law.
The Borough shall make periodic inspections of facilities, equipment and service and, upon request, shall be provided full access to equipment or property. Such inspections shall be made quarterly, semiannually, or annually, as determined by the applicable Borough official, but in no case shall such inspections be made less than annually.
The Buena Borough Police Department, responsible for enforcement of this chapter, shall establish a procedure to process complaints received by the Police Department regarding any licensed towing operator, including, without limitation, charging of fees in excess of those permitted hereunder, or damage to vehicles, and to notify a vehicle owner of the location of the motor vehicle towed. The Internal Affairs Division of the Police Department will investigate any complaints. Any fee not specifically covered in this chapter shall have a "reasonableness test" applied for the purpose of investigating the complaint.
The Police Department shall have the right to store at its own facilities motor vehicles towed at its direction or confiscated in suspected crimes. All licensed towing operators shall extend storage to the Borough of Buena Police Department at no cost and, if so requested, shall provide separate storage space for exclusive use of the Police Department, also at no cost. Abandoned vehicles or vehicles confiscated by the Police Department are to be stored as authorized by the Police Department to assure protection of the vehicle and to provide security of said vehicle until appropriately disposed of by the Police Department.
All tow company owners will be permitted to apply for junk and abandoned titles for vehicles that are unclaimed for a minimum of 30 days. The tow company owner will be responsible for completing all the required paperwork and any and all fees associated with this process as defined under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1. All titles approved by the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles will be then turned over to the tow company owner who applied.
All towing operators shall provide adequate public posting of charges at their primary place of business and storage facility.
Towing operators shall not pile vehicles or park towed vehicles on public streets or sidewalks.
All towing operators shall maintain a record of each motor vehicle towed, stored, and released, and of all services rendered. Such records shall be maintained at one central location and retained for a period of not less than five years.
Pursuant to the Spill Compensation and Control Act, including N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11(g)c, any person in any way responsible for a discharge of petroleum or hazardous substances shall be strictly liable, jointly and severally, without regard to fault, for all costs of cleanup and removal of the discharge from the public right-of-way and private property within the area of the spill. The tow operator and/or facility owner shall be responsible for the cleanup and removal of any spill or discharge of petroleum or hazardous substances at its storage facility. The facility owner may choose to take action against the vehicle owner for the cost of such cleanup and removal. The responsible party shall contact the NJDEP Action Line to report any spills or leaks as required by N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11(e).